09. Don’t Know Much About History

Stop press! I now have over 50 followers! OK, so I just found a history blog with over 30 million followers, but you have to start somewhere.

IĀ find that although John and George are speaking English, it might as well be Chaucer’s English. Things I thought I understood are not as they seem. So here are a few technical terms that are not to be confused with what we expect them to be. There may be others in a later post. I don’t think I’ll set a test for you though. Also, I’ve used simplistic language so if you’re a real sailor you may flinch at some descriptions. If you want to be a real sailor please do not rely on these descriptions. I’ll not include pics of the real objects, you’ll have to go onto the Clipper website http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/race/fleet or use an internet search engine (I use everyclick as it raises money for charity but others are available!). A good link is http://www.universalyachting.com/how-to-sail-a-z-of-yachting-terms

Some of the items may be on this boat, which would possibly be recognisable in Chaucer’s time!

A) Coffee grinder

No not that sort. The coffee grinder on the boat (actually two of them on Clippers) is very hard work, it is used to drive the winches to get some of the sails up. Two people stand, one either side, and grind away in a similar movement to that used for one of these kitchen implements.

B) Yankee

Well that’s as close as I could get to a real Yankee! But they are actually sails, three of them I think on the Clippers.

C) Pulpit

Not as pretty as this and a great deal wetter! It’s right at the front (bow) of the boat and I guess stops you from falling overboard if you’re up there as it has a metal railing around it.

D) Jammer

I found this picture in my photo folder so thought it had to come out. Ours is nothing to do with Bob Marley. The jammer stops the ropes (lines) from flapping about when they’re not connected to the winch.

E) Legs

There are eight legs in the race, rather more in this picture. They will be described in more detail when we know more.

F) Letterbox

Nothing to do with Boris Johnson insulting people. It’s the thin space between the mainsail (the big one attached to the mast, although the yankee and spinnaker are bigger) and the boom (the pole at the bottom of the mainsail).

I think that’s enough technical stuff for one day, so close to Christmas. I need to go and ice my cake (it’s not going to be the traditional reindeer and snowmen on it this year!).

08. Bad Moon Rising?

Not exactly sure what a bad moon is but the week before last we certainly had one (even though it was just before a new moon: is this the definition?). It was definitely an odd time. On the Wednesday three friends fell out with their ex (un)loved ones, two pals had a car crash (no-one injured, thankfully) and I tripped and fell over a side table:

John repaired it that day with screws and straps and glue (take note fellow sailors, he’s a carpenter too!).

Then on the Thursday all the oxygen ran out and we suffocated. Oh, hang on, O2 had a problem with the internet and we all survived despite not being able to use our mobile phones and other gadgets. Although some poor chap was reported as not being able to get from Manchester to Leeds. I guess he was walking and had never heard of Ordnance Survey maps.

Whilst that was happening, Clipper went off line (good planning or something more sinister?) to do some maintenance. This involved taking down the 2017/18 map and putting up a new “illustrative” one for 2019/20. I tried to upload the map for you all to see but that’s a skill set I haven’t yet worked out. Here’s the link instead:


Good, that worked. What have we learnt about the trip next year? Well, assuming Clipper are not into bluffing, the start looks as though it goes from London or thereabouts, not Liverpool. Maybe to Brazil then Cape Town, Perth and Brisbane. We know the three Chinese ports: Sanya (the boat that won last year’s race), Zhuhai (new for 2019/20) and Quingdao. Then off to Western USA, possibly San Francisco? Through the Panama Canal to Eastern USA, New York? Then back across the top of the UK to wherever the start was.

We have a Clipper “Crew Brief” meeting mid January so hope to know more then. Meanwhile, here’s a couple of pictures we took in 2015 when staying with friends on the Isle of Wight, watching the Round the Island race, never realising that a few years later it would mean so much!

I expect MBB to be able to name all the sails now and tell me what tack they’re on!

Next time: who knows? I’ve a few ideas but suspect Christmas may interfere with my plans so if I don’t post before then, enjoy the festive season and speak again in 2019.

07. Don’t Stop Me Now!

Apologies to all my followers (now numbering 20! Hello People!) who have had sleepless nights waiting for my next post. This is a busy time of year, trying to plan Christmas: people coming over for Christmas, no we’re not, yes we are but on a different day, oh we’ve had a family row so we’ll come to you after all, oh we’ll only be three, the others can’t make it, can I bring Great Aunt Abigail as she’s on her own and so it goes on. (I may be exaggerating but we do have two weeks left). I was about to start this post on Friday when we had a power cut.

Then the menu changes when we’re given a brace of pheasant. They are about to be plucked by John (note to fellow voyagers, a useful skill if you get stranded on a desert island) then frozen before they fester too much.

Enough ranting, on with the show. I think I promised another boring post of preparations I’m having to make. Some initial thoughts were listed in post 3. Adie seems to have gone to sleep already if you look at this header!

A) Powers of Attorney, Wills, Passwords etc. All (sort of) in hand. Once completed, they’ll go in the safe forĀ reference in dire emergency. Ah, the safe:

This belonged to my uncle. When he died, the care home asked me to clear his room out. They mentioned the safe and did I have a key? No? Well, we’ll get the handyman on standby with his drill and force it open in your presence. When I arrived, I tilted it to see how heavy it was and…the door swung open! Inside were a couple of Christmas cards and nothing else. To give an idea of its size, here it is with a coffee mug for scale:

Not going to get much stored in there. The paperwork should just about get in.

B) House details. We’ll need a little log book for anyone who looks after the place. We have fuse boxes in (to my knowledge) five different places.  Here’s one:

Then the stop cocks. The main one outside the house is in a field that doesn’t belong to us. When we moved in, the main one in the house was under the floorboards in George’s bedroom. Of course. We can’t do much outside but we did improve indoors:

I call it my little nuclear power station. It sits in a cupboard next to the fuse boxes above. 

When we have a power cut, some lights automatically turn themselves on so that needs noting down. The number of light switches, dimmers, different types of bulbs doesn’t bear thinking about. Half the time I just press switches till the right light comes on. We’ve only been here 27 years!

Then the heating and cooking. We have mains electricity thankfully but no gas so there are two oil tanks. George says we should be more green; we have an air source heat pump but I’m not convinced it’s that efficient.  (He’s also trying to persuade us to dispose of our diesel cars and go green, maybe in 2020 on the return).

So all suppliers’ details need to go into the little log book, together with emergency call-out numbers, the vet’s number, vaccination certificates for the beasts, what food they eat etc.

C) Subscriptions. Not many but if I don’t cancel them I’ll have magazines and chocolates piled up on my return.

D) Personal stuff. Travel insurance, vaccinations, supply of medication for the period I’m away. What else? I’ve got about nine months to keep planning.

Onwards and upwards. Next time (soon), an update on the actual Clipper trip.