129. Whether to write about Weather (again!)

This week included World Meteorology Day. Of course I’m sure you spotted that. Actually it was Tuesday. Our weather here was pretty good for March and quite spring-like. World Meteorology Day takes place every 23 March and it commemorates the coming into force of the Convention establishing the World Meteorological Organisation on 23 March 1950, so happy 71st birthday WMO.

Rather appropriately, at least in terms of Clipper and this Blog, the theme for World Meteorology Day 2021 is “The Ocean, Our Climate and Weather.” CV 22 Seattle were clearly ahead of their time with their branding

This theme celebrates WMO’s focus in connecting the ocean, climate, and weather within the Earth’s system. It also marks the starting year of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). The Decade galvanises efforts to gather ocean science, through innovative and transformative ideas, as the basis of information to support sustainable development. As the UN’s specialised agency for climate, weather and water, the WMO strives to support understanding of the inextricable link between ocean, climate, and weather. This helps us understand the world in which we live, including the impact of climate change, and helps member States strengthen their ability to keep lives and property safe, reducing the risks of climate related disasters and to maintain viable economies. For more about the World Meteorological Organisation take a look at http://www.WMO.int

‘On reflection, I’ve written about the weather and various related climatic oceanographic stuff already. In fact 9 blogs last time I counted from Blog 22, Florence, Mangkhut and Helene … with memories of Michael Fish, Daria and Luis, published 4 September 2018 to Blog 111, The Drifters, published 22 February 2020 ………………. via

Blog 23, The Weather theme continued …. but spare a thought and a prayer this Sunday for Abhilash Tomy, 23 September 2018,

Blog 27, ‘Twas the night before Christmas … ooops sorry! ‘Twas the night before Clipper, 12 October 2018,

Blog 28, Level 2 Training Part 1, Sea Survival, 25 October 2018,

Blog 37, Bravo Zulu Tian Fu, 9 Dec 2018,

Blog 79, Racing downwind across the Bay of Biscay, 12 September 2019,

Blog 82, Ruth over breakfast this morning … “Explain these Dollydrums to me again.” 21 September 2019,

Blog 83, Dollydrums! WHAT Dollydrums??? 25 September 2019,

plus the odd weather update from Jeronimo in the Philippines.

But what about the (possible) future weather for my remaining Clipper Legs?

Leg 6 across the North Pacific has changed from the original plan of Zhuhai-Qingdao-Seattle in mid February to late April 2020 into Subic Bay-Sanya-Zhuhai-Qingdao-Seattle in late August to late October 2021.

Leg 8 has morphed from New York-Bermuda-Londonderry-London in late June to 1 September 2020 into Bermuda-Northern Europe-London in late December 2021 to late January 2022!

So what?

Well here’s a quick look at the “so what.”

Philippines Climate Graph

Firstly Subic Bay, Philippines. Leg 6 will restart during the rainy season in the Philippines. Average rainfall in Subic (almost rains every day!) is considered very high in August and significantly higher in Sanya and Zhuhai in September. The new schedule is very much in the latter part of the typhoon season across the general area for the early stages of the Leg. The Philippines are prone to Typhoons pretty much any time of the year (and Jeronimo has already reported a “couple of near-misses) and they generally move from east to west across the islands heading north and west as they pass. Average temperatures in Subic, Sanya and Zhuhai are likely to be as shown below and for the Chinese ports these temperatures are up between 4 degrees and 10 degrees C on what we might have originally experienced. Good news then …. even if we can expect to be wetter!

The Race from Zhuhai to Qingdao is likely to involve heavy upwind conditions with increased sea states particularly east of Taiwan with prevailing winds from the north and east sectors and the North East monsoon in play and actually increasing during this period as Asia cools off. This will mean beating into wind and “life at an angle” with all that means for life onboard, particularly below deck. From July to October Qingdao can also be affected by Typhoons. In better news there will be much less chance of the foggy conditions off Qingdao that affected the last edition of the Race, and temperatures alongside in Qingdao will be considerably improved on the original schedule and on the last edition of the Race. Way back at Crew Allocation Day in Portsmouth, one experienced Skipper described the last Race edition in Qingdao as the coldest he had ever been on a yacht! Summer months in Qingdao are generally wetter than winter months.

The North Pacific will be generally warmer than we might have originally experienced (up by approximately 3-4 degrees C) but the prevailing winds will still be driven by low pressure weather systems heading from west to east. The Western Pacific is still prone to Tropical Revolving Storms, but once the Fleet is about a third of the way across the track will be dominated by the usual North Pacific depressions and storms. Large sea states and gale force conditions are still likely to prevail but Hurricanes in the North Pacific are generally further south than the latitudes at which we are likely to be racing. Remind me I wrote that bit when we get to Seattle!

Average weather conditions in Seattle in late October are likely to be a welcome relief!

Not surprisingly Bermuda in December is likely to be a tad cooler than Bermuda in the summer but not by as much as you might imagine. Air and sea temperatures in the North Atlantic are going to be considerably cooler. It is possible that we will be deliberately routed south, possibly with a virtual race waypoint which we will have to sail around somewhere near the Azores. This will add approximately 400 nautical miles to the crossing, and add an extra two days but it will keep us well clear of ice and fog further north and would give us the Azores as a port of refuge as an emergency contingency should this option be taken. In the familiar Northern Hemisphere winter the prevailing south westerly winds will be stronger and there will be much less chance of calms and light winds that we might have experienced in the summer. Depressions are likely to be larger and stretch over a greater area. Sea states are likely to be increased and it is possible for wind speeds to reach hurricane force.

or maybe I should have just summarised the “so what?” as “warmer, wetter and stormy followed by colder, wetter and stormy!?” Time will tell.

For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society see




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128. No Ordinary Race, No Ordinary Year

It’s just a fraction over a year since the Clipper Race was “suspended” with the yachts in Subic Bay, Philippines and unless you’ve spent 12 months in Outer Space, marooned on a desert island, hibernating, or following a programme of self-isolation living in a cave, you don’t need me to tell you what a different year it has been.

This time last year Clipper crews from around the world had managed to get out of the Philippines and get home by various routes as the Philippines and most of the rest of the world went into some form of COVID quarantine-lockdown. I touched on some of the “escapes” of my UNICEF colleagues in Blog 113: Update, published exactly a year ago today and my own “predicament” and feelings were explained in Blog 112: I See No Ships, published 15 March 2020. Regular readers will be aware that “I see No Ships” was a bit too literal for comfort.

Allowing me a little-bit-of-leeway in terms of how I am defining the timeline, for me the Clipper adventure had gone from this

Stafford Station 7 Oct 2019

via this

to this

with plenty of this inbetween:

and then:

and since returning from the Philippines a few “blog-diversions” covering:

and what of my eyesight after all that ………..

……….. well it turns out that at my last “formal” eye test a couple of weeks ago I got down to reading the lowest line I have ever been able to read … with BOTH eyes. My eyesight is now better than before the original haemorrhage back in March 2020. How EYERONIC is that!!!!

So what about the Race? No further update since my previous blog, Blog 127: There is a kind of Plan…. or at least a Clipper Plan, published 15 February 2021.

For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society see


for UNICEF UK see


Please take a look. Thank You