Diary of a Clipper Racer
Around the world in 333 days with Mark Osgood
Supporting my chosen charity - "Dreams Come True"
Final Diary entry, 54, added Monday 6th October 2003.
10 - Race 1 - Liverpool to Lisbon (Portugal) - Monday 28th October 2002 to Tuesday 5th November
four hours late but we finally set off from Liverpool on Monday 28th October.
The weather was much better than the day before and was perfect for
racing. Despite the start being on
a Monday, there was an extraordinary number of people to see us off.
After several circuits of Albert Dock, we went through the lock onto the
River Mersey for the last time for eleven months and got ready for the start.
The Admiral got us off to a flyer. We were several hundred yards ahead after racing round the cans and heading out to sea. We were not, however, helped by a
stayed near the front as we set off down the Irish Sea, although the wind
blowing directly from where we wanted to go made progress slow.
The leader changed regularly and the race position radio schedule every
twelve hours became a vital part of the day,
wind got up for the first of several times during the run down the Irish Sea and
the ride became bumpy, with the boat heeled over heavily and the bow crashing
through the waves. But that was
nothing compared to what the Bay of
Biscay had to offer. A force 9 gale
blew in for over twelve hours and it was a case of hanging on as we crashed
onwards towards Finisterre
maintained a good showing on the way down.
We never dropped below fifth place and we were often in the top three.
Others did not fare so well - Cape Town had to pull in to Milford Haven for
repairs on the first night after they wrapped their spinnaker around the rigging
and Liverpool retired from the race for a variety of reasons including a back
injury to one of their crew. Glasgow
also had a spinnaker wrap but managed to continue even though it took ten hours
to sort it out.
we rounded Finisterre and headed down the coast towards Lisbon, the weather
changed dramatically and up went the spinnaker and and out came our shorts and
final two days to the finish line in Cascais, was a close-run thing between four
boats. The positions changed all the time, but eventually Hong Kong
won, just seven minutes ahead of Jersey. We
came in next, a podium finish, followed by New York just ten minutes behind.
After over 1200 miles, there was only an hour between first
on Board for Race 1
first race for me was a very tough week. The
conditions were rough anyway but I was suffering from a chest infection and was
ill for the entire journey. This was on top of saying goodbye to Rachel and my parents
for a year which was extremely hard. There
were many times in that first week that I wondered what the hell I was doing and
there were a couple of times where I would have walked if I could have.
the wind was directly on the nose for most of the trip, the boat was constantly
heeled over at an angle and crashing through waves, making sleep virtually
impossible and life below decks very uncomfortable.
We were on watch for 4 hours at a time during the night and 6 hours at a
time during the day. It always
seemed to rain when we were on deck for the first few days and at the end of the
watch, so it was always a rush to get out of the wet kit and into the sleeping
bag as quickly as possible. Inevitably,
sleeping bags and bunks soon got wet as well and we remained damp and cold for
the entire week. There's nothing
worse than waking up and having to stick wet socks and clothes back on before
facing the elements.
I recover in Portugal now, those moments seem a long way away and I am looking
forward to the next race starting. It's
true that you quickly forget the bad bits.
There were some truly amazing moments on the trip that I will not forget:
the start, like having 50,000 people watching London leading the fleet, the
intensity of the racing in the last twelve hours of the race and the closeness
of the finish. Even during the
storm in Biscay, it was impossible to ignore the awesome power of the sea and
the elements (in between the waves of sheer terror!).
And I will never tire of seeing dolphins swimming alongside us.
Nor will I forget Stan. Stan
was a sparrow who landed in the cockpit on day 3, clearly lost, exhausted and
close to death. He nestled in the corner under the winches and we left him
there for 12 hours with a bit of bread and a cup of water.
He soon recovered enough to fly away, fully fed and rested.
no 1 - Caiscais, near Lisbon in Portugal
How good was it to get ashore! We were welcomed by the race committee with local beer, Superbok, a throwback to my Part A & B training and then were directed to a local late night boozer for a top up.
arrived on 5 November, just (12.05am), we had 5 days to get ready for race 2,.
The first thing to do was a deep clean of the boat and a full maintenance
check, which took a day and a half - far too long!
We then had two days to ourselves.
played golf on my first day off as part of the Clipper golf tour that is
developing. London laid down the
challenge to New York and Glasgow - and subsequently lost quite heavily.
London's reps, Jimbo, Hatbox and myself need a lot of practice.
The second day was for relaxing.
evenings were lively. Everyone from
my Part A training had a reunion and there was also the presentation evening
which was a full sit down meal with all the crews and the presentation of the
pennants for first, second and third.
am now ready to move on to Race 2.
leggers for Leg 1
Leg 1 comprises two races, from Liverpool to Portugal and then on to Cuba.
They are as follows:-
Chapman (aka Chappers) is on board with us
until Hong Kong, the half way point of the race.
Chappers was on my Part A training with me and I have known her now for a
year. Celebrity look-a-like
is Kristen Scott-Thomas.
Hatley (aka Hatbox) is with us for the first
two legs until we reach Hawaii. The
boat's resident Del Boy, as a result of his wheeling and dealing, Hatbox was
behind our crew kit as he knew someone who knew someone who could do us a deal -
or something like that. Celebrity
look-a-like is to follow.
Arden-Davis (aka Jimbo) is with us until Cuba
and then rejoins us in Mauritius for leg 5. Jimbo is also one of our boat
secretaries. His drinking powers
are already legendary - he is also known as "Drinks like Cactus". Jimbo’s Celebrity look-a-likes include Frank Skinner and
Spruce (aka Disco) is with us until Cuba.
Disco is our on board pub singer who will burst into song at any given
moment with his own unique style. He sang a little medley whilst helming at the
height of the storm in Biscay. Celebrity
look-a-like is Bob Hoskins.
Dowling (aka Mave) is also with us until Cuba.
Another person from my Part A course whom I have now known for a year.
Celebrity look-a-like is Crystal from Dynasty.
Kidwell (aka Saucy) won one of the competition
places to be on the London. She was
due to be with us until Cuba but has found out that she can
on board until Hawaii - to say that she is excited is understating it slightly.
Sam is the youngest member of our crew (19) and we are still trying to
find a celebrity look-a-like for her.