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.
4- Welcome aboard London First! (7th July 2002)
Sunday 7 July. 9am. Alarm has gone off. Head hurts. Kit not ready. Memory not good. Two and a half hours to get ship shape and head off aboard my new home.
I’d agreed to sail the boat back from London to Southampton, which was a great chance to meet my new skipper, and some of my new crew and also to get more experience on board. Not great timing though – the night before had been all about a getting to know each other and although it hadn’t quite worked in that I couldn’t remember who I was getting to know, I assumed they must be OK if I felt like this.
I arrived to find the London boat defaced! Whilst the main sponsor of the boat is “London First”, an unknown saboteur had taped over the stern of the boat and altered this to “London Last”! The first psychological battle had been won already! The conspiracy theories were already raging by the time I arrived, equal in ingenuity only to the theories surrounding the assassination of JFK.
The fleet of eight boats set off out of the Royal Albert Dock towards the River Thames. We were waved off by a group of people who were clearly on a motivational course, and were happy to give us a taste of what 27 October will be like. We used the engines to get out of the River Thames, before sweating up the sails and heading out to sea.
It was a fantastic experience to set off round the Kent coast. We sailed past Dover, dodging the ferries as we went, before turning to head down the channel and along the south coast.
But what was more challenging was sailing against the wind. This is known, amongst other things, as “sailing uphill”, and is especially challenging in coastal water as it tends to be more choppy and the boat is prone to bounce around. On top of this the watch system was introduced in order to keep the boat sailing throughout the night. It was a very uncomfortable trip, but was good experience - we’ll be spending most of the real trip sailing downhill with the trade winds behind us.
We got back into Southampton in good time, taking just over 24 hours.