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.

15. All Kinds of Everything

This is just a catch up for things I’ve alluded to previously and answering some questions I have received.

  1. John and George have not yet left. The start date is not known but will be August / September. John has lots of projects to finish and we have lots of people to see before he goes so life is pretty busy. I realise I’ve not updated this blog at all this month so far. I do now have over 100 followers, you’ll all be wondering what’s happened to me.

2. If you want to read about the actual sailing then find another blog. There are a few, type in Clipper round the world and you’ll find them. I will be giving some details once the yachts set off but it’s never going to be a “what I did on my sailing holiday” blog.

3. Post 3: I now have the newspaper on my phone so one less thing to sort. I didn’t get a tablet in the end. The jigsaw has not been touched so will be a challenge for the house / dog / cat sitters. We may have someone willing to come here, more on that when it’s confirmed. In preparation I had Greta spayed. Unfortunately she had to go back to the vet a fortnight later with a sore neck. She had CLIPPER RASH! Getting into the spirit of things.

4. Post 6: The things I called wet cards are more properly wet notes. John has not done much revising or knot tying but I suspect that may change soon. The fitness training is going well, so much so that his weight is getting very close to mine. I must stop eating or increase my exercise too.

Doing my push-ups!

5. Post 7: We are sorting out a proper safe so everything can all be in one place. The house log book has been started in that I’ve a list of headings. I realised it really is needed when the lights upstairs blew and it was a fuse box I didn’t know about in a cupboard in George’s bedroom. I am unsubscribing from stuff as it comes in.

6. Post 10: The book I could not remember is called The Fulcrum Files by Mark Chisnell. It’s set during the Second World War. The synopsis doesn’t mention sailing but it was recommended in a boating magazine so we’ll find out when we read it.

7. Post 12: I have found out that those people who have not crossed the Equator (at sea) have the charming name of pollywogs. I knew this as a dialect word for tadpoles in my youth growing up in a fishing port.


8. Post 13: A pal has mentioned two other naval superstitions that her dad (a Captain in the RN and Master Mariner) had. L for ladders, I’m not sure how many of them are on a boat but I guess if it’s a big one there may be a few. J for Jonah, an unlucky person or crew member. He also said that the Crossing the Line ceremony is to appease Neptune.

I hope I’m not a Jonah!

9. Last month we had a taste of what it will be like for John, trapped with people and no way out. When the snow came, we had four friends visiting for Thursday night. We did warn them that snow had been forecast but as we had plenty of food and a full oil tank they risked it. This is what Friday morning looked like, a lovely sunny day.

January brings the snow

It looks like the cars got out but a bit further on we realised the track out of our house was blocked. John finally managed to free us on Monday. By then our pals had walked in the other direction over two fields to be picked up and taken to the station. How did he cope with being cooped up? Well, he had the tractor out all over the weekend trying to clear the snow away! The cars were picked up a week later.

Makes our feet and fingers glow!

Next time, maybe a bit about trianing.