19. Half A Dozen More ………. Famous and Infamous Bearded Sailors


Captain Archibald Haddock is a seafaring, pipe-smoking, short tempered, Merchant Marine Captain of coarse humanity, sarcastic wit and best friend to Tintin in The Adventures of Tintin by Belgian cartoonist Herge. A somewhat Captain_Haddockalcoholic character with a love of rum and Loch Lomond whisky, he is descended from the pirate Sir Francis Haddock, whose treasure he finally recovers and with his newfound wealth he regains his ancestral home Marlinspike Hall. In The Shooting Star he is appointed President of the Society of Sober Sailors (No, I’ve never heard of it either!). Haddock remained without a first name until the last completed story (Tintin and The Picaros – 1976) when the name Archibald first appears.  In the same book, Professor Calculus ‘cures’ him of his taste for alcohol. What a horrible way to end – told you it was only a cartoon!!

Ferdinand Magellan (c.1480 – 27 April 1521) was a Portuguese navigator and explorer who organised the Spanish expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522 resulting inthFJPM6YO2 the first circumnavigation of the Earth. The expedition was completed by Juan Sebastian Elcano, who few people have ever heard of, as Magellan was killed in the Philippines in April 1521. The 373 mile long passage from the South Atlantic to the Pacific originally called (by Magellan) All Saints Channel because the fleet travelled through it on 1st November or All Saints Day, is now called the Strait of Magellan. His navigational skills have also been acknowledged in the naming of celestial objects: the Magellanic Clouds – now known to be two nearby dwarf galaxies; twin lunar craters of Magelhaens and Magelhaens A; and the Martian crater of Magelhaens. Of the 5 ships and 237 men who set out with Magellan only one ship, the Victoria – the smallest carrack in the fleet – and 18 men completed the first circumnavigation.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark 10 June 1921) is the husband and consort of Queen Elizabeth II and a former Royal Navy Officer – and for a time a bearded one at that! Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy in 1939, PrincePhilippassing-out from Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth the following year. His wartime service included the battleship HMS RAMILIES, protecting convoys of the Australian Expeditionary Force in the Indian Ocean, the cruisers HMS KENT and HMS SHROPSHIRE and the battleship HMS VALIANT in the Mediterranean Fleet. He saw action during the Battle of Crete and at the Battle of Cape Matapan, winning a Mention In Dispatches during the latter action in control of VALIANT’s searchlights during the point-blank battleship night engagement with elements of the Italian Fleet. He was First Lieutenant of the destroyer HMS WALLACE in convoy escort tasks on the east coast of Britain and for the invasion of Sicily. In 1944 he was appointed to the new destroyer HMS WHELP where he saw service with the British Pacific Fleet and he was present in Tokyo Bay when the instrument of Japanese surrender was signed on 2nd September 1945, the Japanese having surrendered on 15th August. After his marriage in 1947 his naval service included tours in the Admiralty, Malta, as First Lieutenant of the destroyer HMS CHEQUERS and command of the frigate HMS MAGPIE (1950-1951).

Captain Jack Sparrow is a fictional pirate character in the Pirates of the Caribbean filmCaptJackSparrow series who first appeared in the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and four sequels. Sparrow is one of the nine pirate lords of the Brethren Court, the Pirate Lords of the Seven Seas. He can be treacherous and survives mostly by using wit and negotiation rather than by force, opting to flee most dangerous situations and to fight only when necessary. He is shrewd, calculating and eccentric. Sparrow claims his “first and only love is the sea.”

Jacques Cartier (31 December 1491 – 1 September 1557) was a French (Breton) explorer who claimed what is now Canada for France. Born in Saint-Malo on the north west coast of Brittany, he was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River. His first voyage in April 1534 sailed under a commission from the French King Francis I to discover a western passage to the wealthy JacquesCartiermarkets of Asia. His first crossing of the Atlantic took only 20 days and between May and August of 1534 he explored parts of Newfoundland, returning to France in September of that year convinced he had reached an Asian land. His second voyage (1535 – 1536) explored what is now the Saint Lawrence River reaching Hochelaga (now Montreal) on 2 October 1535. From mid November 1535 to mid-April 1536 his three ships lay frozen solid at the mouth of the St Charles River, under the Rock of Quebec. The ice was over a fathom (6 feet) thick, with snow four feet thick ashore. The expedition made it back to France in July 1536. He undertook his third and final voyage between 1541 and 1542 and this time any thoughts of finding a passage to Asia were long gone. The aim was to find the riches of Canada and to establish a permanent settlement along the St Lawrence River. On this trip Cartier’s men began collecting what they believed to be diamonds and gold, but which upon return to France turned out to be quartz crystals and iron pyrites, giving rise to a French expression: “faux comme les diamants du Canada” (“As false as Canadian diamonds.”). Cartier was one of the first to formally acknowledge that the New World was a separate land mass from Asia.

Captain Ahab, “a brilliant personification of the very essence of fanaticism”, is the main protagonist in Herman Melville’s book Moby-Dick, first published in 1851. The monomaniacal captain of the whaling ship Pequod, on an earlier whaling trip, Ahab hadCaptain Ahab a leg bitten off by the white whale Moby Dick, leaving him with a false leg made out of whalebone. Ahab is 58 years old at the time of Pequod’s last voyage. Instead of embarking on a regular whaling voyage, Ahab declares that he is out for revenge and nails a doubloon to the main mast by way of reward for the crewman who first sights the great white whale. When Moby Dick is eventually sighted, a disastrous three-day chase begins. Ahab’s hatred robs him of all caution and finally, entangled by the line of his own harpoon, Ahab is dragged beneath the waves and drowns as Moby Dick dives and takes the still cursing Ahab with him.




18. First 2019-2020 stopover announced ……. Zhuhai ………. yes I had to look it up too.


Shortly after the last edition of the Race finished in Liverpool, Clipper Ventures have announced the first of the 2019-2020 stopover ports  – Zhuhai in China, with the ‘Islands and Sailing City’ of Zhuhai and Zhuhai Jiuzhou Holdings Ltd signing a multi-million pound three edition deal that will see them feature in the 2019-2020, 2021-2022 and 2023-2024 editions.

Zhuhai Jiuzhou Holdings already has extensive experience in hosting major sailing events, including the 2016 and 2017 China National Sailing Regatta, as well as its own ‘Jiuzho Cup.’ Zhuhai also has one of the largest yacht-build bases in China and it joins Sanya, in the south, and Qingdao, in the north, as Chinese Host Port Partners. The city, with a population of over 1.5 million, is on the southern coast of Guangdong province in the Pearl River Delta. As a stopover port it is likely to feature in Leg 5 and therefore not in my race, as I anticipate (based on the 2017-2018 edition) joining the start of Leg 6 (The Mighty North Pacific) in Qingdao in northern China. In the meantime ………… if you know where Hong Kong is, then go South and West to Macau and then up a bit ……….. Zhuhai……….. and if you want to know more check out     http://www.cityofzhuhai.com       and also take a look at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge as China seeks to develop the $20 billion ‘umbilical cord’ linking Zhuhai, Macao and Hong Kong and develops the China Greater Bay Area to rival Tokyo Bay and San Francisco Bay.zhuhai-travel-guide-bg



Meanwhile, back in Portsmouth ……………


16. Size Is Not Important(2)………………



60ft long, 68ft long, 70ft long …………… size really isn’t important.

The Magellan-Elcano voyage (1519-1521) was the first world circumnavigation (Magellan did not complete the circumnavigation and was killed in April 1521) and the ‘flagship’ Victoria was approximately………………… 69 ft long.

A replica of the Victoria built in 1992 visiting Nagoya, Japan in 2005

Francis Drake’s flagship for the 1577-1580 circumnavigation, the Golden Hind (originally called Pelican but renamed mid voyage in 1578) was …………. 102 ft long.

A replica of the Golden Hind in Brixham, England

in 1967 Francis Chichester became the first person to sail single handed around the world (one stop) in a circumnavigation that took 9 months and 1 day. His yacht, Gypsy Moth IV was ……………… 53 ft long.

PPL PHOTO AGENCY – COPYRIGHT FREE ‘Gipsy Moth IV’ restored. Web: http://www.pplmedia.com

In 1971 Chay Blyth completed the first westward single handed non-stop circumnavigation in his yacht British Steel. Chay Byth’s yacht was ……………. 59 ft long.BritishSteelonRiverDart

In 1989 Tracey Edwards skippered the first all female crew in the Whitbread Round The World Yacht Race, becoming the first woman to receive the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy and was awarded an MBE (she and I picked up our MBEs on the same day!) Her yacht, Maiden, was …………. 58 ft long.


In February 2005 Ellen MacArthur broke the record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe – 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds – in the trimaran B&Q/Castormania. MacArthur’s trimaran was ………….. 75 ft long.

Robin Knox-Johnson became the first person to sail single handed non-stop around the globe in 1969. His yacht, Suhaili, was ………………. 32 ft long.

RKJ and Ton
Suhaili being greeted by the Ton class minesweeper HMS BOULSTON. I commanded her sister ship HMS UPTON……. oh and ‘Tons’ were 152ft long!

On 17th May 2018 the Polish sailor Szymon Kuczynski completed a circumnavigation in 270 days, 10 hours, 29 minutes in his yacht Atlantic Puffin. Atlantic Puffin is the smallest yacht to circumnavigate the globe and is ……………………… 20 ft 10 inches long!Szymon-Kuczynski-599x400

So size is quite definitely NOT important!






15. Size Is Not Important ………..

On 28th July I partied with fellow crew members of the 2019-2020 Clipper race in Liverpool to celebrate the successful completion of the 2017-2018 edition of the Race.

On the following Monday I returned to Liverpool for my first look around a Clipper 70ft 20180730_120525yacht, which will be my ‘home’ for the 4 legs of the Race starting, probably, in October next year. I had a good crawl around Liverpool 2018 and also watched the other Clipper yachts leave Liverpool for the last time to return to Clipper HQ back in Gosport. All in all it was an excellent couple of days. A great opportunity to meet old (new) friends from Level 1 training and to swap questions, doubts, problems, concerns and ideas with fellow adventurers looking forward to the 2019-2020 experience. Looking around Liverpool 2018 was my first20180730_120533 experience of the Clipper 70ft yachts and the ‘evolution’ in the design from the 68ft yacht I had experienced back in April and will race again during Level 2 training in October was evident. The galley and saloon areas are perhaps the most striking as is the much larger ‘snake-pit’ on the upper deck. The wet lockers are bigger and better placed and the nav station, accessible from both sides and directly aft, at least appears to have better and easier communications with the helm.


If anything the interior around the bunk spaces actually appeared to me to be smaller or maybe I’m just slightly bigger than I was in April; both are possible!



The first edition Clipper yachts, that raced the 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002 editions of the Race, were 60ft yachts based on a Camper and Nicholson Bluewater cruising yacht design but with a deck layout better suited to ocean racing and an enlarged rig.

Clipper 60
The Clipper 60 ‘Hong Kong’ that raced in the 2002-2003 edition with another Clipper 60 (‘Glasgow’) outboard of her

Eight Clipper 60s were built and all are now owned privately. For the 2005 race, a new fleet of 68ft yachts were built to replace the 60s and the fleet was increased from eight boats to ten. The 68s longer hull line, taller mast (89ft 7 ins), lighter overall weight (two tons lighter than the 60s), and a flatter bottom meant faster boat speeds. The Clipper 68s have logged downwind surfs approaching 30 knots. All the yachts were built in China, the first time a fleet of racing yachts had been built in mainland China.

Clipper 68
68ft Derry-Londonderry racing in the 2011-2012 edition of the Race
The ‘California’ a Clipper 68 dismasted on the Pacific leg of the 2009-2010 Race

The Clipper 68s were ‘retired’ after the 2011-2012 race although two have been retained by Clipper and are based in Australia for crew training and corporate events and four hulls perform the same roles based at Clipper HQ in Gosport. I completed my Level 1 training in CV2 which raced as Glasgow: Scotland With Style in 2005-2006  (finished last!); Glasgow in 2007-2008  (finished 3rd); Jamaica in 2009-2010 (finished 5th) and New York in 2011-2012 (finished 6th).

The fleet of twelve Clipper 70s have raced from 2013 onwards and have now completed three circumnavigations. They were built in Qingdao, China. The yachts displace 31.7 metric tonnes and are 75ft long (23m), 18.5ft wide (5.65m), have a draft of 9.8ft (3m) and a masthead height of 95ft (29m). CV21 Henri Lloyd won the 2013 race, CV24 LMAX Exchange won the 2015 race and CV27 Sanya Serenity Coast won the 2017-2018 edition.

Two yachts have been lost during Clipper. CV4 Cork Clipper ran aground on the Gosong Mampango reef in the Java Sea in January 2010. The crew were successfully rescued and were aided by competitors Team California (later dismasted) and Team Finland. Cork Clipper was abandoned a few days later after it was decided that salvage was uneconomical. A replacement Clipper 68 was subsequently built to allow ten yachts to race in the 2011-2012 edition of the race. On 31st October 2017 CV24 Greenings ran aground on the rocky shoreline of the western side of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa. Once again all the crew were rescued and the yacht was wrecked.

Right now all the Clipper 70s are back in Gosport for refitting (they will be lifted from the water in twos) and for preparing for the 2019-2020 race. Crew allocation (to yachts and skippers) will be in May 2019 and I expect to complete Level 4 training in my allocated 70ft yacht and with my skipper sometime after that and ahead of race start in August 2019. Watch this space for news of the 2019 route , sponsors etc as news breaks 😉






14. Girl Power!

As I discussed in my last blog, the 2017-2018 edition of the Clipper Round The World Wendy TuckYacht Race finished in Liverpool on Saturday 28th July and was indeed won by a woman skipper. The Australian Wendy Tuck, skipper of Sanya Serenity Coast, not only became the first women to win the Clipper Round The World since its inception in the mid 1990s, she also became the first woman to win ANY round the world yacht race thus making sailing history, not just Clipper history. As if that was not enough, second place in the overall race went to Visit Seattle,BBCBreakfast skipper by Nicki Henderson and the difference between first and second place, after 11 months and 40,000 miles racing ………… was just 4 points. Not surprisingly, and entirely appropriately, this example of ‘girl power’ has attracted  much media attention. The final Race results were:

1st   Sanya Serenity Coast (16 women) – 143 points

2nd   Visit Seattle (16 women) – 139 points

3rd   Qingdao (18 women) – 135 points

4th   Garmin (18 women) – 125 points

5th   PSP Logistics (14 women) – 121 points20180730_131032

6th   Unicef (18 women) – 108 points

7th   Dare To Lead (19 women) – 106 points

8th   Great Britain (16 women) – 90 points

9th   Liverpool 2018 (11 women) – 79 points

10th   HotelPlanner.com (16 women) – 69 points

11th   Nasdaq (14 women) – 61 points

A total of 198 women (out of a total crew of 712) raced in the 2017-2018 edition and at least 27 of them (plus Wendy and Nikki) sailed around the world.

IMG-20180729-WA0000In a further example of ‘Clipper girl power’, male ‘survivors’ from Level 1 training back in April who made it to Liverpool for the end of 2017-2018 Race party for crews of the (next) 2019-2020 edition of the race were outnumbered 2 to 1!

More of my weekend in Liverpool and tours of the Clipper 70 fleet in my next blog ……..