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
- All hands on deck - Eastern Pacific - March 2003
is the most frightening experience that we have had so far - the cry of
"all hands on deck". London have had four of these in the last two races but they
are never something that you get used to.
any one time, at least half the crew are below decks and probably asleep. It is
usual for the sleeping crew to be woken by a gentle nudge and a "time to
get up" call. When you are
woken by a cry from the deck, something is clearly serious.
You jump out of your bunk, which may not be that easy if the boat is on
its ear, and then get kitted up for deck as quickly as possible so as to go and
help out. In the rush, I have
forgotten my ear plugs twice - doesn't help when trying to hear Rory's
instructions when on deck.
kitted up is the easy bit. What I
have found to be the most disturbing aspect are the games your mind plays during
the few minutes that you are getting ready.
What is wrong up there? Who
has gone over the side? What has been irreparably damaged?
What dangers await? What
injuries have been caused? The
adrenaline kicks in very quickly. As
do the drills when you get on deck.
has already described the first call when our heavyweight kite was destroyed
several days out of Hawaii.
second call was the day before we arrived in Japan.
Having been speeding along with the wind behind us and our No 1 headsail
poled out, achieving a personal best speed of 20.3 knots (Simon wanted his
moment of fame!), the wind increased to about 55 to 60 knots and we had to get
the headsail down quickly. Whilst
dropping it, it got caught under the front of the boat - all hands were needed
to pull the sail back in. Fortunately,
the sail was not damaged and we think that we cleaned the bottom of the boat at
the same time.
far the most serious of the all hands calls came just hours later.
As a watch change came upon us at 2am, the winds and seas appeared to be
calming down and consideration was being given to sticking more sail up when the
wind suddenly picked up drastically. As
the boat heeled heavily, Jazz fell and suffered a serious back injury in the
blessing was that everyone was still up after the watch change but it was still
a frightening experience to see one of our crewmates suffering so much and it
took over an hour to stabilise the boat and organise for Jazz to be lowered down
below, using a floorboard from the forepeak, without causing any further damage
to the extensive injuries that she appeared to have.
I am still very impressed at the calm way that Rory, our skipper, dealt
with the situation and the way that every crewmember did their bit to help make
Jazz as comfortable as possible and sail the boat as quickly and safely as
possible to get to the help that was needed.
It was not until we had experienced the air sea rescue and been able to
get Jazz to an ambulance that everyone seemed to take a moment to reflect on
what had happened. None of us want
to go through that again.
just also thanking the Japanese authorities for the tremendous assistance that
they gave and well done to Colin and Clipper for everything that they did to
help - the entire London crew are very grateful.
We are all very pleased to hear that Jazzy is making a rapid recovery and
will soon be back with us.
fourth and most recent all hands call came on the race to Shanghai when our
steering failed with our new heavyweight kite up - not keen on thinking what
Clipper would have thought if we had trashed a second heavyweight in two races!
With no steering, the boat went over on its side and with the sails
flogging desperately, I was convinced we would be adding to the list of damage
that has accumulated since Hawaii. Happily,
the only damage that was caused was to the rope (which was cut) that was
securing the emergency
So London has had its fair share of excitement in recent weeks on this front - we are all hoping for a few boring watches and incident free races now.