28. China In Your Hand

George is on the Qingdao boat. Here they are coming into Liverpool last year, when they were placed third overall with 135 points (the winner, Sanya Serenity Coast, had 143).

Liverpool 2018

I have to start with George as he signed up before John, so I’m not showing favouritism. George was also the fourth name to be called out on Crew Allocation Day so he’s first there too. Do we already have competition? I know his boat would like to improve on their podium position of last time so there’s only one way John’s Unicef boat can beat them!

George is on one of the three Chinese boats (Qingdao, Zhuhai and Sanya, more on the other two and on the destinations in future posts). Hence the comment about learning Mandarin last time. See post 05, we’ve already got two Mandarin phrase books so I need to start too. The crew of each of these three boats will include 16 Chinese members, chosen by the host ports after their training weeks. Qingdao has been involved with Clipper for 16 years and Zhuhai is making its debut this year. The current Clipper yachts were all built at Qingdao.

I am a bit concerned that George may do a Jeremy Hunt as he (George) is holidaying in Japan at the moment.

Mount Fuji from the Shinkansen bullet train

For those of you who’ve not heard of him, Jeremy Hunt is a British politician who is currently one of the 12 people (at time of typing) hoping to be the next UK Prime Minister. In 2018, when Foreign Secretary, when visiting Beijing, he said his wife was Japanese. She’s actually Chinese! His excuse was that he’d been speaking Japanese at the time. See the BBC link if you’re really interested: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-45004765

On the Qingdao boat there are 63 crew listed, 45 male and 18 female, aged from 23 to 72 years old. There are nine circumnavigators. They represent ten nations but I can only find British, Australian, Canadian, American, Irish (our George), Swedish and of course Chinese. They flew over for the Crew Allocation Day and are spending four weeks over here doing their Clipper training back-to-back. George tells me that not all will be sailing (this time) as there aren’t enough places on the yacht. Here some of them they are on May 11th at the end of allocation.

Qingdao hopeful crew members

The skipper on Qingdao is Chris Brooks, a 33 year old Brit with 26 years’ experience racing yachts. He’s been sailing since he was seven years old. The AQP (First Mate) is Rhiannon Massey, a 23 year old Brit who also started sailing when she was seven and has represented GB at the International Olympic class level. Doesn’t sound like it will be too competitive a boat then!

The RTW’ers all have a job to do and George seems to have picked up the Social Secretary role. As well as organising the Team Building weekend in July this seems to entail making sure everyone is entertained when they are in port. I’m looking forward to trying beers from every country we visit. Or wine, as I think nearly all the places are wine-producing regions. Good planning by someone at Clipper.

Their official colours are red and gold, as you can see from the first picture above. As it’s not too clear in the picture, here’s another one of the lovely looking dragon on the hull. Or is it meant to be looking very fierce and frightening the opposition?

Qingdao 2019-20

I’m busy knitting hats for the Unicef supporters at the moment so I hope at least one supporter for the Qingdao boat is a keen knitter, or else you’ll get no more updates from me for a while. When I started it was a bit like Goldilocks, the first hat was too dull, the second one too green and the third just right!

Too dull, too green, just right?

However, it may be apparent from the photo that the bright blue one is rather small. I made a mistake on the length so it was only the fourth one that was suitable for the supporters.

The plan is that we have matching hats so that we can recognise each other at each port, and also the crew coming in can see us and feel cheered that someone has come to see them arrive! So we all need the same colour more-or-less. On last year’s Qingdao a different type of hat altogether was worn, as you can see on the right-hand-side here.

I’m not knitting one of those!

If you want more in-depth details of the Qingdao crew then here’s the link to the Clipper website page. https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/team/qingdao/race-skipper If you do check the website, you’ll see a red line at the bottom which is counting down the days, hours, minutes and SECONDS to the race start. Only just over 93 days to go!

Next time, John’s crew mates. And maybe more hats!!

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