134. Is 2022 Day 1 too early to tempt fate?????

I checked my bees today. Or at least I checked their feed. I hadn’t expected to be even typing this let alone doing it on the first day of 2022 but the unseasonably warm weather right now means my bees as as active today as they are on some days in Spring. My garden thermometer registered 14 degrees. It felt warmer. The bees were flying and that’s not necessarily a good thing. 14 degrees! I bet it won’t be that warm in the North Pacific.

When I sat down to type this afternoon I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not 2022 will be the year that sees the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race 2019-2020 complete! Just think about that for a second. An 11 month race that will restart in month 30, and finish, fingers crossed, in month 34. I think this is about 1,033 days so when I joked about Sir Francis Drake being quicker in my last blog, I think I might be right. I seem to remember Drake’s circumnavigation took 1,020 days!

Regular readers will know I have tempted fate much too often on these pages in previous posts, so forgive me if I continue that tradition into the New Year and also dispense with all the usual “what-if”, “maybe”, “COVID-permitting” caveats that normally accompany any discussion about Clipper programming. Here is the latest version of the Clipper schedule:

I fly to the Philippines in a little over 50 days. I’m two legs, two races, two oceans and 10,597 nautical miles into Clipper. I have two legs, five races and two oceans to go. I’ll let you know the mileage when I finish. We’re in 5th place in the Race, 7 points off 4th place, 16 points off 3rd, and we haven’t played our joker yet. Leaving aside (at least for this post) a degree of pre-flight isolation, PCR testing, flight details, visas, insurance, relocating all my kit, packing and repacking, goodbyes, quarantine hotels, bubble arrangements, boat maintenance, mandatory sailing training, more quarantine, lateral flow testing and more PCRs, flights from Seattle, getting to Bermuda and the London race finish – oh, and I almost forgot …. the “when do I stop shaving decision!” – leaving all that aside for one moment – the key dates for me appear to be:

22 Feb – date on which I must arrive in the Philippines.

Thursday 10 Mar – Leg 6 Race 9A starts – a point scoring race “around” the Philippines starting and finishing in Subic Bay. Arrival window Subic 14-15 Mar.

Sunday 20 Mar – Leg 6 Race 10 starts – 6,100 nautical miles across the North Pacific to Seattle, USA. Arrival window Seattle 16-21 Apr. Crew changeover (date on which I must leave the yacht) 25 Apr.

Tuesday 14 Jun – Crew changeover in Bermuda. Date on which I must report to the yacht. Refresher training afloat will be in the window 15-17 Jun.

Sunday 19 Jun – Leg 8 Race 13 starts – North Atlantic, Bermuda to New York. Arrival window New York 23-24 Jun.

Wednesday 29 Jun – Leg 8 Race 15 starts – North Atlantic, New York to Derry-Londonderry. Arrival window Derry-Londonderry 14-18 Jul.

Sunday 24 Jul – Leg 8 Race 15 starts – North-about around Scotland to finish off Southend Pier Friday 29 Jul.

Saturday 30 Jul – final sail up the river Thames to Royal Docks, London.

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Please take a look. Happy New Year