Race 15 - Day 6
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Crew Diary - Reflections
Well the time has come to reflect on what has been an extraordinary experience for me as we finally approach the end of the 2019/20 edition of the Clipper RTW Yacht Race. An experience which commenced for me on Sunday 1 September 2019 and which will reach its conclusion on Saturday 30 July 2022. What was planned to be an eleven month adventure in reality has taken nearly three years to complete. The Covid 19 global pandemic of course being the reason for what is now believed, by some, to be the longest sporting event in history.
There have been many highlights for me during the course of my journey:
- Leaving London, after saying goodbye to family and friends, full of anticipation on a glorious summer's day to the cheers of the thousands lining the banks of the River Thames, together with spectator boats out on the water.
- Crossing the equator for the first time.
- Portimao and the finest ice cream of the whole journey & just a week from the UK.
- Passing through the eye of the storm on Leg 2 as we crossed the South Atlantic to Cape Town.
- Seeing the Southern Cross and the unpolluted skies in all their glory as I marvelled at the Milky Way and the millions of stars with shooting stars in abundance.
- My first sighting of Australia, a surreal moment when I realised that I had sailed to the other end of the globe.
- Christmas Day at sea 2019.
- The Whitsunday Islands and my flight over the Barrier Reef.
- The fabulous dawns and sunsets.
- Bird and sea life in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Our short overnight stop to refuel with diesel and a modicum of alcohol in Costa Rica.
- The stopover in New Jersey / New York, a fabulous vibrant city.
- But best of all Derry~Londonderry. The fabulous welcome we got from its people; the Guinness; being reunited after five months apart with my wife Julie and the unforgettable experience, shared onboard with her, as we took part in the Parade of Light on the River Foyle. The people of Derry~Londonderry turning out in their tens of thousands to see the Clipper Race fleet lit and dressed for the occasion.
So what of the low points? Well in comparison there have been few:
- The cold of Leg 6 and the crossing of the North Pacific - you couldn't pay me to endure that again.
- The bush fires off the east coast of Australia. The stench of the fires and the soot raining down on the boat and ocean.
- Being woken and having to get up at 3am on a cold and wet morning to go on watch.
- And finally and most importantly: wind holes. I never realised that there could be so many around the world. We are even in one now as we try to make our way down the east coast to race finish off Southend before we parade to London.
So would I do it all again? No. Am I glad that I did it? You bet that I am. I have done what relatively few people have done - I have sailed almost 48,000 miles around the world. I am a circumnavigator.
Thanks to Julie, family and friends and all of those Zhuhai supporters who have followed me and my teammates on this incredible journey. Your support has been invaluable to us all.