Keith has asked me to post 2 blogs from the boat boat written as Unicef travels on its slightly extended route from New York to Derry. As I understand it the trip has been extended as the boats sailed so quickly as the boats sailed so quickly across the Atlantic. Keith’s blog will explain the new route.

The underlining theme of both blogs is time. Time seems such an extraordinaire concept. It goes so fast when you don’t want it to and occasionally drags. However clipper 2019 has taken AGES. It began in 2019 and could be the longest sporting event in history. When the Egyptians or Babylonians started to record time even so battles did not last this long.

First blog is from Danny Lees (July 4th)

‘Yesterday, Ian,Dan,Holly,JD, and I ticked off a fairly impressive milestone having sailed every single line of longitude on the planet. This serves as a stark reminder, not that I really one is needed, that this big old race is nearly run. I’m not going to get too emotional here. I hope. Ill save that for my final blog into London where I’ll likely just be a gibberish wreck, crying into my laptop as I type. I once spilled a glass of water onto my keyboard at work and could thereafter only type the letter P. So please expect three or four paragraphs of the latter P for my final missive. Although I sincerely hope you’ll be able to get the gist of what I’m trying to convey from context. For now, I think I’ll try and be semi-serious for once ( not just in my blogging output but in life in general) and talk about time.

This is of course the longest race in Clipper Race history and its often felt like it would stretch out into eternity. But even without the oh-so-fun- filled two year desolate waste years of death there has always been that element of feeling frozen in time whilst on this adventure. The race, party, race, party winning formula seems to go on ad infinitum – and i mean that in the best possible way. I’ve often seen it as like we’ve stepped through the wardrobe into Narnia, only it’s this side that’s in suspended animation whilst the rest of the world continues to turn without us.

The Louis Armstrong song We Have All The Time in the World comes to mind. An ironic lament, because of course, no matter how much we wish it wasn’t so our time here is finite. All the more reason to suck the marrow out of life when you can and take on challenges like the Clipper Round the World Race. Sailing the globe does open a Pandora’s Box somewhat though. How can you go back to normal life after doing something like this? That’s no a rhetorical question by the way. I’m genuinely after some answers. Seriously, DM me.

The Clipper Bubble is real and i really don’t want it to go pop. The world, at least to me, too often feels like a tragedy playing out its final scene where I’m completely powerless to help. It’s wonderful to be able to step outside os that and exist in aplace where nothing really matters except sailing and passing time with friends. I’ve always been Epicurean at heart and taking part in this race has allowed me to fully indulge in that way of life. The shared experience is incredible, but so too are the moments of peaceful solitude. The chance to be completely mindfu, helming on another glorious starry night without a single worry passing though my mind.

Als, we cannot stay here forever in our joy filled parallel universe. Reality creeps over the horizon, and with it all the trappings I’ve enjoyed escaping from so long, but also, crucially, all the things I absolutely love in life- my friends, my family, London, meals that aren’t cooked in one big pot, football and of course, because I am completely basic, my massive TV. But, I’m not ready to return just yet. For now I’m going to wander on deck and remain in this carefree idyll. Just a little while longer at least. I have all the time in the world.

Keith’s blog written on July 10th

’Seattle is in sight.

Before you think this is something of a deranged, Leg 6 flashback, I should point out that I am not talking about Seattle (city in USA pop 624,535) but the somewhat smaller Seattle (CV22 pop approx18)

In the wee small hours of this morning we rounded this first additional mark of our extended Leg 8 Race14 extension. Since then we have been slowly nibbling away/creeping up upon/reeling in/gnawing at (insert your own metaphor here) Seattle’s relative lead as we hope to overtake them this watch. Ahead of us liesRockall. That’s a 19m granite rock not a statement of fact and the Sailing Directions state that Rockall light is often extinguished for long periods due to the weather. You don’t say! After that we round St Kilda (4 isles & 3 stacks pop from 0 to small) and from there its a straight dash to Derry -Londonderry (pop -welcoming!). The weather forecast for rounding thes two rocky outcrops between us and the finish line is going to be suitably spicy.

Today is the last full Sunday at sea on Clipper 2019-2022 Race. This race and The Race are in t(e closing stages and we are pushing for a podium finish in 3days or so. This blog will be my final one from CV31 and tomorrow will be my penultimate Mother Watch since first joining in Punta del Este for leg 2. I know this with some certainly. As Team Coordinator I get to draw up the jobs rota. i am leaving the ‘last words’ in blogs between Derry -Londonderry and London to our three remaining round the worlders. Holly, Danny and JD. For my own part I will save my overall refections for my personal blog, in the event I am not ready to put the last four years or so into perspective and I may yet surprise myself when I try and put it all into words. For example, I am already reflecting that once the Race Finish party is complete and a small group of us complete the delivery voyage to return CV31 to Gosport, I will not have a Clipper Race Leg somewhere in my not too distant future to plan and prepare for. That already seems a little strange.

Has the experience been life changing? Almost certainly, yes. I now drink lemon and ginger tea with a dash of honey (thanks to Dan Bodley) and put marmalade in my porridge (many thanks Michiel Kool); how much more life changing do you want? I am fond of the cliched saying ’do not look for me in my past, I do not live there anymore’ but its going to take me some time to ‘pack away’ the last 4years. And its much to early to get emotional.

we still have this race to complete and race 15 to London ahead of us and more points and pennants to win. But as I sign off this blog a huge shout out to all UNICEF crew it has been my privilege to sail with on Legs 2, 3, 6 and now 8. it has been, and continues to be a blast . A massive ’Thank You’ to all the supporters and friends who have followed our trials and tribulations via Race Viewer (its not over yet!) and in person at our various stop overs. Finally my heartfelt thanks to close friends and family for your love and support and in particular Ruth for her love, humour, belief, support, understanding, forbearance, resilience and patience (not always in that order)

2 great blogs.
My thoughts

It will be interesting to meet/hear from other clipper supporters and the family members and hear their experiences of the Round the World Race. For me too its been life changing – I,ve had a tango lesson in Uruguay/ enjoyed the ultimate bbq in Argentina /made new friends and now have my own tool box (an old Lancome make up case) and I have used the tools.


ps apologies for the lack of pictures