Here it is, the final Skipper Blog of the Clipper 2019-20 Race. I've had the pleasure of leading this team both as AQP and Skipper and watching the team grow every mile of this race has given me great reward and also some grey hairs. (One was found!)
I want to say thank you to my team for following me even when I'm grumpy and for always putting 110% energy into every task on board. A big Thank You to Ineke, joining the team half way through is a tough job and you've nailed it. You have had my back since the day you stepped on board and together we have navigated some serious oceans and celebrated many podiums together, and I've really valued our nav station head scratching as we look at the weather and decide where our next shortcut is.
In my eyes we have led the most successful team since the restart, taking a podium on all but one race. I value every single team member's effort they have contributed to that, but especially to our round the worlders, who drive this boat and set the culture on board. You have coached and encouraged every new member of the team. I will not forget this race anytime soon.
Ahead of us we have a final hurrah as we enter London where we will be greeted by our generous and loving sponsor WTC Logistics who have supported us through every leg with kind messages and enjoyed a few (many) beers in stopovers with. Then a few of our team will help to deliver the boat back to her home in Gosport where we will bid our Black Betty goodbye.
CV23 you have been a noble steed as much as we have beaten you up and we have cared for you and then surfed you down the next big wave hooting and hollering at your wheel.
Dan - Skipper of WTC Logistics 'OUT'
We are getting close to the end of this epic adventure and it is showing in everything. As I write this, at 1500, there is dancing to sea shanties and Scottish music playing on deck, the mood is cheerful and every ‘last’ is commented on (last sunrise onboard, last spag bol meal, last time helming under kite and so on).
I can hardly believe the adventure that started in Gosport, where we were nervously awaiting visas for the Philippines six months ago is now almost completed. What a ride it has been. Sitting here, hearing the crew enjoying themselves, whilst still racing hard (in second place, with Unicef just ahead and Qingdao just behind us, there is still ground to be won here) is a testament to how lucky I was to get assigned to WTC Logistics. It is not easy to step into an existing team, but over time this has become my home and we have had an amazing run since Subic Bay.
I have learned so much from Dan, on choosing the right sail plan, trimming and pushing just that bit harder when possible. And I am still in awe of his ‘fixing stuff below decks’ skills. People comment to Dan and I that we did so well together and I guess we did something right, but in my eyes the secret to our success has been the crew. A kind, hard working, inclusive and talented bunch that (almost) never complained about the extra sail change or constant focus and hard work we were asking of them.
The major factors in our success all come down to this crew and their excellent helming skills, especially the round the worlders. Dan and I really never needed to helm, not even in the toughest conditions. If anything, we needed to beg for some helm time sometimes. We need to keep our skill up after all as well! Attention to detail also contributed to our success, and prevented problems from arising, or allowed us to fix them before they got worse. From a problem with the heads pump to a broken kite or even just a sheet run wrong that could have ended in disaster, nothing escaped notice and attention.
And lastly, our two amazing watch leaders Rachel and Kaz, they could totally run this boat without us. Thank you all for the hard work and the fun along the way!
Next to my boat, I made another family on this race. The one of Skippers and AQPs. I will never forget the six weeks in Subic, where we all worked hard together, committed to get eleven boats ready to race again. Whilst at sea we race each other hard, but once in port we are good friends. Especially we AQPs have formed a special bond. Thanks for all the fun, support, emails, movie nights, skiplets meals, hidden code messages, (mis)adventures and many beers we had together. They made my race for sure! Hopefully we will get to do it again some (next) time...
Finally, thanks to my family for supporting me on another adventure. Mom, I will be home in a week.
AQP Ineke for the last time "OUT"