It’s been 146 days since I last wrote a post for this blog.
Strangely enough it’s not as if nothing has been going on, either at home, at work, across the country or internationally. Plenty to write about and I admire my fellow Clipper-bloggers who have maintained their writing skills, but, to be blunt, my thoughts are only now beginning to turn to the possibility of resuming the 2019-2020 edition of the Race early next year. Pretty much all the caveats I have touched on before on these pages remain relevant. That said, there is now a draft schedule for completion of the Race, some of my colleagues managed to get afloat in this year’s Fastnet Race, UK training resumed in Clipper 68’s from Gosport a week or so back, “our” insurance has been extended – saving a couple of thousand – and I have signed up to complete my own pre-Race refresher training in the Philippines in February 2022 and I have received my joining instructions. Chinese visas are now expired but US visas – allowing me to arrive by yacht and depart by air, remain valid. We are aware of the latest thoughts concerning COVID testing and potential quarantine requirements. Current Clipper Race Teams had to declare their availability for the new dates, or postpone to a later edition of the Race, at the end of June. Clipper, aided by a return to training, are now working on crew makeup and it is already clear that a number of my UNICEF team mates are no longer able to complete the current extended edition.
My only sea-time since last writing was a trip onboard the MSC GENEVA outbound from Harwich to Hamburg, although I disembarked with the pilot at the Sunk Light Vessel position in the southern North Sea. Everything else has returned to a degree of normality and I’ve even managed to identify my next challenge once Clipper has (finally) completed. More of that later.
In 146 days time from now it will be 18 January 2022 and, by my best current guess, 10 days before I return to the Philippines.
The current state of the potential Race programme is as follows:
Crew Reporting day in the Philippines will be 8 Feb 22 ahead of a planned Race restart on Sunday 20 February – Leg 6, Race 9A.
Leg 6 will then comprise 3 short races (9A, 9B and 9C) and then the longer Race 10 across the mighty North Pacific. For a reminder of what this might be like see Blog 55: This time next year. Leg6, Race 9. A Four Video North Pacific taster, published 27 Mar 2019.
Race 9A will start from Subic Bay, Philippines on Sunday 20 Feb and race to Sanya, China with an arrival window of 24-25 Feb and stopover until 2 Mar.
Race 9B will start from Sanya on Wednesday 2 Mar and race to Zhuhai, China with an arrival window of 4-5 Mar and a stopover until 10 Mar.
Race 9C will start from Zhuhai on Thursday 10 Mar and race north inside the Korean peninsula to Qingdao, China with an arrival window of 18-20 Mar and a stopover until 25 Mar.
Race 10 will start from Qingdao on Friday 25 Mar and race down the Yellow Sea and East China Sea, round the southern tip of Japan, across the International Date Line and across the mighty North Pacific Ocean to Seattle, USA with an arrival window of 18-23 Apr. My contract release date on completion of Leg 6 will be 26 Apr.
Leg 7 (Races 11 and 12) Seattle – Panamas – New York will start from Seattle on Sunday 1 May and the arrival window into New York is 14-17 Jun.
I will re-join the Race in New York and must report to the UNICEF yacht on 17 Jun (Ruth’s birthday!!). Once again I will be required to complete the Clipper Crew assessment. Leg 8, the homecoming leg, will start from New York on 22 Jun (our wedding anniversary!!!) and will comprise 3 races, race 13, 14 and 15.
Race 13 will start from New York on Wednesday 22 Jun and race to Bermuda with an arrival window of 26-27 Jun and then a stopover until 2 Jul.
Race 14 will start from Bermuda on Saturday 2 Jul and race across the North Atlantic to Derry-Londonderry with an arrival window of 16-20 Jul and a stopover until 24 Jul.
Race 15, the final Race of the circumnavigation, will start from Derry-Londonderry on Sunday 24 Jul and race north-about around Scotland for Race Finish off Southend on Friday 29 Jul ahead of a formation return to London up the Thames on Saturday 30 July 2022. I think that’s something like 2 years 11 months since Race Start on 1 Sept 2019 (Blog 87: Another Time Travel Blog, published 12 Oct 2019). For a reminder of what the North Atlantic might look like see Blog 64: This time next year. Leg 8 Race 12 The North Atlantic, published 25 Jun 2019.
Beyond all this??? Well firstly I am aiming to complete my Ocean Yachtmaster Theory qualification by the end of this year and will then look to remain current. I hope to return to sea with the Cirdan Sailing Trust in 2022 (see Blog 48: My Next Sailing ….. but one ….. and a little something for Lord of the Rings fans!, published 20 Feb 2019) and then in 2023 I am planning to walk the 1000km of the Western Front Way, in one go, an altogether different physical and logistical challenge. By then I might just have to re-title this blog!
But for the moment I’m still fundraising.
For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society see:
and for UNICEF UK see
Please take a look. Thank You