The first uncertainty has been and remains the wind. The motoring start of the race through the Great Barrier Reef had to be extended into a second day in order to find sufficient wind to have an exciting start. Then all the way up along the Queensland coast, into the Doldrums, through the Solomon Islands and starting the sail around Papua New Guinea, it has been a case of a repeated pattern of being stuck for hours in a windhole, followed by several hours of good, brisk enjoyable sailing and just when you thought this was it, another windhole. The relative positions of the boats can change dramatically in the space of just half a day.
The second uncertainty is now the impact of the Corona virus. Three days ago, we were informed of a Clipper website announcement stating that due to the Corona virus in China there would be no official welcome or ceremony in Sanya.Although we are still officially sailing to Sanya, most of the crew suspect that a re-routing of the race could be one of the response options, with an earlier call into Subic Bay being the favourite. At the personal level, I shall miss not seeing my wife Sam until Seattle. We previously agreed to a no e-mail practice whilst I was at sea, given the long planned stopovers. However, after two successive curtailed stopovers and a forthcoming one without a visit, e-mail contact becomes a must to keep in touch and to hear about the titbits of news amongst family and friends.
Given that today is January 31st, the third uncertainty is the consequences of the UK’s departure from the European Union. No doubt there will be some short-term issues, but the real uncertainties are five or ten years ahead. Should we be sad to be leaving the stability of the huge EU bloc or be pleased to be gaining more international freedom that could reap extra rewards, albeit being more at the mercy of the economic superpowers? No-one knows, but time will tell.