I will be onboard the team UNICEF yacht, the big blue boat from about 10am Uruguay time this morning (around 2pm UK time) ahead of race start for Leg 2. Ian, Mike Miller, Dan, Danny, Holly, John Dillon, John Dawson, Mike Willis, Anthonie, the other Keith, Alex, Andrew, Sandra, Joe and Geoff who all completed Leg 1 plus me, Christian, Gareth, Sheila and Jeremy joining for Leg 2.
I’ve been at sea in the South Atlantic before and indeed I’ve been around Cape Horn twice, but it’s been quite a while – about 27 years to be more precise – and I’ve never crossed the South Atlantic west to east before.
How am I feeling?
Excited. Nervous. Apprehensive. Keen to get down to the yacht. Keen to get started. Worried not to let anyone down. I’m used to all these feeling immediately prior to going to sea. I’ve been here before, but again it’s been quite a while. Strangely it never seems to get any easier. I’ve never liked goodbyes either. And today, somewhere on the jetty of the Punta del Este yacht club, or more likely somewhere a little more private, I will say goodbye to Ruth, at least until Cape Town. I’ve done this before too. Again it’s been a while. Again it doesn’t get easier with time or previous experience. So why do I do it?
For me Clipper is really all about two things. I have spent most of my adult life as part of maritime teams. Groups of people, be they military or civilian, who share a common bond, a deep affinity, a huge respect and, let’s admit it, in some cases even a love for the sea and all things maritime. This is what has always “floated my boat” and “spun my props.” Clipper does this again for me. Secondly, as I wrote when first setting up this blog, sailing west to east across the 4 big ocean crossings of the world is my circumnavigation. It represents an enormous personal, physical, emotional and psychological challenge. I have rarely if ever settled for the easy way out in anything I have undertaken and I don’t intend to start now.
What will it be like? Well I’m tempted to say, “watch this space” as I intend to blog when and if I can and should anything get in the way I’ll be writing down as much as I can in order to blog more fully from Cape Town. But for the record, this is what the official Clipper 2019-2020 magazine has to say about Leg 2:
“Upon leaving South America, teams will encounter the trade winds and rolling swells as they head towards the Southern Ocean with spinnakers flying. Big tactical decisions await; previous editions have seen podium places decided by just 15 minutes. Heading south before turning east will be the longer route, but may offer more consistent wind conditions. Heading east shaves off hundreds of miles, but could leave the yachts too close to the windless centre of the St Helena High (South Atlantic High). As the fleet ducks south, long rolling swells will provide fantastic conditions for surfing down waves. An exhilarating leg, boat speeds will easily be in excess of 20 knots. Previous teams have recorded speeds of more than 30 knots as impressive fountains of water emerge over the bow. The Asymmetric Spinnaker features heavily in this leg, although crews will need to be careful not to overpower it as a blown spinnaker will compromise performance for the rest of their race.
Mighty Table Mountain will be visible from quite some distance away, but the race is not over yet. The wind shadow of Table Mountain offers one last hurdle in a race that is known to be a closely fought battle right until the very end.”
And this is what it has looked like in a previous edition and the 2017-2018 Leg 2 recap:
Time to go, and as the UNICEF song says, “Here we Go!” Wish me luck.
For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society see:
For UNICEF UK see:
Please take a look. Thank you.