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.
- Thoughts from Hong Kong - April 2003
Am now in Thailand with Rachel, for a well earned break having reached Hong Kong, the halfway point of the Race. It is great to relax after a stressful (well, drunk) first few days in HK which included two days at the Hong Kong Sevens watching England win the final - how good was that! Then went out drinking with the England team - as you do.
Arriving in Japan completed our journey across the Pacific Ocean. It was a seven week rollercoaster ride. The sailing has been exhilarating, surfing down huge waves and hanging on to the wheel for dear life as we are swept along at breakneck speeds - well 15 knots. Top speed was recorded as 20.8 knots - Rory, our skipper showing us how it should be done.
Since then, we have had two races in the coastal waters off China, firstly to Shanghai only for the stopover there to be cancelled and then on down through the Taiwan Straits to Hong Kong, watching the temperatures slowly rise but the winds steadily drop as we dodged the hundreds of fishing boats that were everywhere. The last week into Hong Kong was the most frustrating race so far as we flopped around for about 4 days travelling about 50 miles a day. Until the carnage of the last night hit us.
The races have been disappointing for us since the Galapagos as we have been in excellent positions only to run out of wind in the final stages of races or have a disaster of some form and then watch others cruise past us. The London wind hole is driving us all a little crazy, as are the dramatic changes of luck that we have experienced.
Mind you, I am just happy to have made it to Hong Kong! The list of breakages includes the following - generator and watermaker (no fresh water or showers for five weeks), two heavyweight kites, AP kite, spinnaker pole, long range aeriel, guardrails down the side and at the bow, engine cover, heads, ropes, winches, blocks. With five days to go into Japan, we had no fresh water and were down to water rationing, no gas so we were eating cold food, power rationing as the generator was not working, it was very cold and my bunk was soaking wet! Why am I doing this!? It was a fantastic feeling to get to Japan after all that and actually, I really enjoyed it - easy to say now with a beer within reach.
We also had the excitement of an air sea rescue on the way into Japan and a Chinese gybe on the way into Hong Kong. The rescue was for one of our round the worlders, Jazz, who fell on to a winch in heavy seas and we were very concerned that she had broken her pelvis or maybe even her back. Jazz suffered a very badly bruised back but is now ready and raring to go again when we leave Hong Kong.
Our latest calamity was a Chinese gybe which is when the wind gets on the wrong side of the boat and pushes the boat over on it's side - very strange to be hanging onto the mast watching it (the mast) nearly touching the water, although all I could think about at the time was how annoying it was going to be with wet feet again, having only just dried them!
Due to set off from Hong Kong on 17 April for a three day race to San Fernando before we head to Singapore and then on to Mauritius. There is a general feeling that we are now on our way home now and I am already looking forward to all those home comforts that have become such a distant memory.
That first pint has a lot to live up to!