How Sailing Round the World Led to a New Life in Paradise
The story of how expat Clara Carrington came to live in Uruguay begins with her quest to sail around the world.
With her father hailing from Newport Beach, California and her mother from the coastal resort of San Sebastian in Spain, Clara has always felt connected to the ocean. After studying for her MBA, she found a career in human resources, eventually moving to Alicante to work as HR director for The Ocean Race. She describes the contest, which commences in the Spanish city, as “the toughest professional around-the-world sailing race.”
While working for The Ocean Race, Clara was also pursuing her own sailing dream, preparing for an amateur contest called the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. In this biennial event, professional skippers and sailors take paying amateurs on a 10-month circumnavigation on identical yachts owned by Clipper Ventures.
Clara quit her job to join the 2019-2020 race and as luck would have it, she was assigned to Team Punta del Este. The team is named for the famed coastal resort in Uruguay, which was also a stop on that edition of the race.
On board the yacht, she met a longtime resident of Punta and sparks flew. In the following months, their relationship quickly blossomed as they sailed with the rest of the crew from the race’s starting point in London through Portimao (Portugal), Punta del Este, Cape Town (South Africa), Fremantle and Airlie Beach (Australia), and all the way to Subic Bay (Philippines).
By the time they reached the Philippines, however, the realities of 2020 were becoming clear. With the pandemic continuing to disrupt global travel and health, organizers made the difficult decision to halt the circumnavigation. The race was suspended.
With their dream on hold, Clara and her partner opted to return to Punta, where she had already applied for legal residence. “I had packed all my home back in Spain, I didn’t hesitate for a second and I followed my partner to his home, here, in Uruguay,” she says. “I have been very welcomed by all the Uruguayans I have met, and that has made me feel even more at home, from the very first day.”
It’s unsurprising that Punta would prove so appealing to an ocean lover like Clara. The warm-weather resort boasts a magnificent harbor and some of the most majestic sea views you’ll see anywhere. All this and it can be surprisingly affordable.
The sun-drenched peninsula of Punta del Este in Uruguay is a major draw for ocean and beach lovers.
To fund her new life in Punta, Clara has decided to pursue certification from the Co-Active Coaching Institute, which bills itself as the world’s largest coach training and leadership development organization. “I have always coached people as part of my HR role within organizations, but I had not really found the right certification for me,” she says. Clara started her training last August, and hopes to be able to finalize her certification by the middle of this year. In the meantime, she’s already started earning this way.
“I am currently coaching several clients,” says Clara. “I have also recently started as a mentor in The Magenta Project, which is focused on accelerating women to the top of sailing.”
According to Clara, there are numerous benefits to pursuing this online coaching career from Uruguay. The local culture encourages an excellent work/life balance and the country is basically mid-way, in terms of time difference, between Europe and the U.S. Pacific coast, which means she can work with clients in both locations. “I also love the amount of sunlight we have here, even in the winter!” she adds.
Clara is hoping to find clients in the local market as well, though life coaching is still relatively uncommon in Uruguay. “The concept of coaching is very broad here,” she says. “But this is also an opportunity for me to be able to show and share my knowledge of how Co-Active coaching can have a positive effect on people’s lives!”
Right now, Clara is enjoying the opportunity to slow down, unwind, and pursue her professional ambitions in stunning Punta del Este. But of course, she also has another goal on her mind: “We have to finish our Clipper Race too!”
By Grace Alexander