Well, here it is, the final Skipper Blog from Visit Sanya, China of the Clipper 2019-20 Race. I was asked by the Clipper media team, that incredibly hard working group of people who have guided us, interviewed us, photographed us, edited our appallingly typo filled blogs and generally brought the race alive for the watching public, to make sure that this final blog covered all the important stuff, about how proud I am of the crew, the boat, myself etc at the end of this epic adventure. But you know that already.
You’ve already read about how our incredibly tight-knit team, so well drilled by my predecessors Seumas and Jorge, accepted Mary and me, and with us a whole new set of foibles and idiosyncrasies, and kept pushing the boat through the many challenges we have overcome – storms, breakages, coughs and colds - right up to the incredibly hard fought end of Race 15. You’ve already read about the wildlife – dolphins, whales, frigate birds, boobies – that we encountered along the way, so instead I will dedicate this final epistle to that other Clipper skipper blog staple, food.
In Derry our innovative, dry, and full of strange facts victualler, John found a little extra in the budget, and set his crew mates a challenge. Every day of this last race our two mothers, in true masterchef style, had to come up with their own menu for the day. John went shopping and procured the necessary slate of ingredients – including French cheese, Chinese dried flounder and mountains of fresh vegetables – and the challenge began.
On day one it was John, the victualler himself with the Swansea dynamo Sue, who produced tasty ham, camembert and salad sandwiches in fresh sourdough rolls for lunch, and followed it up with tasty ham, camembert and salad sandwiches in fresh sourdough rolls for dinner.
Day two was delivered by Colin the smiling Yorkshireman and Scott, our chatty Essex man in the incredible garish board shorts. Wraps for lunch and a traditional delicious beef stew and chocolate mousse for dessert.
We then went international, in the hands of our petite but extraordinary OBR Shiyi, and the walking smile that is Eve. A cracking noodle soup – Freddie, my son could happily live off that! - for lunch and a deep fried orange and aniseed chicken dish for dinner.
Ex-policeman Baz showed his unexpected depths, with his sidekick Jiong, our Sanya ambassador from Norway, with a boeuf bourguignon and a cheese board of dolce latte, stilton, goats cheese and camembert. Mary was quite pleased when it was eaten, and the smell started to leave the air round the cold box by her bunk!
Aussie Watch Leader Rick proved his multicultural panache, with a lentil curry on the back of Ivy’s lunchtime noodles, and then delivered smoked salmon for breakfast.
Trish, who approaches her whole life with a smile and a laugh, is tutoring our American Carl, with a menu today consisting entirely, it seems, of sausages – with hot English mustard.
Only Liz, our TC who kept the boat ticking over and Afshin, the other Watch Leader (always with a smile and a kind word for everyone) escaped the rota, but these special people cannot escape a mention here.
And neither can all the others that made up our intrepid crew. Clyde, Dickie, Fred, Cameron, Paddy, Taylor, Andrew, Izzie, Mary, Harmon, David and Christian. They all brought their own character and added something to the mix, to create the unique spirit that drove us through the cold nights, long hot days and epic parties.
I will miss them all and the incredible thing we have just achieved together.
Jai Yo Sanya
PS Mary’s contribution to our dining was regular midnight cinnamon rolls. A perfect metaphor for her cheerfulness and competence that made such a huge difference to the trip.