71. The Best Laid Schemes

Well, I’m neither man nor mouse but my plans are ganging aft agley. I’ll be missing out on the promised joy but hope not to have the grief and pain promised in Rabbie Burns’ poem To A Mouse. I had been ambivalent about this trip across the three Chinese ports (Sanya, Zhuhai and Qingdao) with Subic Bay thrown in. As well as a seven week trip and all the preparation that entails, I would be going from temperatures of mid-30s in Subic Bay to just above zero in Qingdao. A normal trip to one zone has required two large bags, what would I need for this?

New (smaller) cabin bag

In preparation I bought a Kindle while flying home as a lot of my weight is books. The day after I arrived home I went to have my fingerprints taken at the Chinese Visa Centre. I found the phrase books I had. I bought a smaller cabin bag so I wouldn’t have to struggle so much (it fits on top of the big case without falling off everywhere). I bought some cotton dresses and trousers that were larger than I needed so that I’d feel cool in the heat of Sanya, having felt way too hot in Australia. I downloaded a VPN and the WeChat app for use in China: for the latter I needed someone who had been using it for over a month to “sponsor” me, luckily I have a Chinese pal who did this. Items that George had ordered arrived so I packed them ready to take. I bought some earrings to compliment my birthday necklace. I ordered Sealskinz socks and a Spinlock bag and Musto gloves that John had asked me to get for him. I received two birthday cards from families for crew members on other boats to take out to Sanya. An email from John and another Unicef crew member asked me to buy more socks so I did that.

Christmas present for John, yet to be seen!

My passport had not come back by the promised date (I paid extra for it to be fast-tracked) so I chased the agents. It was delayed due to Chinese New Year but would be with me the next day. They called me back the next day and said I had been issued with the wrong visa, valid for only 30 days, so I’d need to go back and have my fingerprints taken again. This was arranged for 31st January, still plenty of time before my flight on 7th February.

My birthday necklace plus earrings from London

Then on 28th January the FCO issued advice about travelling to Wuhan and the Hubei province in China. That was OK, I wasn’t going anywhere near the areas highlighted. The following day I woke to the news that BA had suspended flights to China, shortly followed by the FCO saying travel to anywhere in mainland China was not recommended. This was becoming serious. Even if we could get there, would we get out again? I spoke with Sue, who was meant to be travelling with me, and we decided to cancel the whole trip.

I have kept the hotel in Subic Bay for the moment, if the boats land there OBB may need the rooms, even if I don’t manage to get there. We don’t yet know what’s happening with the fleet, they are still on the way to Sanya. With luck by the time I do my next update I’ll be able to tell you. If they don’t go to China, Clipper need to find a port that can take eleven large (ish) yachts at short notice, when cruise ships and other shipping are also trying to divert. They need a port that has sufficient shops to allow the crews to buy enough groceries to take them to Seattle. Zhuhai (close to Hong Kong) is the end of this Leg, so there will be crew members needing to get off and go home, and other crew members wanting to join their boat. If the Hong Kong flights are cancelled then they’ll need an airport that is open and close to wherever the fleet ends up.

If only Unicef had seen this route to Durban!

Meanwhile I’m using the time to empty my in-tray, complete my to-do list and practice the piano. And the Chinese visa? Well, because my passport isn’t British, the visa wouldn’t last for two years so I’ll reapply when I need one. By then I might need to apply for one to live here as well, today is BREXIT DAY! Happy New World everyone and BYE until the next time!

64. I’m Still Waiting…

I forgot to mention finding clear plastic recycling bags in Pimlico. You’d think it would be easy in these times of Extinction Rebellion to do your bit for the planet. Not here seemingly: no local shops sell them, the council won’t send them to blocks of flats, eventually I found out I could pick them up at the library. Having found out where the local one was, I strolled in and asked at the desk. “Downstairs” I was told, so headed off and found a chap at the desk there. When asked he pointed wordlessly to a heap in a bin. It felt a bit like the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy where the plans for the bypass are hidden in the basement protected by a leopard. (I may have this slightly wrong, I’ve not read the book or listened to the excellent production on the BBC for a long time. Feel free to correct me).

I’m missing not making a Christmas cake this year (go all the way back to Post 10 for last year’s effort). Also, do they have mince pies in Australia? I’ll know by the time this goes out so a pointless question, but for the last few years we’ve had a tasting of all the commercial ones we can find. It’s not so easy when there’s only one of you as they often come in packs of six. I’ve been told that Starbucks do a good one but not yet tried it. I did try a mincemeat croissant from Paul, interesting, good mincemeat but I don’t think it’s the right combination. I did bring my Christmas tree to add a bit of festivity to my room.

I’m now in Australia and so far have not had a mince pie. I have had espresso martinis but a bit disappointing, no lovely shaking sound in the bar to make you salivate before they bring it to you. Yes, they are READY MADE out of a packet! They do have Earl Grey tea but I’ve not found this very appropriate brand (thank you Julia for the picture).

You were left checking Race Viewer to see whether Qingdao arrived before I flew out of the UK. The answer is yes they did, I was checking into my flight at Heathrow when they crossed the line. By the time I arrived in Fremantle on Monday morning, the first four had arrived (Qingdao followed by Ha Long Bay an hour later and Imagine Your Korea an hour after that, then GoToBermuda as I was flying into Perth) with WTC Logistics a few hours after I got in.

Waiting to check in

We now (Saturday 14th) have all but the last three in. Punta del Este is due on the afternoon of Thursday 19th, Unicef on Friday morning and Sanya Friday afternoon. All three are now allowed to motor in order to arrive on time (large areas of little or no wind threaten) although Punta is racing under sail to see if they can be placed in the Ocean Sprint.We should know the results of that by Monday. As these three are arriving so close to the race start, it has been decided that they will have an extra two days and leave on 24th December (yes, Christmas Eve) exactly 48 hours after the others. All will race on elapsed time so the first three into the Whitsundays may not be on the podium if these three are faster. Here we go Unicef!

So far this stop has been one of anticlimax. First I missed George coming in and now I’ll miss John leaving. Let’s hope this does not happen again. So what have I been up to, other than kicking my heels? Not a lot, in this heat. The day I arrived George popped over and had some lunch with me at my hotel, the Esplanade, a rather splendid Victorian building on the site of a former prison (this is Australia, after all). Later in the day my pal Liz who now lives in Perth came over and we had an early supper at Bathers Beach House (oddly enough, on the beach. This is Australia, after all).

My sleeping pattern is thrown at the moment. I am waking up around 3-4 am local time, mid evening UK time. I can only guess it’s because my body thinks it’s time for supper. (Shades of being a dog owner here?). The Code 3 (sail) for Qingdao is severely damaged and due to the heat they have been starting work on it at 5 am. Despite my new sleeping pattern I’ve not been able to get there before 9.30 but I have spent two days trying to help, cutting out sticky tape to hold it together before it’s stitched.

Sail repairs

The Fremantle Sailing Club, where the yachts are berthed, is about 20 minutes’ walk from my hotel but not a walk I fancy in this heat. Instead, there’s a free bus on a circular route, every ten minutes, which I’ve been catching. On the first day I managed to lose my Musto cap and it’s not turned up in lost property. Cheryl bought me a lovely Perth cap which is almost as good. We shared a steak sandwich at the sailing club to celebrate the hat replacement: it was so big we still couldn’t eat it all. After that we walked it off by going to see the boats. Due to their draft (draught?) we’ve been told they cannot moor close to the sailing club, so it’s a good 15 minute walk through the boat yard (easy to get lost amongst all the boats), ironically towards the hotel. Unfortunately there’s a big fence in the way so we can’t take a short cut.

On Wednesday night we went for a sail at the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club with one of the Clipper crew who lives in Perth and is joining Unicef to head off to the Whitsundays on (now) 24th December. What we were not told was that Wednesday is traditionally “Twilighting” when they race against other boats in the club. It’s not serious racing like Clipper, we had alcohol on board, but it was pretty cramped with (I think) 19 of us crammed in. I didn’t see much as I was down in the bilges! Later in the week we found out that we’d won so here we go Unicef!

At the risk of tempting fate I went to the Shipwreck Museum one afternoon. It’s air conditioned, a definite plus here. It was mostly about the early shipwrecks in the 1600s when the Dutch East India Company was seeing if there were any natural resources to exploit. After that I strolled along to Joe’s Fish Shack then Bathers, as one of the Qingdao crew had a birthday.

The following day I abandoned Qingdao in favour of Unicef. You’ll remember the Christmas stuff stuffed in my case? Well a crowd of us supporters got together, pretending to be Santa’s elves, to make up Christmas stockings for the crew. There are a number of things they need for the boat so we bought these and made up “Secret Santa” presents for everyone. They may be disappointed when they realise they’ve been given such things as measuring jugs and scissors.

Santa stockings!

In other worlds, I am VERY disappointed that Labour did not get in, I was promised my missing four years of pension by Jeremy Corbyn. How am I expected to fund this year long jaunt? The British public just did not think of me, did they?

Well, must stop now and go and get some sun and Vitamin D. Prize giving is later today at the sailing club, Qingdao getting the gold pennant again. I’m running out of space on George’s wall.

52. Race 2 Results

I’ll keep you in suspense a little longer. What do you mean, you’ve already looked at the Clipper website and know the results? I’ll show you photos not on the website then.

Stuart Skelton singing at The Opera Awards dinner

I left you with Sanya in Stealth Mode trying to pull ahead of Qingdao. I’m sorry to have to tell you that it didn’t work and Qingdao went into the lead. Yes, you’re right, these are crocodile tears. I’m not at all sorry, but the lead between the two kept changing as the winds veered around. Then four others went into Stealth: Seattle, WTC Logistics, Dare to Lead and Zhuhai. Meanwhile, there’s another Crew Diary from George, if you’ve not seen that on the website. https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/crew-diary/qingdao/381

Qingdao in sight!

Whilst all this jiggery-pokery was going on at sea I had a busy couple of days after the weekend, before trying to pack my case for Uruguay. I went to the Opera Awards Gala Dinner at the Great Hall, Lincoln’s Inn. Such an impressive venue. Stuart Skelton was the host for the evening and there was some wonderful singing from recipients of Opera Award bursaries. There was an auction of various opera-related events but as John was not with me I was able to resist bidding for anything. Over the years that we’ve been supporting the Opera Awards we’ve met some new friends, and now that I’m in London I had lunch with one at Lorne near Victoria. A good place to meet and a good lunch. I’m turning into a lady-wot-lunches! I did walk there and back so some exercise before my long flights.

Part of the Great Hall

When it came to the packing, in addition to all the items John had requested I bring (not just shore clothes and his shoes, which weigh a ton, but new stuff too for on the boat), I was asked to bring out other supplies for other crew members.

Over the finish line!

I only had half a case to myself and didn’t want two big cases so I deployed my Clipper bag (see Post 5 from November 16th 2018) for books and squashable items that wouldn’t leak. Even that proved too small so into action came my trusty Musto sailing bag from 2012. Perfect. I’m glad I claimed it back from John as he used it for his training weeks (without asking first!). The extra sleeping bag layer will have its own case to Cape Town.

Taking sails down and putting battle sail up

I had to find a little corner for my clothes. As the weather forecast for Punta del Este was variable (predicted day time temperatures between 23C and 13C, night times 16C to 8C) it was a case of layers. There was also a risk of showers so I needed a raincoat. Then, when I thought I was ready and had zipped up the bags, I realised I’d not put my make-up in. Not something you can risk taking in hand luggage, that mascara can be very dangerous in the wrong hands! Open the cases up again and move things around to make a little more space.

In port

When I checked the forecast I saw that on October 9th there was a waxing gibbous moon. Nothing to do with monkeys’ ears, it means the moon is going towards full (as opposed to a waning moon going towards new) and that it’s more than a semi-circle, less than the full circle, which it will be when full on October 14th. Don’t say this blog isn’t educational!

A welcome beer for George and Donna

Back to the race. Most of the way it was Sanya and Qingdao swapping first and second places, I’m overjoyed to tell you that Qingdao came first, crossing the line in Punta del Este on Friday 11th October at 15:35:46 UTC. Sanya were second almost five hours later, coming in at 20:10:55. Both finished the day before the official arrival window started so I’m glad I travelled a day before I thought I needed to. We then had to wait until Sunday for the rest: Ha Long Bay at 1 pm, Dare to Lead at 3, Unicef fifth at 17.51 quickly followed by Zhuhai, Seattle and then WTC at 19.24. Punta came in just after eleven and the last two were GoToBermuda just before 5 am Monday and Imagine Your Korea just after 6am. I only watched my two boats come in.

Unicef in sight

To the points for this race: Qingdao 11 for first, doubled to 22 as they played their Joker plus 2 for the Scoring Gate = 24. Visit Sanya 10 plus 3 for the Scoring Gate and 1 for the Ocean Sprint =14. Ha Long Bay 9 +1 +2 = 12. Dare to Lead 8. Unicef 7 (one better than the last race). Zhuhai 6, Seattle 5, WTC Logistics 4, Punta del Este 3 doubled to 6 plus 3 for the Scoring Gate, GoToBermuda 2 and Imagine Your Korea 1.

Coming into dock

For the Race so far I calculate: Qingdao 36 points, Sanya and Punta 23 each, Ha Long Bay and Dare to Lead 18 each, Zhuhai 16, Unicef 13, Seattle 7, Korea 6 and WTC and Bermuda both on 5. If I’ve miscalculated then the Clipper website will be updated soon and I’ll correct any I need to.

Spot John!

42. Party like it’s 1539

I think there will be (at least) two posts in the next 24 hours, or maybe one very long one. I can’t start on the race before telling you about the week before. You may surmise from the title of this post that it was busy. John and I returned from our first aid course (details in a future blog?) on Bank Holiday Monday 26th. From then on, he was reporting to his boat Unicef every day but returning back at night. George was mostly on the Qingdao boat but we saw him occasionally. On Wednesday all crew had to go and register and hand over their passports (no changing your minds!) and I too had an exciting event, my Yamaha electric piano was delivered. I’ve not had a real chance to take up my lessons but I’m hoping this week things will calm down.

That evening was the Qingdao party to which their supporters were invited so of course I went along. George (as social secretary) had organised it at the Medieval Banquet in SKD. You have to get into the spirit of these things and our party of 31 certainly did that, including Skipper Chris.

More of our party

The next day John’s brother and mother arrived for a few days to see OBB off and that afternoon John’s two daughters and some of their offspring came over. A lot of energy was expended and presents exchanged: I have a lovely Pandora bracelet with a globe and J on it, with plans to add relevant charms as I go around the world so I have a permanent reminder. OBB were given St Christopher medals to keep them safe: they’ll not wear them due to the risk of getting caught up in the rigging so they will be stored in the bags. They were also given waterproof monoculars with a range finder and compass to help them on their voyages. And finally I was able to hand over some of the hats!

George and the 3 F’s

This is the unique range of two-tone beanies as they weren’t sure whether to support Grandad or Uncle George. They have already been spotted and recognised around the fanzone (now dismantled for Portimao) and were interviewed on the Spectator Boat on 1st September. Fame at such a young age! The Qingdao team have really taken the beanies to heart, and many of them are unique as Rhiannon (the AQP) commissioned them from her grandmother, who is much more inventive than me. I’m hoping to get a team picture of them all.

Friday was the official Clipper party and John’s other son joined us there, so we’ve had the whole family come to see us. This was a drinks party for all crew and supporters, the loud band made chatting difficult but we did manage to make a lot of new friends that we’ll be seeing over the next year. Some people got into the swing of this too, I’m only sorry that Steve below was not assigned to GoToBermuda (not Go Bermuda as I’ve been saying, sorry) as he seems dressed appropriately.

Flamingo Pink shorts suit

Saturday morning we had our own personal Supporters party, a more sober affair, at the Moretown Belle just behind SKD. Ruth (Charles) gave us some information about the start day: the order in which they’d be leaving SKD (Punte del Este then Qingdao with Unicef last). If we were on a spectator boat we had to make sure we were the correct side of the bridge or we’d miss them. Southend Pier would be a great place to see the actual race start as that would be the start line. The Musto supporters kit should be available soon (but they’ve missed a great opportunity, so many people wanted to support their team at SKD that unofficial kits were made available by team members on most of the boats. George bought me a Qingdao tee-shirt which I’m sure will appear sometime soon in the blog).

Then Saturday night John’s son came over for supper to see his gran and we didn’t get to bed till midnight. I found out later that one of our visitors has left a fetching pink baseball hat: if it’s not reclaimed it may go around the different ports and feature in future blog posts. You’ll notice that I found time to get my hair cut as well, in SKD as I was wandering around. The lass who cut my hair lives five minutes from our flat so I could have asked her to do it on her way to work and saved myself a journey!

Sunday 1st September and the start of the journey: that’s the next blog post.

34. A Dedicated Follower of Fashion

“Oh no I’m not!” I had a (junior) school jumper that I wore until I was in my 30’s if you need an example. After the last post with the picture of me in a bikini you know this heading may be somewhat of an exaggeration. I promise no more of those (unless of course I’m sunning myself somewhere exotic in the next year…). The picture used for this header is scary enough. Actually, George is still getting rid of clothes he wore to school so maybe it’s an inheritable condition. If you want to see a real follower of fashion, then maybe a blog post sometime later will be of John’s shirts (I’m not sure fashionable is the word I should be using, but you cannot unforget them once you’ve seen them!). Of course for the next year they will be in Musto gear with no thinking involved.

John on Level 4 in a “swimmer suit” for MOB rescues

So how am I getting on with my planning? You saw the suitcase I’ll be taking along, in Post 30 last month. Not a lot of room for up to one month’s clothing and other supplies. My secret weapon is Natasha Musson, my “wardrobe consultant and stylist”. So if I’m not stylish blame her. (Well maybe not, it depends if I wear what she tells me to). If you want to look her up here’s her website: http://www.natashamusson.co.uk/

What you get after a consultation is a little book full of photos for each event, day or whatever so you do not pack more than you need.

The Magic Organiser Book
Inside The Book

In the Sunday Times a few weeks ago there was an article about packing for who you want to be, rather than who you are. In my mind I’m Audrey Hepburn, in my body I’m one of those Beryl Cook ladies: https://www.berylcookprints.co.uk/beryl-cook-shop/

Natasha came along a few weeks ago and we went though my wardrobe with Uruguay and Cape Town in mind. I’ve booked my flights and hotels for these stops. The good news is that these two places will be relatively warm when I’m there (October and November). I said I don’t need anything ultra smart, just tee-shirts and shorts. Natasha wasn’t having any of this, she said I’d want to get changed and feel different in the evenings. Once we’d gone through all the clothes and thrown out the ones with holes, stains etc. we made a list of what was missing (tee-shirts, smarter shorts and trousers) then headed off to Bath for a shopping spree. The other great thing is that Natasha knows where to go so you (a) don’t spend time trawling all the shops and (b) only buy what you need (mostly). Those of you who know me will know how much I hate shopping. Here’s one of my new outfits to look out for:

Neither Qingdao nor Unicef colours, oops!

The other great thing we bought were packing cubes. I’d not come across them but George has so maybe you have too. They enable you to squash, no sorry, carefully pack items of clothing into separate small containers (mesh on one side so you can see what’s inside) then pack these into your case. They work!

As I’m on fashion, I may as well give a plug to another Unicef CV31 supporter. Melinda Scarborough also has a husband on the boat. She is an accomplished silversmith and is making beautiful hallmarked pendants and earrings of the Clipper yacht, with a contribution to Unicef for each sale. I have to confess that I’ve bought one for each of the girls in our family, including me!

Medium Silver Clipper

This is from Lindy’s Facebook entry: There will be two sizes of necklace: Large (a statement piece!) with 28 inch chain at £139 and a medium size with 18 inch chain at £89 and earrings at £39. Plus p&p at cost. 20% of each sale will go to the Unicef fund. These will be hallmarked at the London Assay Office which is 2 miles from the start of the race. If you are interested in having one made for you or would like more information please email me at mel@msj.org.uk

Look out for us wearing them at St Katherine’s Dock. I’m sure you’ve all fallen asleep by now with me wittering on about items with very little direct Clipper involvement. Next time I hope to get onto our VHF course, so that will be a complete contrast.

And, just in case you thought I’d forgotten about the HATS, here’s George modelling one. Looking at this photo, my outfit above does at least reflect the Musto colour of the foulies. Not necessarily the image I was thinking of!

Spot the beanie!

33a. It’s A Small Small World (6)

Last Saturday John and I were on a VHF course (details to follow but don’t hold your breath, it may be a few days). There were another five attendees who were nothing to do with Clipper, all on the course because they either had boats or wanted to buy one. We were chatting about why we were doing the course, Clipper and which boats MBB were on: one of the guys said “Oh, Qingdao, my friend Donna is on that one, going round the world, don’t know if you know her?”. Well, I think the WHOLE WORLD knows her! If you go onto the Clipper website and look in the gallery you’ll see her modelling the Musto clothing, getting wet and making tea: https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/news/view-gallery/musto-technical-clothing-partner-launch

Then, that evening, after a stroll around Hamble and a pint in The Bugle, we ended up in La Dolce Vita, an Italian restaurant (what else could it be?) for a meal. As we were sitting there a couple walked in and John said “I know them, remind me who they are”. I looked round and saw Harry and Anna, sailing friends of George who had been staying at our house (with another eighteen or so) the weekend before for George’s farewell bash! Had it been a week earlier we would not have known each other. They had been racing J class boats (single masted racing yachts) and came third. Harry is a very useful chap to know, he and his cousins make Pig Beer in Brockenhurst. https://www.pigbeer.com/

Good stuff, he brought supplies to George’s party and we all enjoyed a bottle or two whilst watching the cricket, tennis or F1 from Silverstone. If you’re anywhere near Brockenhurst next week you could go to the New Forest & Hampshire County Show and try it for yourself.

Harry and Anna

26. The Self-Preservation Society (SPS)

Otherwise known as us supporters. To continue from yesterday, after lunch we were on our own with no racers. Ruth Charles is the Clipper supporters coordinator. She went around the world in the 2015-16 race so she knows what the crew are facing and how her supporters coped. This is only the second time we’ve had an official “role”, and we are (so far) over 2,000 so we outnumber the crew, not quite three to one but possibly by the start of the race? If you want to sign up as a supporter, here’s the link. You should then receive “daily” updates (see previous post). https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/race/crew-supporters

The header photo is from the Clipper Facebook page, the first photo in this blog that is not mine. I’m not sure how to properly acknowledge copyright (ironic, as I’m a Lay Member of the Copyright Tribunal) so if anyone needs to correct me please do. As I didn’t take any photos on the afternoon, the ones lightening the text here are all from last year.

2018 Qingdao crew

Ruth will be at each stopover (as will I unless things go drastically wrong) and so she is our best contact. There is a (private) Facebook page for supporters of the 2019-20 race as well as the open stuff. There is information for Junior Supporters, mainly for the 5-12 age group although others may find it of interest. Each Junior Supporter will be linked to a crew member and will receive home-based activities to reflect what their crew member is up to (such as crossing the Equator). Often a class will plot the journeys on a map, so we could have whole schools following and supporting a team. The youngsters in our family are going to have to decide whether to support Uncle George or Grandad! Here’s the link for the Juniors. https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/race/junior-crew-supporters

At each stopover there will be drop-in sessions so none of us need to feel alone whilst waiting. We’ve got the Race Viewer which although not live is worth visiting for the last race details. Qingdao came third and Unicef sixth, so MBB have something to beat as well as each other. https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/race/standings

2018 Unicef team

During the race as the boats come in and / or when they leave each port there will be live streaming on Facebook Live ( http://www.facebook.com/clipperracelive I think). I’ve just looked at it but I guess there’s nothing to show yet. For the last few days as the boats are approaching harbour there will be live ETAs for their arrival. We’ll also be informed of other supporters at each stopover.

If you want to communicate with the crew, letters and parcels can be sent and the stopover information will give the address to send stuff to. Alternatively I will be going to each port and will possibly have space in my case, although I may be going from one stop to another without returning to the UK. More on that when I’ve done my research. What you could do is email me and I’ll pull them all together to give MBB a heap of them at each port. The official emails are not able to handle pictures, emojis or the like. We’re not allowed / supposed to give other information on other boats so I’m going to have fun biting my lip and maintaining a Chinese Wall (ha ha!).

We then had a Q&A session with supporters of crew members from earlier races. Of particular interest to me was Nicky, whose husband Mike is the AQP on Unicef this year (he was a RTW’er crew last time). We were told not to expect to hear anything whilst they are at sea. Any contact is a bonus.

Socialise with as many supporters as possible, not just your own boat, and help out at the ports wherever possible. As an example, “Seattle” was a week late into one port, so all their victualling had been sorted to save time for them. They may arrive at any time of the day or night so some spare cash, food (not tinned rations!) and somewhere to shower or sleep will be appreciated.

Coming into Liverpool

We were advised to start / join a WhatsApp group for the team supporters and get involved in fund raising. I’m already in the Unicef supporters group and I’ve started knitting team colour hats so we can be spotted on the docks. If at home, organise a “stopover” party for others so you all still feel involved.

At the ports, Clipper supporters do not receive any special treatment, we are part of the normal crowd. However, Clipper staff are also part of the crowd and usually this is where the best views are to be found. If there is capacity then supporters will be invited to the prize-givings and parties. We the SPS have our own parties anyway!

Then the exciting news that Musto have developed a Supporters Kit for the first time ever, in the team colours! It’s not yet live so I can’t share the link. I’ll need a seamstress who can take apart two kits and get me a jester’s outfit of half Unicef (pale blue) / half Qingdao (red and gold). Hmmm.

Look at those winning pennants!

Next time, what we did on our holiday (last week immediately after Crew Allocation Day). I think.