Race 13 - Day 6
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Crew Diary - Derry-Londonderry to Liverpool
The final day of race 13 ... tensions are high!
We are still at the front of the fleet but CV20 Liverpool 2018 and CV22 Garmin are not so many miles behind. We have been in this position before ... leading the fleet into the closing stages of a race and then find ourselves taken out by a wind hole only to limp in behind the new leaders now a little way down the rankings. If hope alone could power our boat then we would be doing Mach 2!
Up on watch at midnight to a full moon in a dark sky with occasional scudding clouds. But the clouds clearly felt underappreciated and to make their presence felt amassed into a brooding ceiling that occulted the moon light and the subsequent dawn so the end of our race was conducted in Irish Sea monochrome.
Still making good speed but then Liverpool 2018 and Garmin are matching us so no let-up! It's in and out of the nav station to almost constantly monitor progress ... do watched kettles boil? We have an hour - or there abouts - of sailing north on the Code 2 before hanging a right round the Skerries way point and then on the beam sailing to the finish.
Then nightmare - the comms system and the sat phone go down. No communication with the outside world. Oh no! We are still making good progress and Time Zero predicts that we will arrive at the finish before Clipper's preferred appointed time of 17:00 ... Will the course be extended? What if they extend the course and we don't find out? Is ignorance a defense against being disqualified? Oh no! Oh no! Everso slight minor panic!!!! But then the comms returns and with no news of a race extension the finish remains the finish and we set our sights on getting there as quickly as possible.
As we approach Skerries down comes the Code 2 and up goes the Yankee. After a year - well nearly - of sailing round the world we are getting pretty slick at these headsail changes. And with the yankee comes life at a heel ... and we all suddenly remember why we like sailing under spinnaker and why up-wind sailing isn't our favourite. But only 20 miles to go! We only have 20 miles and we will have won Race 13! Then with 10 miles to the finish our worst nightmare - the wind dies. Race 10 deja vue! One of us must have done something pretty bad in a previous life!
Action stations! When trimming has no impact on our speed down comes the yankee and up goes the windseeker. And true to it's name the wind sort of returns in a half-hearted way and we sail on all the time keeping an eye over our shoulder on Liverpool 2018 and Garmin who have now materialised over the horizon.
Then finally it's countdown to the finish line ... where we cross in style and in first place. A fitting end to a well sailed Race 13 and CV29's campaign sailing round the world.
Tomorrow we sprint race down the Mersey. It will be fun, it will be hairy ... eye-balling the opposition. It will be great to watch! An adrenaline-fuelled grand finale to the 17/18 Clipper Round the World Race. We will give it our very best shot.
I would like to especially thank and congratulate our Skipper -- Chris Kobrucsh - for leading Qingdao to a series of victories and seeing us safe through numerous adventures.
I would like to thank the many Qingdao crewmates who helped make this last year such a memorable one.
And I would like also to thank the friends and my family and the various well-wishers I have met on this journey who have cheered and supported from the sidelines and in doing so have also contributed to making this the Race of my Life.
Rose Todd (Qingdao/RTW)