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.
Latest Diary News
- Race 2 - Lisbon (Portugal) to Havana (Cuba) - Diary
from The End of Race 2 (or was it?)
18 of the second race and we are finally approaching the Caribbean after some
two and half weeks at sea. There is
still some distance to go before we arrive in Havana (almost 2000 miles in
fact), but it is beginning to feel like there is an end to the Atlantic.
We are due to put our clocks back tomorrow for the penultimate time
before we arrive in Havana and this too seems to bring the end closer.
has been a long and hard trek across the pond.
Looking at the computer every two hours (as I have to when fixing our
position for the ship's log book), it seems that we hardly move. Days seem to go past but time stands still.
The routine is endless, and the break brought about by mother watch seems
to take forever to come round, and is over before it has really begun.
Everyone on board is going slightly stir-crazy.
hasn't helped that so many of the boat's systems have broken down for one reason
or another. We've had severe problems with our communications, caused by the
phone breaking down and both computers and the short band radio packing up.
Sending emails and speaking to Rachel and my parents on the ship's phone
is the only way to maintain some sort of grip on normality, if only for a short
while, and to have that taken away has proved surprisingly difficult.
race has been an extremely demanding endurance exercise for me and it is one
that I am looking forward to bringing to a close.
Four weeks is a long time if you're working 14 hour days, 7 days a week,
with no more than about 4 hours sleep at any one time.
I don't think that I'll really appreciate how tired I've become until
I've had a couple of nights away from the boat when we get to Cuba.
There's no escape from the routine, or from the pressure, or from the
rest of the crew - and as we all go slightly mad, tensions inevitably start to
it's an experience that I'll no doubt look back on from the comfort of my
armchair and be very proud of, I have to confess that I haven't particularly
enjoyed it. There will be other
long trips, although none quite as long as this one, but I hope that my
increased experienced by the time those trips come around will make life much
turning right at the Canaries (technical term), we started to steal a march on
some of the other boats. It was
interesting to see the tactics being used by the other skippers as they all made
the decision to turn right at different times.
After several days going west, the positions started to become clear.
New York had taken a flyer and were some 240 miles ahead, which is the
equivalent of more than a full day's run for a Clipper boat.
Bristol were second, about 90 miles behind them, and the rest of the
fleet all followed. We'd moved up
to fifth place and, during the course of the next two weeks, we wormed our way
through the pack and reappeared in second place just in time for the final push
towards the Caribbean. Everything looked promising for both an arrival on time and a
place on the podium.
as we entered the Caribbean, someone turned the fan off and we stalled with just
250 miles to go. Without our middle
spinnaker, we were at a huge disadvantage and the other boats started to come
through us as we sat there waiting to catch even a puff of wind.
For some reason, the wind-hole which trapped us was extremely localised
and allowed all of the others to pass.
ETA kept slipping. From second
place, we dropped alarmingly to eighth and it looked at one point as though we
were actually going backwards. Knowing
that loved ones were waiting (and waiting) for us to arrive in Havana made the
wait unbearable. It was like we
finally scraped home in 6th place just minutes before Glasgow, who came 7th,
and Cape Town, who came 8th.
York were the winners, finishing 36 hours before us, with Bristol in second
place and Jersey in third. The
final five boats all arrived within about 90 minutes - amazing considering the
race had been over some 4,500 miles over 29 days.
was gutted about our low position, especially when we were just 250 miles out,
we were comfortably in third place and looking at a second podium finish.
However, bearing in mind what happened when we got to Cuba, it was a
blessing in disguise.
you could try calling London but you wouldn't have had much luck! For the last two weeks of the race to Cuba, London has been
out of contact with the outside world. We
could neither send nor receive email, we could only telephone occasionally when
the telephone decided to work, and our long distance radio had not worked since
the start of the race.
sorry for the delay in updating the website.
for communication in Cuba, well they are gently working their way into the
computer age, but email and internet access was sparse and slow.
So thanks for all the messages of support - it's great to hear from you -
and apologies for not responding to you all.
Panama is supposedly much better.
A Cup glory
great to catch up with news from home when you arrive in port after a long
passage. But to hear that Man Utd
are going out of the third round of the F A Cup was just fantastic - especially
as it will be Pompey who knock them out. There
are a number of Man Utd fans who will be reading this and all I can do is offer
my commiserations - better luck next year!
Habana - and never a dull moment!
starting to realise that in this Race, just when everything seems to be settling
down, something unexpected will happen. Having
arrived 4 days late into Havana, I was looking forward to seeing Rachel and
relaxing for a few days but before we could escape, the story took yet another
turn - the Admiral resigned.
hadn't been happy for a large part of the trip across the Atlantic and
communication between him and the rest of the crew had become strained to the
point of snapping. Whilst the
general feeling was one of relief amongst the crew for the Admiral having done
the decent thing, Clipper were having none of it and refused to accept his
resignation. So, the last thing I
heard before my escape was that the
Admiral was sailing with us to Panama - and half the crew were vowing to jump
ship and fly to Panama to pick the boat up when the new skipper arrived.
were entered into between Clipper, the Admiral and, seemingly, whoever fancied
chipping in. Rachel and I ran away
to Varadero, a beach resort about two hours away from Havana.
we got back a few days later, we had a new skipper.
The Admiral had gone and London's new skipper, at least until Hawaii, is
Ed Green, better known in these pages as Ranting Ed or Hippy Skippy.
Ed was my Part B skipper - see the earlier diary entries. Ed comes to us
following a podium place with Jersey, so we're hoping that his success rubs off
on his seriously disheartened crew.
what of the Admiral? And was it a
good thing that he went? I think
that, on the whole, it was. He'd
never really raced with amateurs before and had difficulty accepting our
shortcomings. He's used to sailing
with first class sailors when no doubt his hugely competitive nature is
invaluable but with us - and with the benefit of hindsight - it was never really
going to work. When we started losing places at the end of Race 2 he became
aggressive but then seemed to give up on us.
He left a lot of people on edge and we were not a happy boat by the time
we reached Cuba. I'm glad that he
has gone as - sadly - I don't think
things would have got any better in Race 3 or beyond.
now have to try and improve morale whilst getting used to a new skipper -
another huge challenge. As I
write this several days into our run to Panama, the mood has changed remarkably
on board. We are finally starting
to have fun and we're certainly more relaxed.
had the most amazing sunset this evening. The
sky was a myriad colours amongst the light clouds and we all watched as the sun
slowly set to starboard. I've
already seen some amazing sunrises and sunsets on this trip and will no doubt
see many more but today's was the best so far.
Didn't last long though - it's now chucking it down! That's Caribbean weather for you.