With recent events in the United States, the current third National lockdown in the UK, and continuing high UK COVID figures, it seems somewhat incongruous to be writing about Clipper planning. That said the UK vaccine roll-out is going well and although I don’t have a date yet for the jab myself, a number of my family and friends have had at least one jab, as have some of my team UNICEF colleagues. Against that background its time for me to indulge in the latest episode of “Operation Let’s Tempt Fate” and outline the Clipper Plan for 2021/2022 – at least as it is likely to effect me.
Subject to all the usual “watch this space,” “light art the end of the tunnel,” “COVID developments,” “vaccine roll-out,” “international circumstances” caveats (have I missed any?), here is the current plan.
Leg 6 crew (the North Pacific Leg) are planning to be in Subic Bay, Philippines for 16 August 2021 – 183 days from today! A period of extended refresher training will then take place ahead of a Race restart on Saturday 28 August 2021. Leg 6 is now proposed to include races to all three Chinese stopovers (Sanya, Zhuhai and Qingdao) before routing down the Yellow Sea, around the southern tip of Japan and across the North Pacific and the International Date line towards the USA.
The dates and duration of each Chinese standoff have not yet been announced but we will be in Zhuhai on 11 September as that is a second proposed joining date for Leg 6 crew who cannot make the Subic start date. For crew joining in Zhuhai there will be a mandatory two day refresher sail in addition to the Clipper Race Crew Assessment that I have posted a few photos of and completed long ago on joining for Leg 2 in Punta del Este, Uruguay (see Blog 90: Am I Ready????, published 22 October 2019). For my part I’m aiming for Subic. The new arrival window into Seattle is 24-29 October, approximately 4 weeks after leaving the Philippines.
Ther Leg 7 Crew Changeover is planned to be on Tuesday 2 November which is the date on which I will leave the team once more. Some time after that I will return to the UK. Leg 7 will start from Seattle on Saturday 6 November and will comprise two races (Seattle to Panama and Panama to Bermuda) with a Panama Canal transit in between. The estimated arrival window is 20-22 Decembere 2021. I will rejoin the team in Bermuda on Monday 27 December ahead of a two day refresher sail and the Clipper Race Crew Assessment. The fleet will begin Leg 8 and leave Bermuda on Thursday 30 December 2021 – Happy New Yerar (almost) and we will see in the New Year of 2022 in the North Atlantic.
The final Leg will comprise two races, from Bermuda to a European stopover (yet to be announced) and then to Race Finish off Southend. The fleet will motor sail up the Thames and into London on Saturday 29 January 2022; 2 years, 4 months and 28 days since Race Start!
I found myself rummaging through my Clipper kit this week, not I hasten to add because I was pining for the yacht, nor getting in some early (very early!) pre-deployment packing, but more because the recent spell of sub-zero UK temperatures and easterly winds sent me in search of warmer clothing. Who would have guessed 18 months ago that the ultra-warm snoods I purchased for the Southern Ocean could also double as face-masks!
For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society see
for UNICEF UK see
Please take a look. Thank you.