17. Kinky Boots

This is the third browser I’m trying so with luck there will be no more cliff hangers or typos to annoy me (and possibly you too). Well the cliff hanger was quite fun, I may do that again if inspiration strikes. I do need to change the language to English English though, probably OK for you but it’s trying to “correct” my spellings.

Last week was very exciting, we went down to see The Yachts! George was there on his Week 3 but I think he was avoiding us. We looked at the boats in harbour, both the 68 footers that they have been training on as below (I think, maybe I need to be corrected). George was there somewhere but we couldn’t see him or the rest of his crew.

A training boat

And also the 70 footers that they will be on from now. One has been branded with the 2019/20 dates but as you can see from the rest of the hull she’s not ready to go out. Not all eleven were there so some may be out at sea or going around to promote Clipper at various boat shows. There was a road show in Leeds recently, not sure about a harbour or marina there.

Qingdao boat for 2019/20?

The ones painted white are ready for their new sponsors, looking carefully at the time the old paintwork could be seen. The only thing that they keep is their registration number; on the training boat about you can just see CV7 at the front (bow).

Once we’d had a good look at these (John had to use his special Clipper pass to get onto the pontoon!) we caught the ferry from Gosport to Portsmouth to go shopping. My first boat trip this year.

Spinnaker Tower

The shopping in Gunwharf Quays looked very good but we walked right through past all the restaurants and shops to get to…MUSTO! The whole plan had been to buy me some boots (I thought). We came home with four big bags of stuff, not all of it for me. As well as my boots I bought a big “foulie” jacket and some trousers. John bought boots, jacket and more. I think we’re keeping the company afloat single-handedly.

Diana Rigg I am not

We then wandered back to the ferry and looked into The Castle pub which is where the team all congregate after a day on board, but no George there so we came home. About half an hour after we left he told us he’d just got to the pub. Definitely avoiding us!

The other bit of news is that John now has a justgiving page to raise money for Unicef. As in Post 14, they are hoping to get to the £1,000,000 mark this time round with Clipper. I’ll get the link and put it up another time if you want to donate. (How much is it worth to stop me doing this blog??)

Next week John goes on his week 3 so I’m sure there will be more technical sailing info in my next post (or possibly the one after). He’s revising his notes but I’ve not noticed any knot-tying recently. I am now about to check this and see if it freezes or if I can post an entry with NO typos!

All lined up and ready to go

16. Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

In addition to the four weeks training MBB receive from Clipper, there are a number of other options to increase skills. Clipper Ventures bought Hamble School of Yachting early this year. The header to this post shows the courses that the crew members have been offered.

Before I start though, I apologise for the deliberate (?) typo in the last post. The VERY LAST WORD! So much for my proof-reading. I’d be sacked if I was still working.

The latest recruit on the Clipper website is a 19 year-old student, Timothy Morgan, must be one of the youngest participants. Makes George seem old in comparison.

And to refer back to 2017/18 race, in Waitrose the other day I saw that they are still plugging it! At first I thought it was for the upcoming race but on peering closely and squinting I saw it was the last one. Didn’t buy it though.

Back to training. George has done quite a few so far and as I type is off to his Week 3 with Clipper. The plan is that I will join in on any theory ones John undertakes, so at least we can attempt to understand each other. As George is busy taking his course here’s John:

Thinking of the next task…

The RYA (Royal Yacht Association) has many courses, some of which are:

Essential Navigation and Seamanship, Competent Crew (which  MBB already are!), Day Skipper (which George is undertaking), Coastal Skipper, Yacht Master Offshore and Yacht Master Ocean. I think that by this stage you’ll be looking to work in the discipline but I’ll bet there are always other courses. I’ve not seen one for sewing, which they may need when the sails are damaged (as invariably they seem to be).

Not quite detailed enough navigation I think!

Other than “pure” sailing courses, there’s radio (my excuse for the heading of this post), radar,  diesel engine maintenance (could be useful for my car? Maybe not), weather (always useful in the UK), sea survival, world sailing and offshore safety, first aid….

As George is a St John’s Ambulance recruit he’s got some knowledge of this last topic but what you find in a high street or sports stadium is probably not the same as in the middle of the ocean! Regarding Navigation, this is an Astrolabe, used “in the olden days”. Pretty bit of kit, much more exciting than just looking at a screen. Followed by me with it for scale.

I’m looking forward to a bit of brain work, but we need to get the routine tasks out of the way first. Talking of which, must press on. Next time will possibly be about the Week 3 training unless anything happens in the interim. Or maybe a bit more about the race and how they score the points.

15. All Kinds of Everything

This is just a catch up for things I’ve alluded to previously and answering some questions I have received.

  1. John and George have not yet left. The start date is not known but will be August / September. John has lots of projects to finish and we have lots of people to see before he goes so life is pretty busy. I realise I’ve not updated this blog at all this month so far. I do now have over 100 followers, you’ll all be wondering what’s happened to me.

2. If you want to read about the actual sailing then find another blog. There are a few, type in Clipper round the world and you’ll find them. I will be giving some details once the yachts set off but it’s never going to be a “what I did on my sailing holiday” blog.

3. Post 3: I now have the newspaper on my phone so one less thing to sort. I didn’t get a tablet in the end. The jigsaw has not been touched so will be a challenge for the house / dog / cat sitters. We may have someone willing to come here, more on that when it’s confirmed. In preparation I had Greta spayed. Unfortunately she had to go back to the vet a fortnight later with a sore neck. She had CLIPPER RASH! Getting into the spirit of things.

4. Post 6: The things I called wet cards are more properly wet notes. John has not done much revising or knot tying but I suspect that may change soon. The fitness training is going well, so much so that his weight is getting very close to mine. I must stop eating or increase my exercise too.

Doing my push-ups!

5. Post 7: We are sorting out a proper safe so everything can all be in one place. The house log book has been started in that I’ve a list of headings. I realised it really is needed when the lights upstairs blew and it was a fuse box I didn’t know about in a cupboard in George’s bedroom. I am unsubscribing from stuff as it comes in.

6. Post 10: The book I could not remember is called The Fulcrum Files by Mark Chisnell. It’s set during the Second World War. The synopsis doesn’t mention sailing but it was recommended in a boating magazine so we’ll find out when we read it.

7. Post 12: I have found out that those people who have not crossed the Equator (at sea) have the charming name of pollywogs. I knew this as a dialect word for tadpoles in my youth growing up in a fishing port.


8. Post 13: A pal has mentioned two other naval superstitions that her dad (a Captain in the RN and Master Mariner) had. L for ladders, I’m not sure how many of them are on a boat but I guess if it’s a big one there may be a few. J for Jonah, an unlucky person or crew member. He also said that the Crossing the Line ceremony is to appease Neptune.

I hope I’m not a Jonah!

9. Last month we had a taste of what it will be like for John, trapped with people and no way out. When the snow came, we had four friends visiting for Thursday night. We did warn them that snow had been forecast but as we had plenty of food and a full oil tank they risked it. This is what Friday morning looked like, a lovely sunny day.

January brings the snow

It looks like the cars got out but a bit further on we realised the track out of our house was blocked. John finally managed to free us on Monday. By then our pals had walked in the other direction over two fields to be picked up and taken to the station. How did he cope with being cooped up? Well, he had the tractor out all over the weekend trying to clear the snow away! The cars were picked up a week later.

Makes our feet and fingers glow!

Next time, maybe a bit about trianing.