107. Coronavirus update


With the leading boats currently in the Solomon Sea between Papua New Guinea and Bougainville Island, with around 3220 nautical miles to sail to Sanya, China, the arrival window for Sanya 10-15 February, about a month until I fly to the Far East, and the day before I am due in Manchester for my Chinese visa interview, Clipper have issued the following update regarding the Coronavirus:

“We are closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak in China. On instructions from government officials, the Sanya organising committee has informed the Clipper Race that all activities planned for the stopover in its city have been cancelled and it is currently planned that there will be a simple arrival and departure for the fleet. We understand that the decision has not been taken lightly as Sanya was a fantastic host during the 2017-18 edition. At present the fleet is continuing its race towards Sanya. We are continuing to talk with the Chinese authorities and sympathise that this is an issue which is continually developing. We will advise as soon as we have any further information.”

Another case of watch this space ……

For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society see


and for UNICEF UK see


Please take a look. Thank you.

106. Sophie’s Choice

Further to the previous blog, all 11 yachts sailed from Airlie Beach earlier today and are currently motoring the 150 or so nautical miles to be clear of the Great Barrier Reef. They will RV in the vicinity of 019.47S 150.23E at 1500 local time tomorrow, 21 Jan, for a “Le Mans” start to Leg 5. In the meantime ……

Sophie on the helm during Leg 3, Cape Town to Fremantle (via Durban!)

Keen readers will have met Sophie before.

Sophie and I did Level 4 training together last July (see Blog 81, Race 2, Day 3 Latest ……. 4,800 nautical miles still left to Race, so let’s wind the clock back a bit …, published 18 September 2019) and immediately before that, the UNICEF team building weekend.

Sophie, standing, far left.
left to right – Shaneil, Sophie, me, Jo, Angie. Level 4 training July 2019

Sophie was part of the UNICEF team on Leg 1 from London to Portugal and Portugal to Uruguay and then left, rejoining in Cape Town for Leg 3 to Fremantle.


The UNICEF team at Leg 3 race start in Cape Town, Sophie front row 3rd from the left.
The same team (minus Andy and Thomas landed in Durban) on arrival Fremantle, Sophie, kneeling, 4th from the right.

Sophie, along with John Dillon, was also responsible for organising and leading our Sunday Fundays on Leg 3, a sort of mildly chaotic attempt to break the routine with 30 minutes or so of organised madness around our lunchtime meetings on a Sunday. Sunday Fundays invariably involved chocolate …. or sweets……..of some description, carefully rationed lemonade or coke (the nearest we ever got to booze), a pop-up Turkey for US Thanksgiving Day, a range of decorations for birthday cakes and “games” of all sorts from our own version of Countdown conundrums, to a version of Pictionary, rehearsing our Christmas Carol, Secret Santa presents – with an option to “twist” and swap presents if you didn’t like the one you got! and on Advent Sunday arranging a visit from Santa (aka Kiwi Keith).

On this latter Sunday, Seb, Sandra and Mike Willis were all invited to sit on Santa’s knee while one member of the crew spoke in their defence (as to why they should get  their Christmas presents) followed by another crew member speaking “against.” It was my role to speak in defence of Seb! The “outcome” was then put to a vote!


As if this wasn’t talented enough for Sophie, she has also produced the following video of our epic Leg 3. It is well worth a watch:

We are still trying to convince Sophie she needs to do Leg 6 across the North Pacific!!!

For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society see


and for UNICEF UK see


Please take a look. Thank You.



105. Leg 5, Race 6 Here We Go ……… or maybe not quite yet!

I had originally intended blogging today about Leg 5, Race 6 from the Whitsundays in

The Whitsundays

Australia, where the yachts have spent the last few days, to Sanya in China given that race start was lunchtime today (Australian time). But last night it was announced that 3 of the boats have trouble with their onboard water-makers and, in an effort to allow replacement parts to arrive, race start would be delayed by up to 48 hours. It is hoped that the arrival window into Sanya, currently 10-15 Feb, will be unaffected.


That sail, the boats did sail earlier today UK time, completed the customary Parade of Sail, carried out their required man overboard drills, plus some other sailing practice, and then returned alongside the Coral Sea Marina Resort at Airlie Beach. Those of you who are already addicted to Race Viewer will have seen the boat tracks earlier this morning and will note that the race clock is “ticking” but currently all boats are alongside.

There are 3 races in the next leg, Race 6 from The Whitsundays to Sanya, Race 7 from Sanya to Subic Bay in the Philippines, and Race 8 from Subic Bay to Zhuhai, again in China. The arrival window into Zhuhai and the end of Leg 5 is 2-3 March and I will rejoin team UNICEF in Zhuhai on 4 March. Things on the Leaderboard are very nicely poised as we start the final 4 legs but it is interesting to remember that the first 4 Legs of the circumnavigation only comprised 5 Races. The final 4 Legs include 10 Races and I will compete in 5 of them, 2 in Leg 6 crossing the North Pacific and 3 in Leg 8 crossing the North Atlantic. This is how the Legs/Races have panned out so far:

Team UNICEF alongside in Punta del Este, Uruguay, about to start Leg 2, Race 3.


The same team on arrival in Cape Town, South Africa some 4050 miles later!



Team UNICEF alongside in Cape Town about to start Leg 3, Race 4 to Fremantle, Western Australia.


The same team (minus Andy and Thomas) 6547 miles later on arrival in Fremantle (via Durban!)


It remains fairly tight throughout the fleet on the overall race standings. Qingdao, in 1st place overall, are 5 points ahead of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam in 2nd. They are 21 points clear of Punta del Este in 3rd, who are only 3 points clear of Visit Sanya in 4th who are only 1 point ahead of UNICEF currently in 5th. Only 10 points separate UNICEF in 5th from Go to Bermuda in 8th and they are only 5 points clear of Seattle in 11th. Qingdao, Han Long Bay Vietnam and Punta del Este (in 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively) have all played their Jokers. No jokers have been declared for the race from The Whitsundays to Sanya. If you missed the scoring rules see Blog 76, How The Clipper Race Is Scored, published 3 September 2019.

For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society see


and for UNICEF UK see


104. The 12 Days of Christmas (ish!)

An extra 11 days at sea did allow us to write our own version of the Christmas Carol “The 12 Days of Christmas”

Here is the team UNICEF version …..

12 Calls to PRAXES (our long range telemedicine support team)

11 Sails for sewing

10 unused dry suits

9 days diversion

8 phoney forecasts

7 Time Zone Crossings

6 injured crew mates


4 broken ribs

3 smashed teeth

2 medivacs

And Andy’s appen – dect – o – mee!

and ZERO redress.

For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society see


and for UNICEF UK see


Please take a look. Thank You

103. Cape Town to Fremantle official wrap-up video.

Happy New Year

Don’t look for us, we went via Durban (although the lightening storm at around 59 seconds might have been us!!!) but here is the official highlight video of Race 4, Leg 3, Cape Town to Fremantle. Enjoy.

For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society see:


and for UNICEF UK  see:


Please take a look. Thank You.