Hello I Must Be Going
Team Finland treating arrival as triumph. Photo courtesy Clipper Ventures
What a twisted piece of irony that a hard-luck boat finally makes it across the Pacific to re-join its round-the-world race just one day ahead of the start of the next leg, and what in most seasons would be a seabreeze forecast on San Francisco Bay, with dry skies in every direction, instead prompts this prognosis from the National Weather Service in Monterey:
T-STORMS AND SHOWERS LOOK TO BE WIDESPREAD AT LEAST THROUGH SUNSET TUESDAY NIGHT AS THE MAIN CORE OF THE UPPER LOW PASSES OVER THE BAY AREA. SHOWERS STAY IN THE FORECAST THROUGH WEDS DUE TO THE PROXIMITY OF THE UNSEASONABLY COOL UPPER LOW. OTHER WEATHER ITEMS OF NOTE ON TUESDAY WILL BE THE VERY CHILLY DAYTIME HIGHS…MAINLY IN THE 50S WITH
BRISK NW WINDS ALONG THE COAST.
Thus we come to the start of the next leg of the Clipper Round the World, with Team Finland arriving in the wee hours Monday for a turnaround and restart—golly, don’t miss the Cable Cars and Fisherman’s Wharf—at 1800 Tuesday. The start will be on the cityfront, off the Golden Gate Yacht Club: nine matched 68-foot sloops, all built for stout.
Team Finland’s mast broke on the Singapore-Qingdao leg, and the boat departed Qingdao with a new mast two weeks behind the fleet, experiencing a decidedly different Pacific crossing. Rather than the steady march of storms that hit the frontrunners (and took the mast out of California),the hard-luck tailenders encountered headwinds and light winds. To give them time to arrive, the restart from San Francisco was set back, first to April 16, then to the 19th, and now to the 20th. This segment goes to Panama, 3329 miles.
People pay to be trained, then to participate in the Clipper Round the World. The organizers put out incredible levels of support. But you can’t take the adventure out of sailing around the world. Team Finland skipper Rob McInally said, “The Pacific dealt us some nasty cards, but the closer we got to here the better the atmosphere on board and the greater the sense of achievement amongst the crew.”
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN FOR SIX MONTHS?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world and most of the way around that world and closing on Australia, Jesse Watson had a visitor, a moth, “the first insect I’ve seen in six months and I got quite excited. It’s pretty amazing to think it’s also been 6 months since I’ve seen another person, but it still feels like just the other day that we sailed out of Sydney.”
The “we” being herself and a boat, Ella’s Pink Lady.
And yes, Jesse is one of those kids on the “youngest circumnavigator” track, and no I don’t approve of that game, but I do admire her steady way forward as she closes on Australia and home. There’s no angst in her read. After the excitement of seeing a bug—
“For most of today there’s been no wind at all. To stop myself from getting frustrated, I turned off the instruments so I couldn’t see how depressingly slow we were going and decided to have a go at replacing the wind generator (which hasn’t been working lately) with the spare. I wasn’t going to bother, because I’ve got enough diesel to keep the batteries topped up, but I was looking for something to keep me busy and I had energy to burn. It took all afternoon, and maneuvering it into place was such a challenge that I hardly noticed the glassy water and the fact that we were hardly moving. The sun even came out for a few hours, so it was well worth the effort.
“I’ve still got to dismantle the old generator for stowing, so I better finish up and get back to work.”