Mel, from Portsmouth, completes first race in Clipper adventure
SPENDING four weeks at sea was a tough challenge for cancer survivor Mel Thompson.
But the Portsmouth adventurer has completed her first race in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Mel, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, raced as part of the Great Britain crew from Queensland, Australia, to Da Nang in Vietnam.
The mother of two, from North End, said: ‘It was good but it was tough. It was hard, I am not going to lie.
‘There were times when I would have sold my soul to get off. But I got over that with the lovely support of my team and we had some really good fun and some good sailing.’
That ‘good sailing’ paid off as the Great Britain crew came third in the leg out of 12 teams.
Mel added: ‘It was very motivational when we realised we were near the front. To get that podium place made it worthwhile.
‘It was really, really hot and I felt quite homesick the first couple of weeks.
‘I really missed my family so that was quite difficult.’
Mel was given a short break to discover the city of Da Nang before starting the next race from Vietnam to Qingdao, in China.
She said she was feeling nervous but excited about the race.
‘It will be a whole different experience with colder weather and rougher seas,’ she said.
‘Hopefully I will find my sea legs a little quicker this time.’
The leg from Vietnam to China is short compared to others and should last around 10 days.
But Mel will be tackling one of the toughest races when she sails from Qingdao to Seattle, USA – the 30-day trip crosses the Pacific Ocean and covers 5,700 nautical miles.
The Clipper Round the World Race, founded by Portsmouth sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, is half-way through with seven races left. It combines professional sailing skippers with amateur crew, who pay money to be part of the race legs.
So far, the crews have sailed to Rio, Cape Town and Australia.
Gosport skipper Greg Miller and his Mission Performance team sit seventh in the overall race standing.
PSP Logistics, skippered by Portsmouth’s Max Stunell, are in last place.