59. Leg 2/Leg 3 Stopover recce

Now this is what I call training …………….

Cape Town …..



Nxala Farm Lodge KwaZuluNatal ………


Ndaka Lodge Nambeti Game Reserve ……..




and Hartford House, in the Midlands Meander, Drakensburg-Natal ……….


MY kinda blogging ……



















































































58. My post-Level-3-training Day at the Office


A few days after completing Level 3 training I was back “in the office” joining Harwich pilot Prithvi Singh in a trip out to the vicinity of the Sunk Light Vessel to Board the OOCL Indonesia, inbound for Felixstowe harbour.


Prithvi is the Deputy Harbour Master (Pilotage) at the Harwich Haven Authority and is also one of our SCS (Special Category Ships) pilots. At around 211000 gross registered tons and 399.87m long and capable of carrying over 21,000 containers, OOCL Indonesia is one of the largest container ships in the world by carrying capacity.

The OOCL Indonesia was built at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard on Geoje Island in South Korea and launched in 2018. She is the 6th and last of OOCL’s “G Class” 21,413 TEU containerships. TEU stands for 20ft  equivalent unit and is a somewhat inexact unit of cargo capacity used to describe the capacity of container ships and container terminals based on the volume of a 20ft (6.1m) long intermodal container with a most common height of 8ft 6 inches (2.59m). Containers do come in varying sizes and a 40ft long container would equal 2x TEUs.

Orient Overseas Container Line was originally founded in 1947 as the Orient Overseas Line and was the first Asia-based shipping line to transport containerised cargo across the Pacific. Hong Kong based, and renamed OOCL in 1969, they operate 59 ships and are a member of the Grand Alliance comprising Hapsag-Lloyd (Germany), NYK (Japan) and OOCL (Hong Kong). OOCL were recently taken over by their Chinese rival COSCO  (China Ocean Shipping Company) with a fleet of over 1000 vessels, a State registered Chinese company regarded as the 3rd largest shipping company in the world. COSCO ships call at over 1000 ports worldwide.


Appropriately for the largest container ship in the world, the OOCL Indonesia is named after the world’s largest archipelago country nation – 17,508 islands, only 6000 of which are inhabited.

Once up through the Deep Water channel and, tug assisted, around the Beach End turn and into the harbour, it was “just” a case of slowing the biggest container ship in the world to a stop, turning her with 3 tugs to port off the berth through 180 degrees in an ebb tide, and then “gently lowering” her onto the berth!

And not a winch, jammer, sail tie, running backstay or sail in sight!!

For Prithvi and the other SCS pilots at HHA, plus our launch crews and Vessel Traffic Service operators (but not quite for me) ….. just another day in the office!

57. Level THREE Training, Part 1,

I wrote about my Level 3 preps the night before it all started (see Blog 53: Clipper Level 3 looms …. in fact it’s already started, published 14 Mar), having driven down, once again, to stay with my brother just north of Portsmouth. Once again he was away. This time, early starts for those “at home” meant his wine cellar got away scott free. An early start for me meant more Clipper safety training, this time concentrating on safety aspects of a Clipper 70 yacht, and a little recap on Level 2 sea survival training (See Blog 28: Level 2 Training Part 1. Sea Survival, published 25 Oct 18) and a chance to meet my fellow Level 3 Clipperees.

Training was in the more than capable hands of Lance Shepherd, skipper of Liverpool 2018 in the previous edition of the Race.


As far as the Level 3 team were concerned let’s just say we were “small but perfectly formed”; 3 Brits, 3 Americans and a Frenchman. 6 male, 1 female, 1 circumnavigator and 6 “leggers” of varying numbers. Another “oldest” podium finish for me but this time not in the gold medal winning position. The safety training was excellent, very relevant, a good introduction to the Clipper 70s


and a timely refresher on the Level 2 stuff. At the end of our first day we moved to Clipper HQ, met our skipper for the week and moved onboard our yacht – in this case CV31, which had raced as Nasdaq in the last edition. Our skipper was Conall Morrison who had skippered Hotel Planner.com in the last edition of the Race, more than ably assisted by the South African David “Wavy” Immelman as Mate who I introduced in Blog 54: Clipper 2019-2020 Skippers Announced, published 26 Mar, and who was, at the time, awaiting the results of the Clipper skipper 2019-2020 selection.



The Clipper Race Skippers.
Free for editorial use image, please credit: imagecomms The Clipper Race Skippers 19-20.

Conall (top) and Wavy (bottom) with a rather ironic/appropriate picture of Hotel Planner.com in the middle. Appropriate in that she is approaching Wavy’s home port of Cape Town which is where I am sitting to finally get around to writing this blog, and ironic that she is flying her spinnaker given that we never got around to that on Level 3 training given Storm Gareth and it’s immediate aftermath.


……. to be continued ………..

56. Clipper Skipper’s Video

Further to Blog 54: Clipper 2019-2020 Skippers Announced, published 26 Mar)  here is the Clipper You Tube “release” and some of the Clipper Skippers in their own words!


I will write some more about my own skipper once I am allocated to a crew at Crew Allocation on 11 May. In the meantime Clipper are telling more of the S kipper’s own personal stories at regular intervals. Check it out at http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com