31. Simply the Best

Or at least they want to be better than all the rest! Having told you about Qingdao in post 28 and Unicef in post 29, here’s a short summary of all the other boats. Six of the boats have been branded and the other five have yet to find sponsors. Don’t all rush at once.

First a quick recap. Team Ian (Unicef) is John’s boat. The Skipper is Ian Wiggin, 30 years old, British. The AQP (first mate) is Mike Miller, 50 years old, British. There are 63 crew members aged 18 to 70, 42 men and 21 women. Fourteen nations are represented and there are eight RTW’ers including John. She is number CV 31 if you want to follow her on one of the many apps or websites that make you waste TOO much time! (You’ll see the number on the boat here above the Clipper box but somewhat blurred).

Team Chris (Qingdao) is George’s boat. The Skipper is Chris Brooks, 33 years old, British. The AQP is Rhiannon Massey, 23 years old, British. There are 63 crew members aged 23 to 72, 45 men and 18 women. Ten nations are represented and there are nine RTW’ers including George. She is number CV 30. Here she is:

Now onto the new ones. CV 29 is Visit Sanya or Team Seamus. The Skipper is Seamus Kellock, 26 years old from Edinburgh (currently British). The AQP is Jorge Infante Llorca, 30 years old, Spanish. There are 59 crew members aged 27 to 68, 38 men and 21 women. Ten nations are represented with nine RTW’ers. Here she is. You can’t quite see her number, there will be one at the back (stern) as well as the front. Forever tropical paradise, looking forward to that visit!

The final Chinese one is CV 28, Zhuhai, Team Nick. Skipper Nick Leggatt is a 52 year old South African and the AQP is James Finney, 24 years old from Glasgow (Britain). There are 58 crew members aged 18 to 66, 40 men and 18 women. Eleven nations are on board with nine RTW’ers.

I’m skipping a couple of numbers now to go to CV 25, Team Jeronimo which is the Punta del Este boat. This will be the first to arrive at her “home” in Uruguay in mid-October 2019. Of course she won’t be first home as John and George (or is it George and John?) are determined to come in at the front of the fleet. Skipper Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez is 44 years old and Spanish. His AQP is 27 year old Canadian Ryan Barkey. There are 64 crew members aged 24 to 76, 45 men and 19 women. Here is the oldest crew member, Luis Garelli. John will have to go again in 2025 to beat that! Fourteen nations are on this boat with eight RTW’ers. She was “wrapped” very recently and in this photo is not even in the water, although she is now afloat and was racing last week. I thought they were all painted by hand, very disappointed! Go to this link and you’ll see how they do it, rather like papering a wall. https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/news/article/punta-del-este-makes-a-splash

These are, to date, the only ones who have their final appearance. The last one to be branded and I guess being wrapped even as I type (well, maybe not, it’s six o’clock in the evening) is Team Ben, the Seattle boat. Skipper and AQP are both British, 42 year old Ben Keitch and 52 year Judy Hilton. There are 55 crew members aged 19 to 70 with 36 men and 19 women. Thirteen nations on board with eight RTW’ers.

The Seattle supporters were easy to spot last year with their GREEN heads. I thought there must have been an Irish influence but apparently it is because the Seattle skyline looks like the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz. I’ll have to go back and watch the film. No pic of CV 22 yet. You saw the back view of a supporter in the header to post 24 and crew in post 20. Here’s a VERY enthusiastic crew member from last year, will MBB emulate him? (One bright blue beard and one red/gold, interesting thought).

Now to the five teams who have yet to find out whose sign they are sailing under. In numerical order, CV 20 is Team Mike. Once again both Skipper and AQP are British, 55 year old Mike Sturridge and 23 year old Sam Cooper. Sixty crew members, 42 men and 18 women aged 20 to 69 representing fifteen nations with eight RTW’ers.

CV 21 is Team David. This has a South African Skipper, 48 year old David Immelman (known as “Wavy”, I’ve yet to find out why) and a German AQP, 46 year old Fabian Fisahn. Once again there are 60 crew, 17 to 72 years old, 41 men, 19 women with eleven nations and eight RTW’ers. Here we have the youngest crew member, Ellen O’Brien.

CV 23 is Team Mark, Skipper Mark Burkes (54 years old, British) and AQP Dan Jones (21 years old, British). They are in charge of 66 crew members aged 19 to 67 with 46 men and 20 women. There are thirteen nations and seven RTW’ers.

CV 26 is Team Josh, British 31 year old Josh Stickland (“Sticky”, well I can work that one out) and 29 year old Frenchman Hugo Picard (Beam Me Up Sticky?). They have 62 crew, aged 27 to 73, 42 men and 20 women. Fifteen nations and eight RTW’ers.

Finally, CV 27 is Team Guy. As with Team Josh there is a British Skipper (52 year old Guy Waites) and a French AQP (21 year old Hughes Stellio). They have 60 crew, 45 men and 15 women aged 18 to 74 years. There are eleven nations and seven RTW’ers.

There are some good videos on the Clipper website “behind the scenes” which give more information on the preparation, see here https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/news/behind-the-scenes

These are all provisional numbers as there are still some spaces. If you weren’t tempted to sponsor one of the unbranded boats, how about sailing for a month or so? Ah and the countdown is now 72 days, 5 and a half hours…

30. Four wee wheels and a handle

To misquote a film! I know, all my preparation seems to involve buying bags of varying sizes. I’ve realised that as I won’t have Sherpa John to carry them I need things I can manage myself. As well as the Clipper bag featured in post 5, I’ve got one that will go in the hold. Here the dogs are modelling it (to give a sense of scale). It’s of a type I vowed never to have, with four wheels, so it glides alongside when you’re walking. It is very light and I’ve tried it for real so I’m converted. I’ll need careful planning on what to take as I have my suspicions that I’ll be getting wish lists from MBB.

Can we come too?

Now that we know the main stops, I can sort out my jabs. I’ve gone onto the WHO website and looked at the Immunization Chart. To summarize, I will need yellow fever (with certificate), Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid. I am advised to have Hepatitis B, Rabies, TB (tuberculosis), TBE (tick-borne encephalitis), JE (Japanese encephalitis) and Cholera. I’d best start now. There is one problem that you may have seen in the news recently, anyone over 60 (which I have to admit to being) has a greater risk of suffering nasty side effects with the yellow fever jab. A pal of ours has gone deaf and there was a recent death in the news. Maybe I’ll stay home after all. Oh, but we’ve got house-sitters coming in a month or so. Back to the travel clinic.

As for visas, I need them for the USA and China, possibly Panama, although I hear that the China visa has a time limit so I may have to leave that till later. In addition Australia may ask for a health check and proof of funds. They haven’t in the past so I should be OK. John did get a speeding fine out there some years ago which followed him back home, but we paid it so should be allowed back in!

Need to avoid this!

The languages are now known, I think. Spanish for Uruguay (which I’m learning how to spell) and Mandarin for China. The only hesitation is the first stop before Punta del Este. If it’s in Spain then great but if Brazil then I’ll need to add Portuguese. This does, of course, assume I have time to learn the languages as well as everything else I’m doing (mostly knitting hats).

I’ve started to look at the stopovers to see what sort of weather we can expect and what clothes to take. I rather wish I hadn’t. Ignoring the bit after Panama, which is yet to be confirmed, I’ve created the following table (at the bottom of this post). This is pretty simple but scary. If I don’t manage to get home between legs, then I’m going to need clothes that will be comfortable at 15 C up to 32 C during the day and down to 2 C at night. I think I’ll just copy John and George’s kit and have lots of layers. At least I won’t need ball gowns. I’ll put clothes on hold for another day.

As mentioned in post 3, I have a roll up keyboard which I can take with me. I found it the other day and unrolled it, only to find that half the keys were not doing anything. I’ve bought another as it was about two years old and I couldn’t find a warranty (nor for the new one).

What’s left? Oh yes, flights and hotels. The good news is that the official travel supplier to Clipper is also willing to help the supporters. I’ll be in touch with them next week about how to get from one place to another and which hotels to stay in. You never know, they may even be able to send bags of warm clothing to the right place so I don’t have to cart it around!

One last point for you all to note. Next Tuesday morning the Clipper website will be open to those supporters who wish to escort the Leaving Parade from a boat in the Thames at Tower Bridge down to the Thames Barrier. I wonder if it will be like Glastonbury and crash or be full within minutes? Most annoying is that I’ll not be home then so can’t sit on my computer pressing buttons. If I miss out I’ll just have to wave from the shore. This does have the advantage of seeing them slipping lines from the marina. Decisions decisions. I’m sure we’ll be having a farewell party in London before we go, but here’s the link if you want to see if you can get on a boat: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/clipper-2019-20-race-official-race-start-spectator-boat-tickets-tickets-63050263034

PlaceTimeTemp (day/night)
Punta del Este14 – 23 October22 / 13
Cape Town7 – 17 November23 / 13
Fremantle9 – 22 December25 / 15
Whitsundays9 – 18 January29 / 25
China (all)10 Feb – 26 March26-12 / 20-2 (yes, 2!)
Seattle19 April – 2 May15 / 6
Panama27 May – 5 June32 / 24

29. Rhapsody in Blue

Now to John’s boat. Before I start though, I thought you might be interested in a book John was given for his birthday, not by me!

No comment!

This is a gripping book, addressing the original voyage that Sir Robin took. Although it was not intended as a race, it became known as the Golden Globe Race and nine men set off in various types of boats with varying degrees of experience. One man continued beyond the start as he would not consider racing and ended up living in Tahiti. One was Donald Crowhurst, who faked his position and looked as though he were winning until he disappeared. (There were two films made about him in 2017). I’ll not tell you the rest, it’s well worth a read.

John is on the Unicef boat, commonly referred to as the Big Blue Boat. They came sixth last year with 108 points. The Unicef boat is the official charity of Clipper and is the only one that does not have a sponsor. I may have said this previously, but I hadn’t realised that Unicef relies entirely on donations. This is the third time they’ve been the Clipper charity and are hoping to get above £1 million this time. As the last race raised over £374,000 and all three raised a total of more than £700,000 this sounds achievable. As well as John raising funds I’ve now joined in with my Clipper Supporter Unicef hats. That’ll add a few more pounds! I’ll not bore you with another picture, just go back to my last post. I have now knitted two decent ones. OK, here’s the proof. The next time you see them it should be at the race start on Supporter heads.

The Big Blue Hat

On the Unicef boat there are 63 crew listed, 42 male and 21 female, aged from 18 to 70 years old. John is not the only 70 year old so may not even been the oldest on this boat (and on George’s there’s a 72 year old). He may be the oldest Round-The-Worlder though, I need to research the other boats before being able to say this with confidence (see a future post?). On the Unicef boat there are eight circumnavigators. Fourteen nationalities are reported to be sailing, so far I’ve found eleven: British, Australian, Canadian, American, Irish, Swedish, South African, Swiss, Spanish, Norwegian and Italian.

The Skipper is Ian Wiggin, a 30 year old Brit who has been working towards skippering a Clipper boat for the last ten years. The AQP is Mike Miller, a 50 year old Brit who was a crew circumnavigator last time on Sanya, the winning boat. I’m sure he’ll want to keep that position! I have a photo of Ian, courtesy of the Clipper website. (I couldn’t get the others to download for some reason. Need more skills).

“Wiggy” on his boat

As I said last time, the RTW’ers are given a specific job, and John will be the Medical Assistant. This should not be too demanding as there are at least five doctors on board as well as a renal nurse, but not all going for the whole trip. The Skipper is responsible for medical care on the boat but John will be responsible for keeping the medical kit and log safe and up-to-date. We’ve been told by a crew member from a previous trip that everyone will have an injury at some stage, the vast majority being minor, so sticking plasters at the ready! He’ll be going on a two day course in July for all the Medical Assistants and we have both signed up for a four day course in August to learn about first aid on board. You never know when you’ll need it. You know the official colour by now, BLUE!

Every boat has a kitty which the crew can decide to spend on a luxury or two. George’s crew are busy discussing whether to have a freezer. Whilst they think of their stomachs, the Unicef team are much more cerebral. All John’s correspondence (?) on WhatsApp seems to have been about the Team Song. Even though there are only 63 crew it felt that about 150 songs were suggested. I have spent many a happy hour listening to them. Last weekend there was a vote (a bit like Eurovision but not so camp. I think). One crew member one vote. I won’t tell you which one John voted for but the winner with 17 votes was Here We Go by Wild. They are from Los Angeles so maybe they’ll come and cheer us into Seattle? The runner up had 6 votes and I’m Happy to say that no-one went home with nul points. If you don’t know the winning song here’s the YouTube link to it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08beVMVWfnI&feature=youtu.be

The words are up there so no excuse, I expect you all to be singing along on 1st September. Rather apt, in view of the fact that on the Golden Globe Sir Robin was considered to be lost, are the words “We’ll get lost until we’re found”. Let’s hope not. (He insisted he wasn’t lost as he knew exactly where he was, it was just that the communications had failed).

One last item of interest. John is sailing this week (level 1 helping the newbies) and next (level 4 on His boat). He sent me a picture of a proper BOB, not to be confused with the HOB we had in post 27. Personally I think it looks like one of the Dr Who monsters but that’s just me. Isn’t it?

A Cyberman in disguise?

Next time, for a bit of light relief from all this sailing stuff, I’ll let you know how my preparations are coming along.