A NOVICE sailor is preparing to sail halfway around the world.

Andrew Dodd, from Braintree, will take part in the sixth and seventh legs of the 2019/2020 Clipper Race, which will see him sail from the east coast of China to New York.

The bi-annual race is divided into eight legs and covers more than 40,000 nautical miles around the world.

Eleven teams started the race on September 1 in London, setting sail to South America, before heading to Australia and up to China, where Andrew will join his crew.

Andrew will join his team, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam - who are in second position overall and winning the current leg - on March 1, near Hong Kong.

Despite completing all the required training, Andrew admits he is “looking forward to it but terrified” in the build-up to the race.

He said: “I haven’t sailed before, which makes it more of a challenge.

“In total, I will sail about 15,000 nautical miles.

“It’s a bit of an adventure. I am looking forward to it, but I am also terrified at the same time.

“It’s not a gin and tonic, sit on a sun lounger type of yacht, it’s a race.

“My team are currently second so there is some pressure when I join them.

“We will start in China and go about 1,000 miles north before going across to Seattle and then down to New York.”

Andrew will spend four months on board, with the crew taking turns to help with sailing, maintenance and cooking.

The team is named after the Unesco World Heritage Site Ha Long Bay in the Quang Ninh Province in Vietnam.

Andrew, 57, used to serve in the Royal Navy and began training for the race in September last year.

He said: “The Clipper Round The World Yacht Race is one of the only worldwide races open to amateur sailors.

“There are four levels of training that are required. About 40 per cent of people are novices so I’m not alone.

“I’m going to go back out in February to get my sea legs back before I join the team.”

The Clipper Race supports Unicef’s work with children in danger across the world.

Last year the race raised more than £1million for the charity.

Andrew is also raising money for Braintree’s Tabor Centre, which aims to help adults with disabilities and provide respite for their families.

He said: “The Tabor Centre is located in the old science block of the school I used to go to.

“I wanted to pick a small charity that I had a connection to.”

Andrew also hopes to stay on the boat for a further two months to complete the eighth and final leg of the race to bring him home.

He said: “I am hoping to join the home leg but I am on the waiting list.

“I won’t know until I get to New York if I made it or not, if I do then I will be away for six months.”