A FATHER-of-two who is taking part in one of the biggest challenges of the natural world is currently in Australia.

Kevin Smith, 70, is taking part in the gripping Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race to raise funds for the Abergele Eye Unit. More than £2,000 has been raised so far.

The race involves 11 racing yachts. Kevin, of Glan Conwy, is part of the crew on Dare to Lead which is currently in seventh position overall. 

On January 12, the Airlie Beach foreshore came alive for the Tourism Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival welcome event and race five prizegiving.

North Wales Pioneer:

Kevin Smith working on the boat in Fremantle, Australia

Joan Smith, Kevin’s wife, who visited her husband in Australia last month, said: “It was quite emotional being in Fremantle on December 11 when Kevin’s boat Dare to Lead arrived. Fortunately it was during daylight hours, about 7pm.

"It was lovely to see him and have a hug. He was very tired but happy to see me.

“After speaking with Kevin and other crew members, they all agree the race is a lot harder than any of them thought it would be.

“During the second leg of the journey [The South Atlantic challenge leg], they went through a very severe storm.

“Living conditions are very cramped and basic," Joan added. 

“Kevin told us that sometimes the easiest way to dry his socks is to put them on before bed and sleep in them as inside his sleeping bag is the warmest place. They never really dry properly, but they become less damp there than anywhere else.”

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has eight legs.

Leg five of the race is Asia-Pacific challenge. This route is East Australia - Sanya, China - Zhuhai and China.

Leg six is The Mighty Pacific leg. This takes in Zhuhai, China - Qingdao, China - West Coast, USA.

Joan said: “Life onboard can be an emotional rollercoaster, with some days, the whole crew feeling inspired by the wonder of the milky way so clear in the night sky, and the sea life including flying fish which land on the boat, while other times it’s a brutal slog against the oncoming wind and waves, where the need to survive is the only thing that motivates you through the physical torture of the situation.

“The adventure has definitely started to make Kevin appreciate the comfort he has at home a lot more.

“He has been reflecting on his life achievements and the family and home he has built in a very positive light.

“I’m sure he has new goals he would like to work towards when he gets back.”

To donate and support Kevin, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/kevinsmith

Follow the race at www.clipperroundtheworld.com