As you depart Zhuhai and track north, the weather turns colder, the winds come from directly ahead and the sea state kicks up to deliver a real challenge. Thermals are added to the layers of clothing and snow has even been known to make an appearance as you route into the East China Sea and point towards the Olympic sailing city of Qingdao.
If you’ve watched the Race of Your Life series you will get an idea of the scale of the greeting laid on for a heroic arrival in the final stop in China and, wherever you go, autograph hunters will be keen to add your signature to their book. One of the coldest parts of the race, ends with one of the warmest welcomes.
After a cultural break, it’s time to depart for the big one. Expect to be treated like a superhero as the media and spectators snap away, video, cheer and applaud as you walk down to your racing yacht. and the first first waypoint is the southern tip of Japan and once that is cleared you are out into the Pacific for real, the ultimate point of freedom.
Here, around the same time you cross the International Date Line, is where you encounter the infamous Pacific rollers, waves that pick up your 70 foot yacht and allow it to surf at 30 knots down into the trough ahead. Savour these moments as you’ll be telling people about them for years to come.
After more than a month at sea, and with nearly 6,000nm left in your wake, you will be preparing to make one of the most momentous landfalls of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. If you are on watch, it could be your shout that alerts your team that the west coast of America has been spotted.
Knowing that you are one of the few people that will ever race a yacht across the planet’s greatest ocean makes the cold, wet and exhausting race completely worthwhile. You lived team work, not just talked about it. You looked after yourself and your crew mates and raced fast. The only thing better than living one of life’s greatest challenges, is sharing it with an amazing team.