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Motivation and Inspiration! Why?

Since my last post, it has been an incredibly busy period, and it is time to get back to blogging! Thanks to all of you who signed up for my blog posting! I just got back from my 16th Chicago-to-Mackinac Race, 333 miles from Chicago to Mackinac Island ( ). Our crew had a great trip, in light winds, placing 9th of 12 in our class and 46th out of 104 in our section)...a very tactical race this year!

But let's get back to the Clipper Race...with the first question coming from my high-school classmate, Dr. Charlene Bellamy Shea, a friend and great teacher from Vancouver, WA. Charlene's as well as others, have posed the question: "Why? What is your motivation/inspiration for doing a circumnavigation race?" This is a great question to get started, but also a complex question to answer...I'll do my best!

I first learned of the Clipper Race in 2019, on Facebook, and frankly, I was pretty shocked that I didn't know anything about it...I'm reasonably aware of all the great regattas/races around the world, but this one slipped by me...but I had no idea about a race as interesting as this one, where experienced and non-experienced sailors can come together from around the world to race around the world!

But my motivations run longer and deeper than just a Facebook stumble in 2019...for my entire life, I've been in/around/living with some aspect of the marine world. My maternal grandfather Victor Francis lived in Seattle, working in the fishing/dock world of the Seattle waterfront, my father, Ken Faris, spent his career and life, working and serving the people of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska in maritime operations for Crowley Maritime Corporation ( My father adventurously packed his family off to Alaska. Shown in the pictures below, Crowley and my father pioneered sea lifts to Prudhoe Bay, serviced remote Alaskan villages with tug and barge service during summers above the Arctic Circle in Kotzebue and Nome on the edge of the Chukchi and Bearing are WAY out there! In early 1970's, the conditions were, relatively primitive and austere...and it is amongst these marine settings and my father's work, where I came to love the ocean world and a sense of adventure.

That love for the ocean was strengthened with regular visits to the Oregon and Washington coasts from our longtime home in Vancouver, Washington, as well as trips to Maui. In a sense, seeing and being around oceans, the water, all things marine, helped instill my love of the ocean. Standing on those shores, looking outward, wondering what it would be like to sail, to go out there began to take shape.

I learned to sail during college, on Green Lake in urban Seattle. I learned seamanship and racing, on Puget Sound and doing some early offshore work with my friends Neil Stewart and Betty Kruger and their Passport 42 S/V Europa. I will be forever grateful to Neil and Betty for laying the sailing foundation for wanting to do more, go farther..."thank you!"

As I continued to build my sailing skills, both racing and non-racing, I had the opportunity to go deep offshore with friends Tom and Sandy Buus, and their vessel, S/V Family Affair for the 2014 Vic Maui Race...a race from Victoria, British Columbia to Lahaina Maui...we placed 4th in our class and had a wonderful time...both racing and on the return passage...a challenge for sure being 16 days offshore, but the wide ocean is vast, beautiful, humbling and amazing.

Ultimately, I've always wanted to circumnavigate...I'd read Dove, Maiden Voyage, A World of My Own (the story of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's voyage and founder of Clipper), and Endurance (the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton's amazing leadership and seamanship)...these real world experiences and stories have all have been inspirational.

Yet, given all of the above for which I am forever grateful, if I reflect deeply, I am most motivated from: "Can I do this? " Can I test myself enough physically and mentally to get on a boat, with 20+ people, many of who I don't know, from various cultures and backgrounds, and collectively go around the world, racing hard? Teaming together, in both action and experience, can we get around the world? Winning isn't important, but the ACT itself, of being part of something bigger than myself, alone, digging pretty darn deep inside when cold, wet, tired/exhausted (and sometimes grumpy as hell), to pull this off, that is the "why?" for me. I want Team Qingdao to sail as hard and as fast as we can within our abilities, to do it safely, but ultimately to come together and navigate around the world.

To accomplish this will bring me full circle, from standing on the shores of the Chukchi Sea as a young boy, to racing hard with friends and family over the last 30+ years, and finally, circumnavigating.

So Charlene, thank you for your great question! I fully believe we are the summation of our experiences, influences, and ultimately, should seek opportunities to test ourselves and to go farther.

Thanks for reading,


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As you and your shipmates travel- May the wind fill your sails and spirits throughout your adventures! Blessings ~ Charlene

Chris Faris
Chris Faris
Aug 01, 2023
Replying to

Thank you Charlene...we are all hoping to sail fast and safe, and I really appreciate your kind words and prayers for our travels!

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