IT worker from Isle of Dogs takes part in Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

Chris Nelson sailing

Chris Nelson sailing - Credit: submitted

A 48-year-old IT worker will be living his childhood dream when he sets sail in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Chris Nelson

Chris Nelson - Credit: onEdition

Chris Nelson, who lives on the Isle of Dogs, is more used to sitting at a desk with a computer than navigating the oceans.

But over the next year he and his fellow crew members will sail to such exotic destinations as Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Singapore, China, San Francisco, Panama, Jamaica and New York before heading back to Europe.

He won’t be taking it easy – he will be doing everything from steering the boat and changing the sail to cooking and cleaning.

The race transforms relatively inexperienced sailors from all walks of life into a highly skilled racing yacht crew. Only basic sailing training is given before the trip.

As part of a crew of about 20, led by a professional skipper, he will follow a seven-day rota before he can have a full night’s sleep.

He will be on sailing duties for four hours at a time before having four hours of rest.

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Chris has sailed a small yacht in the UK but has never undertaken anything like this before.

He said: “I feel like the dream of sailing around the world has been at the back of my mind since I was a small child. I was always fascinated at school when hearing about the famous explorers. And now I’ve got to a point where I can take a year out from work.”

Chris knows that on the high seas, he will need to be adaptable.

He said: “If a sail breaks, which can be quite common, you may have to get the sewing kit out, and there will be times when the wind changes suddenly and you have to work at optimum speed.”

Chris admits he is a little nervous about spending so much time with other people, saying: “We are used to being able to go home and close our door after work. But we will all have to stay together in a relatively small space.”

Once in dock, there will be the yacht to clean and possibly repair before the crew can go sightseeing.

Chris will be raising money for seriously and terminally ill children through a charity called Dreams Come True.

You can support his cause at and follow his blog at

Click on web link on the right for story on St Katharine Docks hosting the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race