Getting knocked sideways by a huge wave during a hurricane-generated electrical storm, seeing his yacht entangled in a lobster pot mooring off Nova Scotia and, as it approached Holyhead, nearly hitting rocks, are among the vivid memories of Twinings Tea group packaging development manager Barry Pritchard, a crew member in the final stages of one of the world’s toughest trans-global sailing races.

Keen yachtsman Pritchard was among the 14-strong crew of the Hong Kong Clipper, one of eight identical 18.2m boats participating in the final leg of the Clipper 2003 race.

The vessel, which sailed via New York across the North Atlantic and back to Liverpool as part of the 34 000 mile race, won the last leg and was fourth overall.

“I signed on for the final leg to realise three ambitions – crossing the equator, passing through the doldrums and sailing across the Atlantic,” says Pritchard. “Twinings generously gave me a sabbatical, recognising my 25 years service and its own historical links with clipper races.”

The Clipper Race is the world’s longest circumnavigation sailing competition, and allows amateur yachts people to sail around the globe under an experienced skipper. It is named after the 19th century tea clippers, which successfully ‘clipped’ the journey time from China to Britain.