I had a hunch the course setter would be on the water with us this month. As he seems to like a close start to his home waters I guessed this would be in the serpent infested waters of the far west and so it turned out to be. Not wanting to have to get up at 4am and sail for 4/5 hours before even starting a long cold fast cruise sail on the water, fortunately some of the crew helped me ferry Ronhilda this month to Gosport and so they and I set off on Friday after midday. We knew the wind was stong but from the North West so no swell just a short wave fetch. This was true but the wind was so strong in the gusts ( well over 30kts) the crew complained their teas etc was being blown out if the cups and replaced by water shipping over the bow and being blown straight into the cockpit. Earl Grey tea made with cold Hayling Bay water is not good.
The Clipper fleet were looked after well in Sydney. The stopover was hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, a fabulous club in Rushcutter Bay, which also hosts the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race, starting on 26 December, race 5 in the Clipper RTW race schedule.
As the midpoint of the race this stopover was longer than previous stopovers because the boats were lifted for external cleaning and maintenance, as well as the usual internal deep clean and damage repairs, but this did allow for some extra time for crews to relax and recover from the race from Albany.
The Clipper winner's presentations for race 4 were hosted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, one of the LSC's reciprocal clubs. My boat, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, came in 2nd place so we have now achieved 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th places and in the overall standings are in 2nd place.
The Race to Sydney
Race 4 has been described as the toughest race yet on this race. I have nothing to compare it with personally but it was certainly a tough initiation into Clipper racing.
The winds across the Great Australian Bight are expected to change from easterlies to south westerlies at the beginning of the summer season but this year they did not change as expected. As a result of this and a high pressure system, the first week of the race across the Great Australian Bight to the south of Tasmania was a constant beat into shifting winds gusting up to 50 knots at times for several days, requiring multiple sail changes and constant trimming. This added an extra 400nm or so to the route, 2100nm route.
Chris Cox, a friend and a member of the Royal Temple Yacht Club at Ramsgate is very keen to crew in the 2016 ARC. Although having registered with the ARC so far he has had little success in finding a berth. As a member of a club where many LSC members have enjoyed the convivial surroundings and a friendly welcome over very many years, I thought I would put his requirements on our website just in case anyone knew of someone, or were themselves, taking part in the forthcoming ARC and could help Chris find a berth.
If you are, or do, please let either me or Chris know. I'm know he would be more than grateful.
Sylvia Chesters has set sail; Leg 4 of the Clipper Round the World Race has begun! Full details of the route are available on the Clipper website here where you can follow the progress of GREAT Britain & Northern Ireland and positions of all the boats in the Race Standings.
The 2,088 nautical miles from Albany to Sydney will take the racers through some of the most inhospitable and treacherous waters on the planet:
So on my way to Australia to join the Clipper race, I have just spent two days on the river Tembling in Taman Negara (National Park) in Malaysia. Preparation for the Clipper race? Well, it's an extremely wet experience, getting soaked either in the monsoon or on the river or just because in the high humidity it is difficult not to sweat continuously!
The 16 seater narrow boats that transport the visitors and locals around the river, driven from the stern with a Yamaha outboard motor at full throttle, can and need to move fast to navigate upstream against the flow. They are low in the water and the roof does little to protect passengers once a rain storm is underway.
HPO David Lakeman
For October's Fast Cruise Ronhilda had a reduced crew and his skipper was still suffering from, and had not recovered from, his appendix operation in July. So it was decided the journey from his Gulag located in the far east in Chichesterstan would be taken easily and the actual cruise would be with a small sail plan.