Clipper Round the World Race: 70-Year-Old Father to Take Part

The Clipper Round the World race attracts all sorts of entrants and a father from Wales is set to be the oldest person to yet take part. Kevin Smith turned 70 earlier this year and is preparing to join the yachts in the challenging circum­navi­gation of the globe, raising thousands of pounds for charity along the way.

The race is described as 'an endurance test like no other' but that certainly hasn't daunted the pensioner, who is married to wife Joan and has two children, Rob and Alyn. Mr Smith is no stranger to a life on the ocean wave, after having served many years in the Royal Navy. Last year, Mr Smith was diagnosed with cataracts and underwent two surgeries to correct the problem: he now hopes to raise a massive £33,000 for the Abergele Eye Unit where he was treated.

Mr Smith said: “I joined the Royal Navy in 1965. In the past, I wanted to do the Whitbread Round the World Race but I had an injury and unfor­tunately wasn't selected. So it has been on my mind since. I have spent a lot of time at sea and have been around the world twice. I had cataract surgery at Abergele Eye Unit on one eye which allowed me to undergo the training. My sight is amazing now and it seems such a simple operation. I asked if I could do something to say thank you, I wanted to give something back.”

Mr Smith said that he was feeling 'excited' ahead of the race and mentioned how much he had always loved the sea. He completed the gruelling race training, much of which involved the safety of the boat, how to rig it and what to do in the event of someone falling overboard. “The experience itself will be hard, it is not a holiday,” he said, “it involves cooking and living in close quarters. We all have to get on with each other and the boat will be at 45 degrees most of the time."

The Clipper Race will see 11 racing yachts attempting to cover a record-breaking 40,000 nautical miles, with between 9 and 20 people making up the crew of each boat. Though participants can choose to take part in any individual race from the 13-16 planned over eight legs, Mr Smith hopes to complete the entire circum­navi­gation.

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