22 September 2019

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race blog: Over and Over Again

July 7, 2014
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There has been plenty of time for the imagination to run into overdrive during these past few weeks at sea. It often feels as though we are in a movie somewhere between The Truman Show, Groundhog Day and Big Brother. For those of you unfamiliar with the aforementioned I will try and explain what I mean.


To start with we have a very strict watch rotation system in order for the boat to continue racing and the crew to get adequate rest. Each time you wake up (which happens five times every forty eight hours) it is the same process with the only variation being the food and temperature. The type of meal is the only thing that helps me remember what time of day it is when I wake up and the temperature dictates how many layers I have to put on.


Climbing onto deck after your rest the view is usually the same. There is a round circle of water that you are in the middle of and the only variation is the sea state and the weather. This feeling is even stronger in the Atlantic when we went days without seeing signs of any ships. We are completely reliant on the computer navigation system that tells us, apparently, we are getting closer to land. I have to admit at times it felt like we were in a goldfish bowl going nowhere.

This is a race but also an experience. A professional skipper and group of amateur sailors from all walks of life put together on a seventy foot yacht and sent out to sea. It could be a psychologists dream watching events unfold and sometimes it is hard to escape the feeling of being watched; I’m assured the two on deck cameras are purely for safety purposes.


It might have felt we were making no progress at times in the Atlantic, but heading around Scotland was a different matter as the Isle of St Kilda became rather too familiar. By that I mean the view as I climbed onto deck was showing the same piece of rock from slightly different angles on three occasions. The flat calm conditions and very slight wind were not what I was expecting from the north of Scotland. The lack of wind and a current in the wrong direction meant progress became painfully slow; meaning we actually calculated a negative distance to the finish line on one watch. The most frustrating part was it seemed to be only us in this position and all we could do was wait for the wind to return whilst our competitors put in more miles.

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