The Countdown clock on the official clipper website tells me that, as I start writing this blog, there are 24 Days, 18 Hours, 23 Minutes and 10 Seconds to go until Race Start, but who’s counting?? Actually I AM. Although I don’t start racing on 1st September I will be there on the day and I still have much to do before starting out for South America in early October.
One of the crocodiles nearest the canoe is Prep Week and I will be joining some fellow UNICEF crew members down in Gosport this coming Saturday for the final Portsmouth based preparations before the Clipper fleet leaves Portsmouth on Tuesday 20th August for St Katherine’s Dock. An even nearer crocodile is that I am still a number of blogs “missing” from the list I produced in Blog 65 (Rather Like London Buses …. nothing for AGES and then more than you know what to do with! published 19 Jul 2019), most notably the UNICEF Team Building Weekend and Level 4 training, in order to get up to date prior to Prep Week and, just when I thought it was safe to start typing, along comes another Clipper announcement.
You will recall that at the end of the blog before last (Blog 69: Clipper yacht branding – almost complete, published 29 Jul 2019) I mentioned that there were, at the time of writing, two “un-named” yachts in the 2019-2020 edition. Well not anymore. This week has seen the announcement that Quang Ninh Province in northeast Vietnam has signed a two edition deal with the Clipper Race that will see a team entry this year followed by an appearance as a Host Port Partner in 2021-2022. The Quang Ninh Province is home to the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site Ha Long Bay and this years team entry will be called “Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.”
Recognised twice as a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO, Ha Long Bay is a stunning destination and, unsurprisingly, northern Vietnam’s number one tourism hub. The name “Ha Long” means “descending dragons” and local legend has it that after fighting invaders, Mother Dragon and her children decided to stay in the mortal world forever and turned into thousands of islands scattered on the Bay to protect this sacred land. So “team Josh” becomes Team “Ha Long Bay Vietnam.”