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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6 - Formal Training - Part C - early September 2002
Part C is the last formal training, consisting of races around the British Coast. The first two training periods took the boats from Southampton to Cardiff and then from Cardiff to Bristol, via Cork. Round-the-Worlders are required to undertake two training periods whilst leggers are required to undertake only one.
I joined the boat in Bristol for the third training period up to Liverpool. There was a good feel about London Clipper after two very successful training periods, despite limited numbers on board. We had a crew of eleven so we were very positive.
We set out early on Tuesday morning and headed out of Bristol, through the lock at the end of the channel and under the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Eight Clipper yachts sailing out of Bristol must have been an impressive sight and despite the early hour, a crowd of people waved us off.
We were there to race, so once into the Bristol Channel, we lined up to race. It’s in these early stages of the races that I really fancy our chances to do well.
The “Admiral”, our skipper, is an exceptional racing yachtsman who’s sailed for many years and is determined to win. His enthusiasm and confidence are contagious and he excels at giving us the best possible start to each race – and this one was no exception. Unfortunately, there was no wind, and after flopping about for several hours, there was no option but to fire up the engine in the hope that we’d find some wind further round the coast.
We tried again the next day. The wind was good, the start line was set and the race started. Again the wind died. Part C is all about racing but all we were experiencing was life in the Doldrums. So the engine went back on, the Admiral and Cress went backside surfing off the side of the boat to keep morale up - and our suntans were coming along very nicely.
It seemed that whenever no race was planned, the wind sprang up and we had good passages under sail. We also had a great run ashore in Pwllheli in North Wales. Lots of fun but not much racing.
Eventually, we arrived in Liverpool and enjoyed a bit of showing off, formation sailing for the cameras. Then I set off home for my last few weeks sailing a desk.