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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43 - Bobbing Around  - July 2003

After all the hype, it didn't do what it said on the tin.  Our journey round the Cape of Good Hope, rather than being a battle against the raw elements, turned into a bobbing race to the line.  So no stories of survival round the Cape from me - apart from the boredom.

With less than 100 miles to go, we thought a late finish on Saturday would be on the cards but the wind had other ideas.  Firstly it became changeable, so that it blew from whatever direction we wanted to go in.   It is not possible to sail towards the wind and we had to tack our way to the target.  However, in a big sailing yacht like a Clipper 60, it is particularly frustrating as with every tack, you feel as if you are going back to where you have just come from.   Then the wind died.

By about 9am on Monday morning, we were within 10 miles of the finish line.  All day, we had wonderful views of Table Mountain and we could see people in Cape Town going about their lives as we sat about a mile off-shore going no-where.  In fact, that is not true.  We were moving - we drifted backwards away from the line at one stage and had to get our anchor on deck to stop our distance to the finish increasing!

It was a horrible day for everyone on board, especially those of us who had family waiting to greet us.  Watching the hours tick by was awful and what I found especially frustrating was that some of the boats at the back of the race simply retired and motored past us and were in the bar whilst we continued to wait for the finish line. 

We finally crossed the line at about 6pm, in third place and the race was immediately abandoned.  The remaining few boats out on the course were allowed to motor in.  Cape Town was dark by the time we got to see any off it from the shore.

Cape Town

It was worth the wait, what a great stopover - Cape Town is fantastic.  When we did eventually arrive, it was fantastic to see Rachel and Mum & Dad waiting to welcome me in with a bottle of bubbly. 

Then on to sightseeing.  In the few days that we had there, we crammed in Table Mountain, Boulders beach (which is the home to a penguin colony), Stellenbosch and the winelands and Robben Island, as well as plenty of time at the Victoria and Albert waterfront in Cape Town.  And the food and wine was superb.  I will be going back.

A Prior Engagement

Cape Town was fantastic but what made it really special was that Rachel and I got engaged.  We celebrated with a meal including crocodile schnitzels, ostrich steaks, springbok steaks, blue marlin, lobster...and South African "champagne" of course.

Click here for diary 44 - Race 13 - Cape Town to Salvador, Brazil - July 2003

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