Wednesday, 13 September 2017 15:12

Maple Creek man sailing around the world

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Forty thousand miles – that’s how far Don Peterson will sail around the world during a year-long yacht race. He left Liverpool, Eng., Aug. 20 and will literally circle the planet. 


Peterson, who grew up in Maple Creek, is competing in a race called the “Round the World,” which is held every two years and organized by a British company called Clipper. Competitors start and finish in Liverpool. The first team to make it back wins.
A dozen identical racing yachts are entered in the competition and each is manned by crews of 15 to 20 people, Peterson said.
He anticipates the most difficult aspect won’t be the weather, but rather the physical and mental challenge of sharing the tight living quarters on board with more than a dozen individuals.
Truth be told, the risk of injury in a race such as this doesn’t come from being above deck in a storm. Instead, a person is more likely to get hurt below deck in rough seas. This is because a sailor doesn’t see large waves approaching and can get tossed around the cabin.
When asked how he got permission from his wife to leave for a year, Peterson answered with a smile, “She understands the challenge.” His wife, Brigitte Sivret, also sails.
About twenty years ago, Peterson sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. As a young man, he based his choice of university on access to water. He attended the University of British Columbia because of his passion for boats. From UBC, he moved to Halifax and taught himself to sail and worked his way up to larger and larger boats.
Peterson obtained a bachelor of engineering degree with a speciality in tunnels. He then completed a master’s degree in geo-technical engineering. During his career, he worked in Indonesia and Congo. In Congo, he was employed by Katanga, a Canadian mining company that was extracting cobalt and copper. Peterson was the chief operating officer.
Peterson, who retired last year at 50, credits his father for a career in mining. Peterson said his father believed in giving his sons responsibilities and let them operate heavy machinery for the family backhoe business. Peterson grew up around machines used for digging.
On July 11, Peterson left Canada for race training in England. He looked forward to the camaraderie and to developing life-long friends with the other participants. Peterson also views the race as a way to improve as a sailor.
Peterson said the “Round the World” is definitely a bucket list item. The full trip fee including insurance is £60,000 or $98,000 Canadian.
After leaving Liverpool Aug. 20, the racers sailed south and won’t see land for 30 days until they reach Uruguay. From there, they’ll head east to Cape Town then continue to Perth and later Sidney.
After leaving Australia, the competitors will sail north to China before crossing the Pacific Ocean to Seattle. They’ll reach New York City via the Panama Canal and conclude the race in Liverpool July 28, 2018.
Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing. For more info about his speaking engagements, phone 306-661-8975 or visit: www.canoetoneworleans.com.

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.

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