Clipper Returns to London

Well yesterday we came full circle , my friends in the team returned to London and won the last race from Holland. Overall GB came second to Henri Lloyd and all teams returned safely .


It was emotional day to see the people I had trained with and sailed with all in one pace. I set out to circumnavigate and completed 10,000 miles. I am very comfortable with my decision to stop at Cape Town as this has given space for Caitriona and I to buy a house together and move forwards into the future. 


If you are reading this and considering the race my advice is to talk to as many people as you can about the race , the challenges and rewards – I sailed in good weather , bad weather and scary weather. We had great moments and frightening moments. The biggest challenge I found was the relentless watch system of 4 hours on and off at night and 6 hours on and off in the day with no weekends to recover. The highlights were the amazing starts and finishes , the team , the training , wildlife , exciting ports  , sunsets , stars , dolphins , whales and conversations about all sorts in the early hours…. as well as all sorts of sailing.  I look back now and see Clipper as a wonderful experience and transition from 30 years of the corporate merry go round to new horizons. 

If you are thinking of signing up go for it, but do your homework so you understand the size of the challenge

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9,811 Miles Sailed

One of the crew worked out we sailed 9,811 miles since leaving mid August from Gosport to Cape Town



Gosport – London
378 miles
4 days
24 Night hours

London – Brest
437 miles
3 days
16 night hours

Brest – Rio
5450 miles
29 days
174 night hours

Rio – Cape Town
3546 miles
15 days
90 night hours

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£5522 raised for Cancer Research

At the time of writing we have raised £5522 for Cancer Research – thank you for all your kind donations that will go to helping the fight against this awful disease


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I will miss….

For those on the boat still – I miss you all but in particular Ollie laughing at Squirrel getting soaked , Discussions with Linz on the shapes stars and clouds are making , what wine Weeksy and I will drink in London , Teasing Neil (the best boss Ive never had) on his time in the ‘Nav’ (getting warm) , Jakes ‘bland’ cooking , Nikkis enticement of leggers in sail mending , Ionies enthusiasm for her camera , Jims daily ‘alo world’ , Owens rugby chats ( Springboks who?) , Steves regular rebuilding of the boat , Squirrels mischief ‘can you hold  this rope for me Mike’.. for 2 hours ..Bens unending enthusiasm  for the race and Daves and Mark the Helmsmaster all round support for  the ‘trimmers’ . I also miss my mates Trev and Neil from levels 1 and two and really regret not sailing with them. Finally Gil – I hope you have got them all to sing

For those who left the boat in Rio and Cape Town Ill miss Cheddar’s focus on safety and time on the grinder , Marcus for his world famous dance of the ‘lawnmower service’ , Claire’s laugh from on deck , Doms shouts of ‘Helm change’ as she and Mark navigated us safely to Rio , Wills desire to be involved in everything , Bhav coming on deck in a T shirt when all others were in foulies, Dale ‘top speed off course’ humour , Geoffs ‘niche’ quiz question on Northern sports grounds and Kristie’s lilting wake up calls in the morning

Port Watch (Minus Chedder in Bed)


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Race Four Leaving

A dozen of the friends and families of GB hired a RIB for the race start and we left at 12 to follow the GB race to the start. We had with us Angela Ionies sister , Ollies dad and Uncle , Simons family , Owens Mum and dad , Liz Marchant , Evlyn Heywood my brother and I

We followed the boat and then saw some whale spouts so sped off North for a mile to get in some free whale watching much to the excitement of all on board – I was more cautious having spent weeks trying to avoid them sinking us ! The boats performed the usual parade of sail for marketing photos then whizzed this way and that before the 10 minute gun and start. GB had a good start but settled into third or fourth after the second mark. We did a final wave farewell and the team headed off to the Southern Ocean and the huge winds the are currently experiencing

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Cape Town

I decided to leave the Clipper race in Cape Town after the third race. The GB team were really good and we had many good and many challenging times. The new boats were harder to sail than those I trained on and I made a decision I had had the experience I wanted on Races one to Three and I had no need to do the full circumnavigation. Yes I would miss more good and challenging experiences but I also have many good things at home to enjoy . We sailed 9000 miles  which is much more than most people do in life so I am very content with this decision. In three races we got a first,  third and eighth so I leave the boat in second place overall , not shabby – most people do two to three races so I sit with the majority of Clipper participants.

Cape Town was a wonderful final destination and Clipper held an amazing party with a great band and free wine. The highlight had to be Neil Marchant joining the band on stage to play the bag pipes to find them continuing to play and Neil inventing African pipe music. We also found my old HR Director Bill Parsons in Cape Town and he and Allison joined us for the night.

Caitriona and I had a wonderful week being tourists then my brother arrived for a second weeks holiday – two weeks after eating out in Cape Town daily I weighed myself in the UK to find I’ve lost 1 1/2 stone after three races and two weeks of holiday !

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Prize Giving

After the prize giving GB is second overall in the race  – we even had the deputy PM say well done


4 ONE DLL 24




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First place from Rio to Cape Town

GB and ARM arrived to beer champagne and family , as I put onto Facebook I have decided to step off the boat here after a three month adventure. Going away for twelve months after getting married in April was too long so ill be heading back to the UK!after two weeks of break here in Africa

Here is the link to the film of our arrival :





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Closing on Cape Town

The final three days of the race were really had. We were in the lead 20miles from Invest in Africa and then Henri Lloyd who were doing everything they could to catch us. The wind rose and we moved from spinnakers to white flat sails. Life at forty five degrees began again and sleeping in my starboard bunk on the high side was a nightmare. The boat was heeled right up and you first had to pull bunk to near vertical then tie the lee cloth tight to stop falling six foot into the corridor. Blogging came a secondary task as we re surviving at best

The team had learned to hate the Yankee one sail which was a huge bit of canvas and now nicknamed Simon after our skipper as it was a bit of a xxxx to change to a two ! Simon the skipper asked for a change just before our night watch and the other watch did this. We expected a mid,night change and a soaking. The wind was kind and eased so we had a quiet edgy night but no sail change

As we headed towards Cape Town the wind totally died , were we about to see Invest or Henri Lloyd sail past us in the last few miles ? We raised the wind seeker sail and puffs of wind arrived , we flew over the line at 10knots to screams of delight. We then had an hour sorting sails when poor Lyndsey caught her finger in the main block and tore it but did not break it.

We then sailed into Cape Town to be greeter by a crowd of supporters and new crew getting on for the next race , a wonderful experience to get first place







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Tues 22/10/13 Day 11 albatross

Albatross ! Yes I was reminded of the Monty Python
sketch when I saw my first Albatross swooping above the wave to follow the
boat. Another wonderful wildlife sight.

We have had a few days with good wind
and flying the kite making 10 to
twenty knots and averaging 12.7 knots with
huge surfs down big waves. In the day
this can be fun but at night
with no moon or stars its a bit hairy!

I have been busy trimming the boat and
we have now begun to use three people at the
same time to grind the spinnaker
in as it collapses. This has given a good
workout and kept us warm in the
colder climate. We are now into day counting for
a Cape Town arrival with the sweep on boats going from Friday late to Monday
early , I have Saturday 4PM,
so Caitriona can be there for my arrival !

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