Highlights this week were the departure of the Clipper yachts from Qingdao, including a strong looking UNICEF team, to cross the Pacific Ocean and hiking the Great Wall during a week long visit to Beijing. Sailing for the boats have been frustratingly slow this week with little wind which kept changing direction. But now they are sailing in stronger winds after rounding the Japanese peninsula heading straight for Seattle.
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?
The race finish has finally been called and we have arrived in Da Nang. Both the crew and the boat are battered and bruised but we have survived 31 days on the ocean in hot, calm and stormy weather with lots of entertainment thrown in the mix. We had breakages on the boat and crew including my hand which is causing some pain and inhibits me doing my job aboard the boat. I hope it is only bruised but I will need to get it seen to in Da Nang. It is one of the many events this week such as having a fishing buoy and rope caught around the keel and rudder, running backstay shackle on the mast broken and being grounded for 30 minutes on the Han river in Da Nang despite having a pilot aboard.
Unicef remains in a small group of boats at the rear of the pack. It seems that the boats in the front are getting all the strong winds and there is nothing left by the time the rear of the fleet reaches the area. But maybe I am too biased to consider other reasons. Continue reading