It is nice to be back for a few days planning the next stage of the adventure, but I am starting to get itching feet already. Today I am in Den Helder where the whole idea of travelling round the world and the Clipper race began and where the boats will arrive on 23 July. Planning the next stage of my adventure is going well; 4 days with the Clipper teams in Qingdao, a 15 day tour through China and flights to visit Seattle and San Francisco to then drive a 20 day route visiting the National Parks on the way to Cedar Rapids. Can’t wait to get going again.
The Clipper fleet had the most horrendous storm to date and I do not envy them on this race which I had to forego. UNICEF had to divert to Shanghai to evacuate a crew member with a suspected broken arm after she fell in the galley area. When they arrived at the harbour entrance the conditions were deemed too dangerous for her to be transferred to another boat. The transfer was necessary as most crew have an one entry VISA making the second China entry in Qingdao not possible. They are now continuing to Qingdao where they are due to arrive on Sunday.A number of boats have already received a rapturous welcome on their arrival in Qingdao. The skippers were given a Santa outfit in the form of a long red cloak and staff, a Chinese tradition for returning warriors. The crew received a cuddly toy monkey and the message that: “This year is China’s year of Monkey, and monkeys are deemed clever”.
This race was won by Derry~Londonderry~Doire who also won the race from Airlie Beach to Da Nang. Not only did they win the race but they also were the fastest in the Ocean Sprint and the first through the Scoring Gate. They are shooting up the leaderboard.
Things are improving with the broken hand. Actually, it is not the broken bone that gives me grieve but the tissue damage in the wrist, hand and fingers which now needs to be loosened with physio. The tennis ball and squash balls will have to come out again before I can put any weight on the hand. It also means that my decision not to continue racing the boat across the Pacific has certainly been the right one, a little fall or trip could easily result in torn ligaments.
Next week I will be in Qingdao getting ready to say goodbye again to my friends on UNICEF. The leg 4 skipper, Martin “Cloughy”, will return to get the team into racing mode and take them to the finish in London in July. The current skipper(s), the two skippers replacing the one who in Airlie Beach decided not to continue, have done a remarkable job in getting the team to Qingdao. With 12 hours notice and little experience on Clipper 70 race yachts, but plenty on Clipper 68 yachts, they have managed the boat and crew very well and it has been a pleasure sailing with Paul and Drew.
A new chapter is about the start for the UNICEF team and me.
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