38. And now it begins…

Today the fleet have set off from Gosport to sail to St Katherine’s Dock. The header shows most of them lined up last night. After a photoshoot they started sailing about 4 o’clock. They’ll be heading to Southend then parade up the Thames on Thursday 22nd with CV31 (Unicef) in the lead. I’m sure they’ll be hoping this is indicative of the future race! There are some great photos on the Clipper website, see photo 60 for someone you’ll recognise!


MBB came back Friday night after their prep week and we went out for a meal to a wonderful old restaurant, Grumbles, which has been in existence since 1964. George then headed off to spend the weekend with younger people and we (still) tried to complete all the paperwork that seems to appear when you go away for a year. On Sunday we headed off to St Katherine’s Dock (SKD) to work out where the spectator boats will go from and where to try and meet up with everyone. There are about 36 of us supporting our two boats, ranging from Felix, John’s youngest grandchild, to Nancy, John’s mam, with an age range of nnn years (daren’t say, I may be told off). This is the sort of boat we’ll be on to see them off. Not QUITE as exciting as the Clipper yachts!

BUT, I hear you ask, what about the landlubber? What’s going on there? Well, dear reader, I have not spent all my time knitting beanies (although some days it does feel like it). I have also been planning my trips. There are a few aspects to this, the flights and the hotels and The Companions. I had initially thought that I’d be like Dr Who and have A Companion for each stop. Very egocentric of me, like when John’s kids were small and couldn’t understand why the chocolate cake they’d started last week had all gone in their absence. However, life goes on for other people so I’ll be an unacompanied senior at some ports.

An old(ie) photo!

I have found out in the meantime that the Supporters Club is very strong. I now have five social media groups, three on Facebook and two on WhatsApp. I don’t know how people cope with these but I’m getting there. There’s a lot of excitement and planning going on with the supporters, especially those who have either only one port to visit or conversely who have Circumnavigators to follow. So, even if I don’t have my own personal pal along with me, there will be lots of Clipper folk. I’ll give more information for each stop at the right time, I don’t want to spoil the anticipation yet. I can say I’ve booked all the way from Portimao to Australia, next on the list is China.

I’ll be coming back between ports for two or three weeks, so I’ll be able to catch my breath. Meanwhile, missing my Penguin books, I have found a new collection to start. There are only 30 or so to collect so they should fit in the flat once I’ve put up a book shelf (shh, don’t tell John).

The Mariners Library

I bought these two for John and George and told John to pick which one he wanted. I hadn’t realised they were inscribed, and that they would be so apt for each of them.

For the Experienced Man!
From his parents!

That’s all for today, I’ll be back later in the week when there’s more to report. As I finish this there are 11 days and 21 hours to the off.