Snow blankets becalmed Clipper fleet

Qingdao legger, Teddy Lazarova-Burns, gets to grips with the snow on deck - Clipper 07-08

Following a fantastic send off from Qingdao’s Olympic Sailing Centre yesterday the race restarted in Fuschan Bay as thousands of spectators looked on.

The farewell ceremony and race restart experience was a memorable one for all the teams as Ricky Chalmers, skipper of Durban 2010 and Beyond explains: “Well, what a different start day. The departure ceremony was as spectacular as the arrival, and the nice clean deck was soon littered with remnants of fireworks. The various groups of performing artists and inflatable people entertained the large crowds, who packed the beaches in Fuschan Bay and lined the breakwater.”

As the sun and the fleet disappeared over the horizon, the wind also vanished, forcing the boats to drop anchor against the tide. With the warmth and comfort of the hotel rooms in Qingdao fast becoming a distant memory the crews experienced a particularly cold first night at sea. Snow fell thickly and the unusual sight of seeing the decks blanketed in snow was the common theme of all the reports coming back from the boats this morning. New York‘s skipper Duggie Gillespie said, “It’s very cold out here and every warm item of clothing is being worn. Snow in abundance came down on the decks as we were anchored last night waiting for the tide to change. This morning we had the extremely unusual sight of snowmen on the deck looking on, while we struggled to manhandle the anchor from the depths of the Yellow Sea.”

The crew of Uniquely Singapore filmed their experience of snow during the race and you can see the video in the multimedia section.

As the wind returned in the morning anchors were lifted and sails were hoisted, a task made harder by the weight of the snow on the sails.
Qingdao‘s skipper, Marcus Cholerton-Brown, made reference to the additional effort required in the snowy conditions: “At sunrise we had a good couple of inches of snow on deck. It’s great for snowball fights and building snowmen, but not so good for when the sails had to be hoisted. Its hard work in the cold and wet but after the last leg, we can do anything.”

In addition to hoisting sails made heavy by the snow, Jamaica also had to free themselves from a tangled anchor warp this morning. Skipper Simon Bradley explained, “We have spent an entertaining hour sailing our anchor warp off from around our keel where it had decided to wrap itself during the night! The three inches of snow on deck has made it all very pretty and our Rasta snowman was watching with amusement. One love!”

The wind has been light and patchy leaving the boats to try to chase the patches of wind. Durban 2010 and Beyond is in close proximity to five other boats and competing with them for wind patches. Skipper Ricky is enjoying the competition: “This morning is characterised by boat speeds varying from four knots to zero. We have Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper, Hull & Humber, New York, Qingdao and westernaustralia2011.com close by, all trying to keep within the wind patches. The sea is flat and being in close quarters with the other yachts is keeping the interest up.”

Lizzie Nicholas, Race Secretary, said, “The relatively light winds currently being experienced by the fleet are forecast to strengthen throughout the afternoon and overnight to up to 25 knots. The wind is also backing around to the north north-west, so we should see the fleet spring southeast and make some good progress towards the southern tip of Japan.”

The sign says it all on westernaustralia.com - Clipper 07-08


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