Pre Race thoughts‏

<Written Sunday 8th PM>

So here we are, after 4 days in Brest which has consisted mainly of fixing boats and drinking beer, we are about to set off for Rio tomorrow at 1.00.

 

Brest is not the most beautiful of French towns and most of the resto’s are very touristy, most of the crew are, understandably on fairly tight budgets particularly the Round the Worlders, so cheap food and wine was the order of the day. Eventually I cracked and booked into a great seafood restaurant right by the docks and picked up the wine bill, the only way I could guarantee a decent bottle or two!

 

You could feel the tension mounting today on all boats as the list of things to be done grew and the time available shrank. Plus people were thinking about what lay ahead. We start out crossing the bay of Biscay which will be ‘beating’ direct into the wind, so pretty rough and potential for a lot of seasickness. Crossing the bay should be about 3 days then basically a straight line, past the Canary Islands, then into the doldrums at the equator where the North Atlantic depression meets the South Atlantic depression and they both cancel each other out.

 

They sat the race will be won or lost in the doldrums as every metre gained with almost no wind counts, so concentration when there is nothing going on and it is really hot is the clincher.

 

After the equator hopefully relatively benign winds coming from behind us into Rio. The whole journey should take around 23 days!

 

Then into Rio for 5 days before the fleet heads off to Cape Town, everybody on board wants me to stay on for the next leg, I’m thinking of doing a ‘Sea Survivor’ TV show where people can vote me on or off the boat!! I can see it going viral and syndicated all over the world!

 

I’ll let fate decide if I carry on of not, at this point I genuinely don’t know… Off to pack now then to bed.. more sometime later…

Track how my team are doing at http://yb.tl/clipper2013-leg2, and you can sign up to our Skipper’s blog here and you can sign up to email alerts from the blog in the top right hand corner.

 

You can also follow on Facebook either on Team Qingdao’s official team page or on the friends and family page where everyone who knows the crew are posting photos and updates.

 

As always, you can sponsor me in aid of MacMillan Cancer Research and Prostate Cancer UK by clicking here to go to my JustGiving page and donating online, or by texting the word ‘SAIL72′ followed by the amount you wish to donate (eg, £10) to 70070

And the bronze medal goes to….

<Written Thurs 5th Sept>

We’ve just got into Brest in France at the end of our first race. We finished 3rd, so were on the podium which is a real result after all our tech problems.

The reason is that we stuck at the task 24/7 even when there was little or no wind, foggy damp and cold. The fog was amazing, a real sense of drama allied to an edge of fear that someone who wasn’t concentrating on their radar, if they had it, might loom out of the fog and hit you.

One of the crew called Liz and I did a Titanic impression on the foredeck, so Ricardo is now Leonardo and she is Kate!

Highs: I did a 4 hour stint trimming the sails in light breezes which means 100% concentration every minute so squeeze out the max poss speed albeit slow, that was one of the reasons we did well and everyone acknowledged it which was nice. I’m using up this well earned credit.

Lows: Hit another energy black out !! bugger!! but this time saw it coming so took some Torq high protein gels and bars which Polly recommended and within 25 mins I was OK (thanks Polly!) In truth, it was my own fault because a few days beforehand I had stopped taking them and I paid for it…big learning!

Looking forward to setting off on our next race – much longer this time. Next time I see dry land it’ll be in Rio.

If you want to follow by boat’s course and see who is winning, you can do so at the Race Tracker – http://yb.tl/clipper2013-leg2

As always, you can sponsor me in aid of MacMillan Cancer Research and Prostate Cancer UK by clicking here to go to my JustGiving page and donating online, or by texting the word ‘SAIL72′ followed by the amount you wish to donate (eg, £10) to 70070

Update from my first race – London to Brest

We’re currently 2/3rds of the way through our first race to Brest.

Frustration followed a slow start, as we watched the whole fleet disappear over the horizon because one of the quick release shackle that holds one of the three corners of the sail to the boat, took it’s name far too seriously and release whenever it felt like it.

The result was a sail that most often looked like a bed sheet flapping on a washing line rather than a bit of sailing kit!!

Since then we’ve clawed our way back up the fleet to the front runners.

Two ‘watches’ of 11 people each, watch patterns are 4 hrs on 4 off at night and 6 on 6 off during day, and ‘hot bunking’ which is not as much fun as it sounds it should be !! You grab sleep when you can off watch, a couple of hours at a time.

I’ll blog again once I’m on dry land.

In the meantime, you can sponsor me in aid of MacMillan Cancer Research and Prostate Cancer UK by clicking here to go to my JustGiving page and donating online, or by texting the word ‘SAIL72′ followed by the amount you wish to donate (eg, £10) to 70070

And they’re off!

Yesterday was the official start of the Clipper Race. It was an amazing day down at St Katherine’s Dock.

You can watch the official footage from the day here – Team Qingdao (CV 22) are on at the following times:

21:00 minutes is Qingdao team introduction and interviews

44:00 Qingdao entering the lock

1:00:00 1st lock coming out, but switches back to stage before Qingdao comes out

3:18:00 is the bridge opening

3:20:20 are the 4 yachts including Qingdao going under Tower Bridge

3:48 4 yachts coming back through the bridge

You can follow my team (Qingdao – CV22) on facebook on the official team page or on the friends and family page, on clipper’s twitter feed or hashtag or on the live race tracker where you can see the position of the boats and who is winning – Team Qingdao are the yellow boat.

Race

Following my team’s race…

This is Jo-Jo, Dick / Ricardo / Richard’s daughter. I’ll be keeping the page up to date with all his news and blog entries while he’s away.

Here’s a picture I took yesterday showing the Tower Bridge lift times – the bridge lifted at 13:00 for dad’s boat (CV22) and again at 13:30 for him to come back through and set off for Southend.

photo(7)

You can follow his team (Qingdao – CV22) on facebook on the official team page or on the friends and family page, on clipper’s twitter feed or hashtag or on the live race tracker where you can see the position of the boats and who is winning – Team Qingdao are the yellow boat.