Diary of a Clipper Racer
Around the world in 333 days with Mark Osgood
Supporting my chosen charity - "Dreams Come True"
Final Diary entry, 54, added Monday 6th October 2003.
Latest Diary News
- Race 3 - Havana to Colon (Panama) - December 2002
skipper, new crewmembers and a new challenge.
3 was different again to the previous two races.
The route involved a narrow passage to the west of Cuba and then
south-east, avoiding the Nicaraguan reefs, before turning to head south to
Colon. There wasn't much scope for
disappearing off on a different route to the others, so it became more of a drag
race than anything else.
other difference was the weather - nasty little squalls with heavy rain and wind
lasting anything from three minutes to three hours.
the racing was intense and the winners would be the boats that reacted fastest
and best to the unpredictable conditions.
started the race towards the back of the fleet, holding back in order to avoid
the inevitable bun fight. And then
we started picking off each boat. After
about 24 hours, we'd worked ourselves into third place behind Jersey and
we rounded Cuba and started heading south east the strategy adopted by each
skipper became clear. Some boats
headed east whilst others, including London, followed a straight line to our
target. It soon became apparent
that whilst our strategy had proved to be the right one, we were behind the
leaders, Jersey and Hong Kong, who had made lots of ground and were soon about
30 miles ahead. And so it stayed
for several days, the pressure never relenting for fear of being overtaken by
the boats on the horizon behind us.
needed a wind shift again to catch the two leaders.
And this time, it went in our favour.
Jersey and Hong Kong got becalmed and we caught them and passed Hong
Kong. It became a drag race to the
finish and we crossed the line in second place, just eight minutes behind
Jersey. London was a very happy
boat to be back on the podium - maybe we are not quite as incompetent as the
Admiral had suggested.
has its own new lean mean racing machine as he likes to be thought of - or hippy
to most other observers. Ed Green
has joined us as our new skipper until Hawaii and has promptly led us to our
second pennant of the Race. He's
been a very popular addition to the boat, creating an environment which, whilst
competitive, is also fun. The crew
of London all now have smiles on their faces again.
skippered Glasgow in the 2000 Race and joined this year's Race in Portugal, when
Jersey's skipper resigned. Jersey's
new permanent skipper joined them in Cuba, leaving Ed to take up the reins on
first pennant came with Jersey in this year's Race across the Atlantic.
So the pennant for Cuba to Colon is his second as well as ours.
And we're hoping for some more before he leaves.
not something that we want to think about at the moment but there is speculation
as to which boat Ed will move to after he leaves us in Hawaii. As he continues his tour of the fleet, there is also
speculation that Clipper Ventures is to be renamed "Ed Ventures" -
official denials are awaited.
arrived in Colon, we had a few days' wait at anchor waiting to go through the
Canal. We weren't allowed ashore so
time was filled by cleaning the boat (quickly!) before sunbathing, reading and
generally lazing around for a couple of days.
to the DVD Rom on the ship's laptop, we were able to enjoy a film for the first
time since leaving Liverpool. We
all crowded round the cockpit and set up the laptop on top of the companion-way
roof before settling down with a few beers to watch Monty Python's Life of
Brian. Only takeaway pizza was
some of us know the whole script from start to finish - very helpful as the
computer's speakers are not very powerful.
For newcomers to this cinematic delight, we had subtitles.
London crew are looking on the bright side of life at the moment.
arrived in Colon, we still had to travel through the Panama Canal before
settling down to Christmas in Panama City.
The Panama Canal runs from Colon to Panama City, via Gatun Lake and takes
ships of up to about 100,000 tonnes from the Atlantic to the Pacific (and back)
for a fee of up to $50,000. Travelling
from Colon, we travelled up three huge locks to the Gatun Lake which is about 75
metres above sea level. When we
reached the other end, we came back down through three locks before reaching the
imagined that our transit through the Canal would be a boring day of motor
sailing - I had in mind a canal-journey through the industrial wastelands of the
Midlands. I couldn't have been more
wrong -the Canal is cut through the middle of the Panamanian Jungle and we
travelled all day through the most exotic scenery, surrounded by the noise of
the jungle. Pelicans were everywhere, like pigeons in Trafalgar Square, except
was very lucky to be the first boat through, along with Liverpool, and it was
wonderful to see the Canal in daylight. It's
been the highlight of my trip so far.
for me has always been the same: family,
church, turkey, presents and the Queen's speech without fail.
It was very different this year.
of us decided to seek out a church service on Christmas Eve and we went to
Midnight Mass at a church in the middle of Panama City.
We didn't understand a word of the service, which lasted for nearly two
hours, as of course it was conducted in Spanish, but it did put us in the
next morning, on Christmas Day, I woke up and went for a swim outside, before
watching the Queen's Speech on TV, by the pool.
Tough, but someone's got to do it.
from Liverpool had missed the last Race due to a leg injury but had used the
time wisely and had arranged a Christmas lunch for the full crew in a restaurant
near the marina. So Christmas lunch
was had by all, sitting outside in the sunshine, before the party kicked off for
the rest of the afternoon (and night).
the novelty value of a sunny Christmas, I missed home on Christmas Day, so to
cheer myself up I entered into the Christmas party spirit as best I could and
tried a few glasses of the local Panamanian beer, Soberana. It's not well named. There's
not much more that I can report about the Christmas party, but I can report a
thick head on Boxing Day morning - that was an all too familiar part of
arrived for London as soon as we arrived in Panama.
In an effort to show an affinity with our sponsoring city we've tried to
model our festive decorations on the Regent Street lights.
However, we only managed a
port and starboard light, an anchor light, a couple of advent calendars and a
bit of tinsel. We're still trying
to persuade Saucy to go and sit at the top of the mast wearing something white
and fairy-like but for some reason she is objecting.
definitely a Christmas feel aboard now, despite the lack of snow and cold
weather. We've even had Father
Christmas descend, bearing gifts and letters.
He bore more than a passing resemblance to Colin de Mowbray, the Race
Director - perhaps they're brothers.
wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Ventures World Golf Tour
Day is a great day for playing golf so 12 of us from the fleet went to the main
course in Panama, called Summit, for a round to continue our golfing tour of the
was an amazing course. If a ball
was lost in the rough, it was left there - we didn't quite know what we'd find
in the jungle which made up the edge of the course.
From that one extreme, the other was the buggies that took us round the
course. Each buggy was equipped
with a GPS machine which told us how far to the green for each shot.
But that was nothing to when we came to the eighth hole - a little
message arrived on our screen asking what we'd like for lunch.
Then a nice lady arrived at the tenth with the lunch that we'd ordered.
I played so badly.
new Leg 2 crewmates
little late but a big welcome to my new crewmates and a little introduction for
Lois Howarth (aka Lola) is having a final hurrah before returning to get
married in April - not really a honeymoon holiday then.
Lola's celebrity look-a-like is yet to be decided.
Richardson (aka JR), is taking time out from headmastering to join us until
Hawaii. JR's celebrity look-a-like
is Eric Liddell, of Chariots of Fire fame - we'll check out how true that is on
the beaches of Hawaii!
Chase (aka Doc) is our resident doctor who is also on board with us until
Hawaii. We are not sure how long he
intends to stay with us - he has already had all his emails sent to New York.
The Doc's celebrity look-a-like is also yet to be decided.
Whyatt (aka Mustard) is also with us until Hawaii before re-joining us for the
final leg from Brazil to Liverpool. Cress
is a rival to Saucy in the talking stakes, and her celebrity look-a-like (and
sound-a-like) is Anthea Turner.