Archive for the ‘Clipper’ Category

Adapting to the life on California

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Today it’s the first time I feel able to write a few sentences. I have been seasick the last two days on and off, including throwing up a few times, which is always a big relief. I haven’t been eating basically anything, except a small portion of porridge, a power bar and some soup. I know I need to drink a lot of water. The Scopace seems to work, but does not completely eliminate the seasickness. Worst is getting on a watch, getting into the foulies, while the others from my watch try to do the same.

The first night, we had reefing lines 1 and 2 chafed through. It was blowing 30 knots (with a pretty confused sea state). We had to get the main down to stop it from flogging and finally ripping. I was climbing up the mast steps for the first 1.5 meters to reach the mainsail’s luff to pull it down as the main halyard gets eased. Unfortunately, most have the halyard wrapped around a spreader or something, so it won’t come down the last one meter. I had to climb even higher to run a sailtie through the topmost slider so we could secure the mainsail from going up again. I was quite exhausted from that job, having to hold on to the mast with one hand while working with the other hand. We continued sailing with just the staysail, still making 7-8 knots of speed. With the next day light, we exchanged the bad reefing lines with new ones.

This morning we saw a pair of humpback whales. They had some interaction going on among them. Not sure what. We could see their backs and flukes. One time it almost looked as if one guy was jumping out of the water.

We are still making our way south towards the band of low pressure systems which will then help us towards our destination on a downwind point of sail.


Monday, November 23rd, 2009

The start was pretty exciting. We got 20-25 knots of wind. As I understand Cork and Hull & Humber had a collision with Hull & Humber getting a whole in the hull and having to turn back into the harbor.
After about an hour of these good wind conditions the whole fleet got into a wind whole and further very light wind conditions. It’s hot.
I’m right now on my first off watch. ¬†From 20:00 until 23:00 I’ll be back on. I have to move some of my stuff to an unused bunk, so I can go to sleep at 23:00 without waking up a mother.

Getting Organized

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

We had our crew briefing this morning. The watch leaders, watches and mother watch schedule got announced. I’ll be doing my first mother watch on day 2. I probably won’t have my sealegs yet by that time, so the Scopace should prevent me from getting sick. Mother watch lasts the full day. Two persons from each watch are taken out of the regular watch system. They clean the boat, prepare the meals, clean up dishes, serve out tea and munchies and clean up again. At the end of the day the mother watch persons enjoy two treats: A fresh water shower and a uninterrupted sleep until the next morning.
In the briefing we also learned about the bunk assignments. Since we’ll be doing “hot bunking”, the assignment matters only for stowing my personal items. I got the upper “mother” bunk. This has the downside that when a “mother” is resting there, I basically can’t get to my stuff, so I better plan ahead. Since I will be having a “day bag” anyways with items for the next day, it should work out fine. I’ll be placing the day bag and my sleeping bag on an unused bunk on the lower side in the main cabin when I’m on watch.

Waiting to go sailing

Friday, November 20th, 2009

It’s a hot day in Cape Town today with little wind. I arrived this morning in the marina and dropped off my bags on California on the last (almost completely) empty bunk. The wireless access works decently. I met quite a few people I knew from my training. Tomorrow I’ll have to show up at 8:30 in the morning at Qingdao to go on a training sail for the day. We won’t be returning to the marina and instead dock at the VnA Waterfront, a posh shopping area / mall which had been built just a few years back. Unfortunately there won’t be decent facilities (showers!). So I guess tomorrow morning will be the last shower for a while. I was told that we will be taking off there on Sunday at 8:30am. At least it will be nicer for people to watch.

Other Boats on Twitter

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

I extended the Twittering of race updates to other boats, each having now its own Twitter name:

Cape Breton
Hull & Humber

Race Graphs

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I’ve put together a little automation to draw graphs from the data on the Race Viewer page:

They are getting updated as new data arrives on the Race Viewer page.

ETA for CA Tweets

Monday, October 12th, 2009

I added an ETA field to the Twitter updates of California, displaying month/day and time in UTC. It is based simply on the last 12 hour progress and the distance to finish. Because the 12 hour progress can vary a lot, the ETA should be taken with a big grain of salt. See yourself at clippercal.

California Clipper on Twitter

Monday, October 5th, 2009

To get immediate updates of the progress of California on your cell phone you can follow on Twitter.
The data is from Clipper’s Race Viewer converted into a more concise format.

1004-1500z #10(10) 12HR=24(27) DTF=3309(-4) DTL=588(+20) Racing


  • date (month/day) and time (24 hour format, in UTC)
  • 12 hour progress in nautical miles (previous 12 hour progress in parentheses)
  • distance to finish in nautical miles (difference to previous report in parentheses)
  • distance to leading boat in nautical miles (difference to previous report in parentheses)
  • status
  • First Leg Underway

    Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

    Following the first leg with Clipper’s online Race Viewer. Exciting, although California is last at the moment.

    Starting Part C

    Saturday, July 18th, 2009

    The last two days have been a well-received break. I spent the first night in a bed&breakfast in Cowes on the Isle of Wight to be able to sleep in a real bed, after having soaked in a real bath. For some strange reason during the night the room appeared to be hull-like curvature and the bed felt tilted to one side. In the morning I went into a few of these many sailing shops on High Street in Cowes. It felt somewhat weird to be in the Henri Lloyd shop while wearing (at least) two pieces branded Henri Lloyd / Clipper. The other shop stuck out because the guy there was scolding his (apparent) demented mother for not again giving away goods for too cheap. Funnily the other Clipper guys who visited Cowes later on the same day reported a similar experience. There was also a good-sized dog being happy to stand adjacent to me and whip me with his tail while carrying around a pair for socks in his mouth which he got from the basket of sailing socks. I finally bought a Dubarry cap with a massive lanyard and an LED flash light which goes from white to red to blue to green. Not that I know when to use the blue or green.

    Next day being back in Gosport I did my laundry, sent some of my excess clothes as a package back to my home address. Unfortunately I exceeded the 2kg cheaper rate limit and paid 37 GPB, so I had to draw more money later in the afternoon.

    A good portion of the part C crew has arrived so far. We are waiting for the two persons coming back from the provisions shopping. Some seem to be eager to go to the pub. We got an initial briefing of the skipper. The next two days will be daysailing out of Gosport, followed by a 5 day “race” with the other part C boats probably towards Ushant. Can’t wait to get on this longer trip.