144. A brief Monday Race Update from a small, small world.

The first of the yachts crossed the finish line SE of the island in the wee small hours of this morning, Monday 13 June. The first of the boats got into the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club between 0700 and 0800 local with UNICEF finishing 5th (7 points) behind Sanya, GoToBermuda, WTC Logistics, and Punta del Este but ahead of Zhuhai in 6th, Qingdao in 7th and Dare to Lead in 8th. As I type this at approaching 1800 local, Seattle have ”pulled the plug” and are motoring in having accepted 1 point while Imagine Your Korea and Ha Long Bay Vietnam are still about 60 miles from the finish line in lights winds battling it out for 9th and 10th places. They are are not now expected in until early tomorrow morning. Along with KC (also rejoining) and a great turnout of UNICEF supporters I was up early this morning to welcome the Fleet in.

Me, Mike Miller (formerly UNICEF AQP and now the skipper of Sanya who won the race today) and Karen Corley (KC) who, like me, did Leg 6 across the North Pacific and now rejoins for Leg 8 across the North Atlantic.
Anthonie Botha, Mike Miller and me over two and a half years ago at Race start in London

The ”scores on the doors” BEFORE all the points for this leg are as follows:

Qingdao 112

Ha Long Bay Vietnam 110

Punt del Este 95

Unicef 88

Visit Sanya 74

WTC Logistics 69

Imagine Your Korea 69

GoTo Bermuda 60

Dare To Lead 55

Seattle 46

Zhuhai 46

and with GoToBermuda, WTC Logistics and Zhuhai all playing their Jokers (doubling their race points) on this current race and the Ocean Sprint and Scoring Gate points yet to be added, it’s all getting tight at the top of the Leaderboard and there is much to play for in the three remaining races in the final Leg 8.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with the Clipper Staff and all the TCs from the other boats before the Leg 7 Race 11 and Race 12 prize giving. UNICEF is back out at sea for two separate corporate sailing events on the 15th when I, and the other UNICEF new joiners and rejoiners, will go to sea in Zhuhai for our refresher training and crew assessment. Thereafter it will be final preps for Leg 8 Race 13 to New York. All crews are required onboard the yachts by 1000 on Sunday 19 June and we will slip lines at 1100. As the official countdown clock shows, 5 Days, 18 Hours, 44 minutes and the odd second or two to go until race start.

On Saturday afternoon, over lunch in Front Street, Hamilton, I decided to see if I could track down an old friend who I knew had emigrated to Bermuda over 20 years ago and who I had not seen in over 25 years. Courtesy of LinkedIn, Google Search, Google Maps and my second ”Dark and Stormy” I discovered that ”Brooksie’s” work place was a mere 8 minutes away. Not expecting him to be in work on a Saturday (he is a retired Royal Navy Captain and an aviator to boot!) I anticipated leaving my telephone number with his team and, at best, being able to catch up sometime before the 19th. To my great surprise and even greater delight Captain Alan Brookes MBE Royal Navy Rt’d was in his office and greeted my surprise appearance with a great cry of ”Ginsters!!!”

As Commanders Brooksie and I did Commanding Officers Qualifying Course together in 1995 prior to Alan taking command of HMS LONDON and me, HMS NEWCASTLE. We became great friends. Alan has the distinction, probably unique in the Royal Navy, of having survived ejecting from a fixed wing aircraft (a twin seat Hunter during take off as a young officer on the Junior Officer’s Air Acquaint Course!) and ditching in the sea in a Sea King helicopter. Having started a 20+ years catch up that afternoon, he and I took his boat out the following day, motored out of Hamilton Harbour, across the Dundonald Channel, between Watford Island and Somerset Island, and anchored in Mangrove Bay near King’s Point. Mangrove Bay was as idyilic as it sounds and a picture perfect setting for our prolonged reminiscing.

We followed our very own RN-style two-man ”upper deck BBQ” with ”hands to bathe.” Clipper would have proud of the pair of us had they known we combined the ”hands to bathe” serial with some boat maintenance and both had a go at scrubbing some marine growth from the hull whilst swimming. Alan was the Fo’cstle Officer for anchoring and I “had the ship” and we reversed roles for weighing anchor and then returned to Hamilton. It is fair to say we had a blast and it really is a small, small world.

Alan Brookes and his latest command.

For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society please see:


For UNICEF UK please see:


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