133. Merry Christmas (for some)

Since “deafening silence” (at least on my part) and Blog 131 there have, in fact, been a positive tsunami, whirlwind, hurricane, even pandemic (I’m trying to avoid use of the word “typhoon”) of e-mails from Clipper HQ on a whole range of Clipper and Philippines-related topics.

It’s going to be Subic Bay to Seattle direct.

We’ve had confirmation of our personal arrival dates into the Philippines including specified airports, an updated race schedule (confirming NO stopovers in China and a 6,100 miles crossing of the North Pacific direct from Subic to Seattle), more on Special Entry Permits and visa arrangements for the Philippines (with the promise of more to come), an updated detailed schedule of events in Subic, Quarantine hotel details, training (quarantine afloat) details, post-race pre-Pacific crossing quarantine details, Skipper confirmations and new additions, AQP confirmations and new additions, and confirmation of new crew members joining the team(s) to replace those who can no longer make it, in our case 4, meaning a team of 16 plus skipper and AQP for the North Pacific. All this information has arrived since 29 Nov. Enough info for three or four blog posts but I guess I have been putting off writing much of late. Somehow I think COVID has not yet had its “final input” to all this planning and February 22nd (the date I am expected to arrive in the Philippines and go into the first phase of quarantine) still seems a long way away despite the “mental ground rush” of all I realise I still have to put in place to make it all happen. have arrival.

In addition to my reluctance to burst into print as a result of continuing COVID news, I realise I have been extremely reluctant to write about Clipper given the impact of most recent weather events on the Philippines.

Super Typhoon Rai

I’m no novice when it comes to experiencing bad weather at sea, or for that matter witnessing its effects on land. I’ve written about weather and various related climatic oceanographic stuff a few times on these pages, most notably blogs 22, 23, 27, 28, 37, 79, 82, 83, 111 and 129.

As recently as last week our newly appointed AQP wrote that “his most memorable sailing moment was crossing the South Atlantic from Punta del Este to Cape Town, surfing the incredible weaves in strong winds out at sea,” going on to say, “seeing the power and the majesty of the world’s oceans will be an experience I will never forget.” I remember it well and share that view. It was over a week of this:

Super Typhoon Rai hit the Philippines just prior to Christmas. Rai underwent an unexpected rapid intensification on 15 December when it increased windspeed from 75mph to 160mph on 16 December just before it made its first landfall. By this time the eye, clearly visible from space, was 6 miles wide. While the Clipper fleet in Subic appears to have escaped undamaged the same cannot be said for large areas of the southern Philippines and hundreds of thousands of the population of the southern archipelago.

A powerful pre-North Pacific reminder, if a reminder is needed, of the power and might of Mother Nature. Have a peaceful Christmas and be thankful you can. More (much more) to follow in the New Year.

For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society see:


For UNICEF UK see: