Another week full of emotions and surprises. This adventure certainly keeps me on my toes. Saying goodbye to my friends on Clipper UNICEF and then travelling back to the UK for medical treatment was difficult but today I am booking flights and accommodation for a return to Qingdao in China while the teams are having an upwind battle towards the east coast of Taiwan trying to maintain the highest VMG possible.
This has been a crazy week consisting of a hero’s welcome, visits to the medical centre and, much more importantly, a moving visit to a day centre for Agent Orange victims, crossing roads with thousands of scooters and motorbikes whizzing past, repairing a 300 square meter spinnaker sail, a gala price giving dinner with original Vietnam entertainment, a visit to an ancient heritage site My Son and the old town of Hoi An and top all that with an evening sailing parade with 250 thousand people lining the river clapping and cheering. Where do I begin? Should I even try to capture all that?
This has been my first week racing onboard Clipper UNICEF which started with some very unexpected events even before we set-off on our journey to Da Nang. The Friday before the start the team said goodbye to the skipper of leg 4 and we had a team meeting with the original skipper now returned from his medical procedure in the UK. We agreed objectives for the next leg and how we would work together as a team, prepared the boat for the Monday departure at 12:00.
At 10:30 on Monday we were told that our returning skipper had decided not to continue and we were to get a new skipper and another race assistant to complete leg 5 of the race to Da Nang and onto Qingdao where the leg 4 replacement skipper would return to complete the rest of the race on Unicef.
Confused? Well you are not alone.
This week has been a nail biting week for the crews and me for different reasons. The last race from Sydney to Airlie Beach was short and therefore the finish into Airlie Beach was very close with the winner LMAX Exchange and second placed yacht Great Britain 49 seconds apart.
Earlier in the week Mission Performance reported a massive sustained gust of 70 knots pinning the yacht at a steep angle and moving it sideward at 17 knots of speed. It shows how in these warmer climates the weather can change in an instant.
This week the Clipper yachts left Hobart to race to Airlie Beach. Two days later I left Sydney to also “race” to Airlie Beach. We are all due to arrive early next week. The Clipper fleet on Monday and I will be there on Wednesday 13th January, follow this race, one powered by petrol and the other by wind.