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.

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12 - Race 2 - Lisbon (Portugal) to Havana (Cuba) - Sunday 17th November 2002 to Sunday 24th November - Making progress

We've now been at sea for 10 days and haven't had any sight of land or other vessels for 4 days.  We are completely alone.  

It's a strange feeling to be so far away from normality, but there again life is pretty straightforward where we are.  The sun is shining and is warm on our backs.  We're all in shorts and T-shirts and there's enough sun-cream swilling around to sink a battleship.  The wind is on our shoulder, and the horrible beating towards the wind now seems a distant memory.  It's a time for repairing the bits that have broken, which are many, and of taking stock of what we've so far achieved. 

We can also take stock of who and what we are missing at home.  It seems a lot longer than three weeks ago that we left.

We're now about 500 miles south-west of the Canaries and are heading west across the Atlantic towards the Caribbean, making about 8 to 9 knots an hour, or about 180 miles a day - although yesterday, we clocked up 211 miles, an excellent total and the best of the day.  

As far as I'm aware, we're in third position at the time of writing - check the Clipper Ventures web-site to see if this is still the case.  We're currently the most northerly boat, which at the moment appears to be paying dividends.  However, there's still plenty to be won and lost.


I've already mentioned some of the technical problems we've had on the boat but things got abruptly worse two days ago.

We've got a number of sails on board, including three spinnakers, or kites. The kites are different sizes, for different wind strengths.  The middle one, known as the AP (for All Purpose) is the most useful.  Not any more!

On Monday, we all but destroyed our AP kite by making a right mess of trying to hoist it after changing sails.  It wasn't helped by the boat being steered in the wrong way - by me. The problems got worse when the sail was not gathered in quickly enough.  So we sailed right over the top of it and ripped it in two.  Although it's not uncommon for the kites to be damaged, we totalled ours in a somewhat spectacular way - and with 33,000 miles still to go.  It's not even worth trying to fix it on board and we'll have to wait until we get to Cuba at the very least.

I mentioned that I was driving at the time and as such, it was largely my fault.  The rest of the crew have rallied round but I feel very down about it as I feel that I have let them down.  Not only will the sail be much less effective if we do get it repaired, we're also likely to face penalty points for the damage. 

I've already had a few low points so far as it's been a tough start to the race but I plunged to new depths after this happened.  It's also knocked my confidence quite heavily.

Anyway, the weather has tried to help - the winds have dropped a little so the AP would not necessarily have been up for the last two days.  I just hope it stays like that.

Great smells

On a slightly brighter note, the boat is smelling much better.  We've all been able to get in the shower and start washing our dirty clothes.  Some would say we needed it, but I think our senses have been blunted (luckily). 

We've now got the hang of bread-making, so we have fresh bread being produced each morning by the mother watch. Toast for breakfast and fresh rolls for lunch.  Sheer luxury!

Clipper website diary entries

I am co-ordinating the diary entries from everyone on board for the Clipper Ventures website.  If you're getting bored of me, click on the Clipper Ventures link on the left to find out where we are and what life is like on board through the eyes of the other members of the crew (not you, Mum!).


Click here for diary entry 13 - Memories of Portugal, Cookie's Bar

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