Post 139. Race 12 Start to Finish

Today’s blog post is brought to you courtesy of EE, who have mended their mast and thus allowed me to use the internet and my mobile phone. How long it will last this time I don’t know but let’s be positive and say that’s finally ironed out all the problems.

Two comments / corrections for Post 138. First, the Marina in Panama is Flamenco not Flamingo. Close, eight letter word beginning with F and ending in o. My cryptic crossword brain at work. Second, a comment from one of my readers and a very long-standing friend: ‘you mentioned Perry Como. Never mind turning into your mother, you loved him yourself when you were little! His hit ‘Magic Moments’ was a favourite but you couldn’t say ‘magic’. To you it was always ‘masric’. Whenever we hear that song, we immediately think of you. Nice memory’.

All together now, Masric (sorry, magic) Moments, when two hearts are caring…Today’s Header is the rose that I was given in memory of Guy (see Posts 103/4 dated August / September 2020).

I had intended this Post to be all about them setting off. Ha! They are almost at the end of Race 12, with some already in harbour. I’ve had to rewrite most of this as being only of historic interest. Here they are close to the start. I regret Unicef did not remain in second position.

The boats are arriving two days after the initial estimate (but, at least, within the predicted window of 11th to 13th June) and will depart on Sunday 19th, with less than a week to recover. And this is something you pay to do? A crew diary I’ve just read refers to it as the world’s most expensive weight loss programme.

The title of Post 98 (Woah! I’m not going to Bermuda, 8th July 2020) proved prophetic. I’m actually glad I didn’t go, in the end. The covid test requirements were complicated and I would have ended up having to do two, one for Bermuda and one a few hours later for the USA due to a 4 hour lay-over in Miami Airport. Typically (see Post 132 dated 17th February) the USA dropped the covid requirement the day after I would have left. Magic Moments, memories we’ve been sharing…

Webcam photos of Panama Canal passage © 2022 Panama Canal Authority

I had planned to fly out and enjoy the beaches in Bermuda, so bought myself some very loud (colourful is a kinder word?) trousers. I’m not really sure they fit into Somerset life but they’re getting outings, most recently to a book auction run on behalf of Save the Children for children in Ukraine. They were not conventional books but little pamphlets really, drawn or written by famous people. One lot was by our esteemed prime minister Boris Johnson, about his dog Dilyn. I can’t tell you the plot as I didn’t bid for it. I think it was the lot that raised the most money, either he has admirers here or they think it will be valuable in the future. I won a little book about her cats by Anne Widdecombe.

A4 auction lots to show size of book

I bought chicken Kiev from a supermarket to show solidarity with Ukraine (the fact the items were reduced could also have been a consideration). When I ate them, I discovered that the supermarket didn’t know its recipes. Chicken Kiev is stuffed with garlic butter. This was chicken Gordon Blue, as Bristow used to refer to it. That is, chicken breast stuffed with cheese and ham. Possibly you’ve not come across this cartoon strip, I used to read it in the London Evening Standard when I worked in the East End in the 1970’s. Oddly, now that I think about it, for a shipping container company. Just can’t get away from these links! As the cartoons reflect office work as it was then, you youngsters might not recognise the humour. Let me know.

A milestone has been reached: the jigsaw is finished! I started it so long ago the edges have faded. Are you a framer or a breaker up? I get great satisfaction from destroying in seconds something that took months to complete. My next one is of out-of-focus coffee beans. I am beginning to think I have evil friends as these are presents. Either that or they want to keep me quiet and out of the way.

I didn’t realise it but I became a Gongoozler recently: an idle or inquisitive person, particularly watching things happen on canals! I hope some of you managed to look at the Panama Canal locks. I’ve given you a taste with a couple of blurred photos off the Panama Canal live cam. You can spot Unicef.

The official start to Race 12 was on Saturday 4th June and happily, Qingdao was able to join the rest of the fleet. They had no break in Panama, going through the canal on 2nd June after arriving on 1st June. It was a Le Mans start, where they all line up with crew at the back of the boat. At the signal given by the middle boat (Unicef in this case), crew rush to their posts and set the sails. For the first ten minutes they all have to travel in the same direction, then they can make decisions based on what they think the weather conditions are going to be.

As I type, the podium positions are known: Sanya finished in first position, GTB second (playing their Joker) and WTC third (also with their Joker). We don’t yet know who was placed in the Ocean Sprint so I’ll do a short Post later in the week (EE permitting) with the full results. PdE fourth and Unicef fifth, Zhuhai sixth and Qingdao seventh. The remainder are still 50 nautical miles or more away.

Webcam photos of Panama Canal passage © 2022 Panama Canal Authority

One connection with Bermuda I was going to share (well, OK, I still am) is the meaning of the Real McCoy, which sort of ties in with Bermudian rum. It relates to the era of Prohibition and bootleggers, people who smuggled liquor into the US. The most famous rum-rummer was apparently Bill McCoy, who never diluted or adulterated the rum he smuggled. I’m sure the Clipper fleet will be drinking lots of it this week, especially Dark’n’Stormy cocktails. As I don’t like ginger beer, I’ll not feel like I’m missing out.

I mentioned Lisa Blair in Post 138, I’m pleased to tell you she set a new record.

In other sailing news, the 2022 Atlantic Cup race, along the Western Atlantic coast of the USA, was cancelled due to low entries due to covid restrictions. As it’s held every two years, they’ll now have to wait until 2024 for the next race. By then I hope I’m not mentioning anything to do with boats or sailing in this blog as Clipper seems to have ruled my life since 2018.

I have received my first Cocktail Challenge! (See Post 137 dated May 24th). June 1st was Andy’s birthday. Any other Andys reading this, feel free to try it. (If you are known as Andrew then you’ll have to wait). A: lots of choice, Aperol, Apricot Brandy, Absinthe, Aquavit, Advocaat, Ale. N: hmm, not so easy. Noisette, Napoleon Brandy, Normandy cider, Noilly Prat (vermouth). D: Drambuie, Dom Perignon. Y: Yellow chartreuse, yuzu, yoghurt. Some of these I have and some not. Some I would never use in a cocktail. I don’t really approve of using trade names but needs must. I tried two variants of my ANDY cocktail. The first was with Aquavit, Noilly Prat, a local English fizz called Dunleavy and Yellow Chartreuse. The second had a dash (or so) of apricot brandy added. Not bad, go and mix the proportions to your taste. I need to buy more exotic ingredients if I get any more challenges. Who is having a birthday next?

ANDY ingredients

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