In the news - Rachael Pryce

6th November 2009 at 00:00

Who is she?

Rachael Pryce is the head of house at Benjamin Britten High School in Lowestoft, Suffolk. This summer, she spent one month training for the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race, which she will take part in next May. When she's not risking her life at the rigging, she works in the school's technology department specialising in product design and textiles. Oh, and she used to be a professional chef for eight years, too.

How did she go from tech to deck?

Simple. Ms Pryce, who has a sailing background that goes back generations, saw the race advertised, went along to the London International Boat Show in January and signed up on the spot. After a month's intensive training this summer at the Clipper headquarters in Gosport, Portsmouth, she has been approved for the great expedition. "The race started in September and I will be at the helm on the last leg - leg seven - to sail in May, June and July," she says. "I have had to give up my job for this."

What is she most looking forward to?

"I can't wait to sail into New York under the Statue of Liberty, that will be fantastic. However, our first stop is Jamaica. One of the teams is from Jamaica, so when we stop on the island there is a huge party and (100m and 200m sprint world champion) Usain Bolt will be joining us. And, of course, there's my 36th birthday, which will be on an Irish yacht in Ireland."

What does the school make of it all?

"My colleagues are over the moon. They want me to come back and tell them all about it. I don't think they're surprised, as they have known me for scuba diving, swimming and triathlons. I did an assembly showing the children a video of my training throughout the summer. At the end, they applauded and showed great support."

So will she return to teaching?

"I am applying for teaching jobs for next September. My experience offers so many national curricular prospects, which is great." And she can't help but be philosophical, either. "One of our teachers in the summer said, 'There are fewer people who have sailed around the world than there are who have climbed Mount Everest.' So I'm very lucky to have been given the opportunity."

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