Lancashire trio in Round the World Yacht Race.
PUBLISHED: 17:03 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:50 20 February 2013
How three Lancashire people are riding on the crest of a wave in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.<br/><br/>Words: Emma Mayoh
PICTURE yourself at the top of this mast. It's not something I care to imagine either. But taxi driver, Lisa Pover, youth worker Jonpaul Lowles and teacher, Akmed Musleh, all from Liverpool, will be dangling at the top of the 68 foot mast on board the Liverpool 08 yacht during the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race.
The trio, who won their free spot on one of the seven legs of the race ahead of 70 other hopefuls, haven't had any previous sailing experience. After they met each other at their first set of training earlier this year they were determined to bring the Liverpool 08 yacht home to the city at the end of the ten month race. But to do it they have to raise at least 35,000.
Jonpaul, 35, from Walton, will get picked up in Jamaica for the final leg of the race. But he wants to help the other two do the same. He is also hoping to raise awareness of the children's charity he works for, The Barnstondale Centre, which offers residential and non-residential breaks to groups of young people who are considered disadvantaged.
He said: 'This is completely out of my comfort zone but it's really exhilarating. It's been a bit of a shock really because I've always thought I'm reasonably fit for my age because I'm quite active but when it came to the training it scared me how unfit I was.
'Liverpool is everything to me. I have travelled all over the world but Liverpool is where I am happiest and proudest of. To bring that boat home is incredible. The three of us want to be together when we come home because we have supported each other the whole way through. I would be really gutted if one of us was missing.'
The Clipper Race is the world's longest sailing race that circumnavigates the globe on a punishing 35,000 mile route. Each yacht is crewed by amateurs and led by a professional skipper, making it unique in world yacht racing.
Lisa, also from Walton, had hit a tough time in her life when she saw the competition advertised. Her life has dramatically changed from ferrying people to learning the ropes on the yacht and the possibility of starting a new photography course.
The 26-year-old said: 'I was off work because I was down in the dumps but then I got the call to say I'd got a place. All I had done up until that point was take people from A to B. I found out I'd been accepted on a photography course on the same day too. It was quite amazing really.
'You put yourself out there when you have been floating about for so long and then one thing comes along and changes your life for the better. The training has been amazing. On the first day you felt like you were trying to do 90,000 jobs at once but now I've been at the top of the mast. I'm doing stuff I never imagined. For me, it's the chance to push yourself and I think you know when you are ready to challenge yourself like this. I'm ready for the next step now.' For Akmed, it is the chance to take on a challenge he could never have imagined. He had originally planned to take time off this year and travel. He hopes to do the entire race.
'It was a challenge of a lifetime. After the first week's training I'd decided I wanted to do the full ten months so I'm trying to raise the money for it now. For me doing one leg is amazing, if I get to do a few then that would be even better and if I get to do the whole thing, it would be my dream come true.'