Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke says he has already picked up some leadership tips from being part of the crew on the supermaxi Perpertual Loyal as it prepares to kick off its racing campaign for this year’s Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Clarke is stepping off the crease and way out of his comfort zone by joining skipper Anthony Bell and his crew on the 100-footer in the annual Sydney to Gold Coast race which starts from Sydney Harbour on Saturday.
Fearless on the pitch, Clarke yesterday admitted he is now just as nervous about doing the race as he is before he strides out to bat for Australia.
“I am petrified of sharks. I have a dreadful fear of sharks. I don’t want to even see one,’’ said Clarke who is racing north to help raise money and awareness for children’s charities through Bell’s Loyal Foundation (www.loyalfoundation.com). Clarke is the godfather of Bell’s two-year-old daughter Charlize who required lifesaving medical treatment as a baby.
“This is so out of my comfort zone it’s not funny.
“Everything I do is on land. That’s where I am comfortable. This is a whole different world.
“But I’m enjoying it. When I go out and bat for Australia I get really nervous with this adrenalin rush. That’s why I do it. I am addicted to that adrenalin rush. I’ve got that rush again now.’’Clarke has spent numerous training days on Perpetual Loyal, finishing his sea legs and hoping his stomach will settle before the 1pm race start on Saturday.
“I’ve really enjoyed the training, seeing the dedication of the crew, having debriefs, talking about where you win and where you loose. I’ve had three months off (cricket) and I’ve really missed the boys.
“I think I have learned a lot about leadership seeing how this side works on the crew. I think I can take some of the positives into the Australian team.’’
While Clarke’s stomach is happy to hear of a sunny and relatively light-win forecast for the race, he knows Bell’s 100-footer performs at her best in the rough and tough.
“I know it sounds like it will be easier for me with the weather but I’m greedy. I am really competitive and I really want to win,’’ said Clarke, who is also hosting a charity function ahead of the race in Sydney.
Saturday’s race marks the first time Perpetual Loyal and the Mark Richard’s skippered Wild Oats have met since the latter beat Bell and his crew in the last Sydney to Hobart race.
Bell is one of only two skippers to have beaten the Wild Oats team in their nine Sydney to Hobart assaults after winning the world famous race on his previous Loyal yacht in 2011.
Saturday’s race is the first of more than 10 Bell and his team will do to finetune for their 2014 assault on the Hobart.