Coming in thick + fast

A great deal seems to have happened since Great Britain glided to a halt next to pier 40 what seems like several years ago.

Life seems just so surreal at the moment … I still cannot quite get my mind round the facts, that in not so many days we will be racing. This is the quiet before the action kicks off.

Yesterday started as all days with a quick fix of armchair sailing courtesy of Yellow Brick – OneDLL + Qingdao fighting it out to the finishing line under the Golden Gate Bridge. Down at Clipper HQ I am reliably informed that the boats will be in during the morning – not enough info to plan my day around so instead I decide to rent a bike + cycle round to Tiburon.

Cycling was not quite an unparalleled success, the first thing I did was to clip some fat guy who wandered without looking straight into my path while I attempted a very English ‘I say, excuse me!’ by way of an alarm. Not brimming with navigational confidence I then lost my way only to spot other cyclists and then I was sorted.

Cycling the bridge – possibly a good photo op if I had others to photograph but only me so I didn’t bother. Looking over the side (briefly + snatched so not to cycle into one or more of the many pedestrians) gave no sighting of a clipper boat so I cycled on.

The route is a mix of cycle track + hard shoulder – an easy enough ride but made ever so slightly terrifying by the fact that this was my first forey into ‘driving’ on the right side of the road. Highlight of the trip – watching some chap taxi into to a waterside filing station with his double-seated sea plane, fill up with fuel + then taxi off into the bay. So everyday yet so out of normal experience, I was very tempted to stop and watch in the hope that he would fly the plane out. But I kept going instead.

The return to SF was care of the ferry – for which I was grateful as I felt ever so slightly too cooked by the dry heat off the roads to relish cycling back.

At HQ OneDLL and Qingdao were preparing for final manouvres to bring their boats along side. Really pleased to see OneDLL had triumphed in their race to the bridge (sorry Quingdao) but I did my level 3 training with their skipper Oli (all round good guy)  + have friends in the crew + if Jamaica ain’t winning it then I am very happy to support OneDLL in their quest for honours.

This morning woke with anticipation definitely in the air. Quick fix of Yellow Brick before heading down to HQ – Derry due in today. In the afternoon returned to a buzz of people + media – Derry had literally just arrived + the press were keen for the from-the-horse’s-mouth story of being lost at sea.

Things like this give pause for consideration – I don’t have a dry suit for starts so almost certainly would have died had it been me, but being alone in the water for over an hour, that’s a pretty tough call + surely in such a situation you really do have to confront your own mortality. Well it has certainly brought home the message of the importance of clipping on!

In the evening agreed to meet fellow crew member + local, Jelte, in the Victoria Hall in Ritch Street – great to catch up + mutually reassure each other over the anticipation of adventures to come. And then just as I was thinking of heading back – was it design or just amazing chance? – but a whole lot of the crew of Jamaica bowled up (all those who had flown in today). Crazy, amazing – I am not going mad, the adventure is no less surreal but it is true – we are all about to jump on a racing yacht + sail south. New York here we come care of Panama and Jamaica.

Back at the flat could hear/see fireworks – but more like heavy mortar fire / heavy-duty orange boat flares even – deep into the evening/night. What’s all that about? The Giants playing baseball I believe. Wouldn’t/couldn’t happen in the UK!

Derry, Qingdoa + OneDLL - just arrived or in deep clean mode

Derry, Qingdoa + OneDLL – just arrived or in deep clean mode

Ropes on OneDLL

‘Ropes’ on OneDLL


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