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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2 - Training Part B (6th to 13th March 2002)

"Quicker, Harder, Faster, Better"

I completed my Part A training about four months ago and except for some revision of the notes that I was sent by Clipper, I’ve given the sailing aspect of my trip very little thought – which on reflection may sound a little strange.  I’ve realised over the last few months that there’s a lot more to this experience than “simply” sailing round the world.

But I was very pleased to get back to the sailing.  Once you get to Part B you’re expected to know the basics  – so I hoped I’d remember what I learnt on Part A.

We were now expected to develop the competitive side of our sailing and, for those of us who are interested in being watch-leaders during the Race, our leadership skills.  Each Clipper will have at least two watch-leaders who will assist the skipper in the day to day running of the boat.  So, to develop those skills, welcome to the “Clipper Olympics”.

I began the week by being re-united with Glasgow Clipper – the boat on which I’d spent Part A.  Ed, who had skippered Glasgow in last year’s race, was our skipper for the week.  Wally (aka Kathy Wallace), who had been a watch-leader on Plymouth Clipper, was his first mate.  The usual introductions took place - I’ll take my tea and coffee white with no sugar, I’m a round-the-worlder, my sailing experience is limited and I like my chips chunky, with batter scraps and curry sauce and a pint of real ale.  (Ed required this last bit of information as an icebreaker.)

Ed’s a very experienced skipper who’s also “a bit of a long-haired nutter” – his words.  He made it very clear that apart from the safety aspect, the most important part of his boat was that it should be fun.  It certainly was!  By making it fun, he created an environment perfect for developing the skills that we were there to learn.  As long as we supplied him with “skippy juice”, (a very strong coffee) and responded to his war cry – quicker, harder, faster, better, quicker, harder, faster, better - everyone was happy. 

I was also re-united with some old foes.  Chris, Andrew, Richard and Barry who had all been on board Portsmouth Clipper during Part A now joined me on board Glasgow Clipper.  I promised to help them reach our standard as soon as possible but they were more interested in honing their song-writing skills – the result, “Frantic Ed” to the tune of Cliff Richard’s “Living Doll”.  Martin, Ruth, Ross and Tom made up the rest of the crew, along with Ian who is a potential skipper for the 2002 Race. 

And then we got started.  The Clipper Olympics were to take place over two days on Sunday and Monday against London Clipper, also full of Part B sailors.  We therefore had four days to refresh our memories and then – well, quicker, harder, faster, better.  The weather was glorious, with lots of sun and light winds, and it was absolutely perfect for training. 

We practised Le Mans starts (hoisting the two sails at the bow, the headsail and the staysail from a standing start in the cockpit), headsail changes, reefs in the mainsail (reducing the size of the mainsail), reefs out of the mainsail, hoisting the spinnaker, dropping the spinnaker, packing and re-hoisting the spinnaker – quicker, harder, faster, better.  Failure was met with withering abuse from Ed (“you numpties”) - all in the best possible taste. 

We practised at sea for eleven hours a day.

And then the big day.  A double decathlon.  The scoring went as follows:-

1. Le Mans start  1 – 0 to Glasgow
2. Racing headsail change  1 – 1
3.  Racing headsail change 2 – 1 to Glasgow
4. Headsail pack  3 – 1 to Glasgow
5. Le Mans start too close to call
6. Le Mans start  4 – 1 to Glasgow

 

Break for lunch and team talk - Quicker, harder, faster, better.

7. Reef in  5 – 1 to Glasgow
8. Reef out    6 – 1 to Glasgow
9. Le Mans start   7 – 1 to Glasgow
10. Spinnaker hoist    7 – 2 to Glasgow
11. Spinnaker drop, headsail up  8 – 2 to Glasgow

A hugely successful day for Glasgow.  We invited the London crew for some beers on board when we were back in port, a real Clipper tradition that left the competitive racing on the water and got everyone together for a drink – one of the highlights of racing with Clipper.

Day two was very similar, with a final score of Glasgow 15 – 5 London. 

And then there was our song.  There’s a lot of time to kill on an ocean going yacht.  Activity is intermittent and when it happens, it’s frantic.  So the Portsmouth Clipper boys got us all writing a song – Frantic Ed.  The full song is below.

Another fantastic week.  I now feel capable of being a crewmember, and maybe a watch-leader, on a Round the World yacht race.   Now the excitement really begins.

 

Frantic Ed

(To the tune of Cliff Richard’s Living Doll)

"Gonna do it quicker, faster, harder, better for frantic Ed,

Got to do our best to please him, just ‘cos he’s a ranting Ed,

You’re gonna get the star of Lewmar, if you place the car too far,

Got the one and only dancing, prancing ranting Ed.

Well take a look at his hair, it’s real, and if you don’t believe what I say, just feel,

Can’t get him out of his bunk, until, he’s drunk his morning skippy juice,

Got the one and only numpty, dumpty ranting Ed.

 

Also do it quicker, faster, harder, better for Screaming Wal,

Got to do our best to please her, just ‘cos she’s our screaming Wal,

Give the boom a rise and that is how we scandalise the main,

Got the one and only smoking, joking screaming Wal.

Well take a look at that luff, it’s trim, and if you don’t believe what I say, just feel,

Gonna tie her up in her bunk, so no young hunk can take her away from us.

 

 

Saw some people crying, sighing, failing, weeping, London crew,

They tried their best to beat us, couldn’t defeat us, London crew,

But their self-belief was brief, when asked to reef, it came to grief,

They’re the one and only boozing, cruising, London crew.

Take a look at their kite, it’s sh**e, and if you don’t believe what I say, ask Mike,

They’ll have to stop eating their cakes, to practice their flakes, so the Pieman can smile again

 

We’re the one and only quicker, faster, harder, better, winning Glasgow crew!"

 

Click on the thumbnail below to expand the picture:

B_A_happy_crew.jpg (152759 bytes)  A motley crew. From left to right: Barry, Chris, Wally, Ian, Me, Richard and Martin.
B_Bow_down.jpg (118978 bytes) In action.
B_Trimming_the_Spinny.jpg (149058 bytes) Rule number one. Be careful what you sit on before trimming the spinnaker.

 

Click here for part 3 - London Pride - Crew Allocation (6th July 2002)

 

 

 

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