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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23 - Race 6 - Hawaii to Yokohama - March 2003

Message in  Bottle

To mark the crossing of the date line, I threw a bottle over the side with a message sealed inside it, giving details of the date, time, position from which it was launched and my contact details.  I'll wait to see if I ever get a response.  The general view on board is that the only response I'm likely to receive is a fine from the US Navy for littering the oceans.

Birthday boy

It was strange to see in my birthday this year at midnight by going onto deck for the start of another watch.  The weather was fairly calm for the whole day and for the first time, I was able to sunbathe on my birthday.  It's the first sober birthday I've had since I was about 16..  The rest of the crew presented me with a cake and a card but despite numerous hints,  they wouldn't allow me off duty at all during the day.  Certainly a birthday to remember though, especially as we hit first place that day.

Latest progress report for race 6

Life has been very different since my last report.  After we turned north, we put the kites away until at least Japan as the weather will now be blowing from more or less where we are headed.   So it's back to living at 45 degrees for about 2 weeks.  Not only that, the weather systems tend to be extreme, so we're either sitting on a millpond (not very often) or beating into a force 9 gale getting absolutely soaked every time we step onto deck (most of the time!).  I've learnt a lot about low and high pressure systems as they tend to form off Japan and we are doing our best to avoid the worst of them, including hurricane force winds.

It's also got cold.  I've put my shorts away and dug out my sleeping bag for the first time since we left Portugal nearly four months ago.  For the final week, we can expect to be cold and wet but hopefully not too miserable.

The race itself has gone very well for us.  We've been in first place for several days now, although we have Hong Kong snapping at our heels.  The race is split into two groups: the northern group, which is almost everyone; and the southern group consisting only of Jersey and Bristol.  We've been leading the northerners for some time now and our distance to go is considerably better than the southerners - but they cant be written off, as they're likely to experience completely different weather than us for the next week.  It should make for an exciting finish.

The other thing to report is the ridiculous number of things that have got broken on this trip.  There was the heavyweight kite incident which I've already written about, but on top of that, the generator has broken down, so we cannot make any fresh water - we're limited to 6 cups of water a day, with no showers, and all cooking to be done with saltwater - the spaghetti last night was disgusting.  To recharge the batteries, we have to use the main engine, but that needless to say, that is not working very efficiently, so we're also rationing the power.  The heads have broken (again) so to flush the loo, we need to pour jugs of water down the pans.  The lights at the top of the mast have packed up, as have the compass lights, which makes driving the boat at night a little chaotic.  Add to that the broken guardrail at the bow, the broken block for the headsail sheet and we're left with a boat which seems to be held together by masking tape and sail ties.  Oh, and my bunk leaks, which I consider to be the most important of all!  We are all just waiting for something else to go wrong.

 

Click here for diary entry 24 - Sailing Fashion (by Jazz Black).

 

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