70. Leg 5

I’ve not mentioned much about this Leg, over 6,000 nautical miles (nm), so here’s a brief rundown to keep you up to date (possibly). Contrast this with Unicef’s Leg 3 from Cape Town to Fremantle, with the detour to Durban, of around 7,000nm and five weeks at sea (as their alternative 12 Days of Christmas has it). Yet more Christmas music! I don’t think I’ve given you the link to John’s crew diary with all the words, you can find it in the list below, number 773. If you’re feeling brave you can listen to them “singing” on arrival into Fremantle last month here

Leg 5 (also known as The Asia-Pacific Challenge) consists of three races from Airlie Beach to Zhuhai: first to Sanya (Race 6, about 4100nm or roughly 3 weeks), to Subic Bay (Race 7, a short one of 750 nm taking 4 to 5 days) and then to Zhuhai (Race 7, an even shorter one of 650nm or 3 to 4 days). They (should have) started on 18th January but were delayed (see Post 69) and and have arrival windows of 10 to 15 February for Sanya, 25 to 26 February for Subic Bay and 2 to 3 March for Zhuhai. The first race involves going through The Doldrums (see Post 48 from September). As before, they are allowed to motor for a set amount of time due to the lack of wind, here it’s no more than 36 hours and 4 degrees latitude.

The yachts have between 14 crew (GoToBermuda) and 20 crew (Qingdao and Dare To Lead) on them, with the male:female ratio being close to 50:50 on Seattle and Punta del Este. Zhuhai lost skipper Nick in Airlie Beach and now have the first female Skipper, Wendy Tuck, who won the last Race in 2017/18 and will be with them until Qingdao. This is the fourth boat of the fleet to change skipper, with Seattle, Imagine Your Korea and WTC Logistics all having replacements along the way.

All lined up for Le Mans start

There are a few more crew diaries from OBB so in no particular order here they all are from the beginning in case you missed them, first George then John.

https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/crew-diary/qingdao/206 https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/crew-diary/qingdao/381 https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/crew-diary/qingdao/545 https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/crew-diary/qingdao/637 https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/crew-diary/qingdao/776 https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/crew-diary/qingdao/955

https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/crew-diary/unicef/294 https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/crew-diary/unicef/759 https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/crew-diary/unicef/698 https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/crew-diary/unicef/773 https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/crew-diary/unicef/920

In George’s last crew diary he refers to an incident his dad had. I can reveal here that John, aged 70 and 8 months, was refused entry into a bar! He needed ID regardless of his age. The same will happen in the USA.

As you might have picked up by now, there’s not a lot going on. The delay due to the water maker spare parts not turning up was very worthwhile if you read the Skipper Reports and Crew Diaries for this race, with the heat and sweat being mentioned in almost every one. A more recent entry has been the rise of the coronavirus in China, with Clipper letting us know that the Sanya celebrations are going to be very muted this time. https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/news/article/update-regarding-coronavirus-outbreak-in-china

I feel maybe I’m under a bit of a jinx (or Jonah?). First we had the Unicef diversion, then the bush fires, the Taal volcano in the Philippines on January 12th and the virus, first reported at the end of December and spreading rapidly. Will I get to China? Read on for the next thrilling instalment. OK, maybe thrilling is too strong a word.

40. Words, words, words

By popular request, this is a round up of the acronyms you’ll see in the blog at various places. I’ve gone back to the beginning and I think I’ve found them all. To make it a bit more interesting, some photos of the Clipper fleet arrival last Thursday are interspersed. I’ll tell you more about this later in the week. (The boat as the header came in just before the fleet so I thought it worth a photo). I’ll give some useful websites for those of you new to this blog so you don’t have to trawl through the last 10 months. If you know it all you can skip this post and wait for the next.

Before I start, NO I have not been arrested, the photo in the last post was NOT a mugshot of me at the police station. Ready? Off we go…

Unicef mast just visible above the RN sign

AIS: Automatic identification system (on your life jacket). AQP: additional qualified person (like the first mate on the boats). DSC: Digital selective calling (the red button on a ship’s radio to send out a call quickly). GMDSS: Global Maritime Distress and Safety System. IRPCS: International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. JE: Japanese encephalitis.

Bridge opening at SKD to let boats in

MBB (OBB, YBB): My (our, your) Brave Boys (AKA George and John). MCA: Maritime and Coastguard Agency (or, in my working life, Medicines Control Agency). MFB: My Foolish Boys (or some such). MHz: Mega Hertz (radio frequency). MIPDANIO: nonsense word used as a mnemonic for Mayday calls. MMSI: Maritime Mobile Service Identity (like a mobile phone number identifying the radio on board). MOB (BOB, HOB): Man (body, hat) over board.

Unicef coming in

PFD: personal flotation device (life jacket or similar). RIB: rigid inflatable boat (the things you see charging around). RN: Royal Navy. ROTS: Riddle of The Sands (book written by Erskine Childers in 1903). RTW: Round the world. RYA: Royal Yacht Association.

Qingdao coming in

SKD: St Katherine’s Docks (where the fleet are leaving from and coming back to next August). SRC: short range certificate (to allow you to use a ship’s radio). STCW: Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping (see upcoming post!). TB: tuberculosis. TBE: tick-borne encephalitis. TLA: three letter acronyms (we also have four, five and eight letter ones here). TW: training week. VHF: very high frequency (radio term). WTC (Logistics): World Trade Connection (one of the sponsors of Clipper 2019/20).

That’s all the acronyms. Now to websites. The main Clipper one is https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/ and the team diaries can be found at https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/team/qingdao/team-hub and https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/team/unicef/team-hub where you’ll find the crew diary has already started. The race viewer starts on Sunday 1st September but you can see it already https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/race/standings

Clipper sailors (in no particular order) that I have found are Heather Broadbent at https://dreamitnowdoit.com/ Keith Winstanley’s “Pretty Much All At Sea” at https://keithsclipperadventure.com/ Susan Peart’s “Granny Goes Sailing” at https://susansclipperroundtheworldyachtrace.home.blog/ Mark Edmonds https://sailingadventure.home.blog/ Amicia Hopkins https://amisatlanticadventure.home.blog/ Rachael Leader https://ruleader.home.blog/ Ines Soares https://clipperchallenge.wordpress.com/ Dave Bouttell https://mangledneuron.home.blog/ Carl Forsander https://clipperdiary.blog/

Some of these have much more technical and sailing information, specifics on what it’s like being on the Clipper boats and photos from the boats. Try them and let me know if there are others I’ve yet to discover.

There are now FOUR days and 23 hours left till the off! Tomorrow (if nothing interferes), more on the fleet arriving at SKD.