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Friday 5th August

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, August 6, 2011,
Friday 5th August

A slight easing of the winds this morning offered a brief respite during which the sun decided to make a short-lived appearance – along with several more of our very playful dolphin friends. Most of the crew are now over their sea sickness but poor old Roberto struggles on, having not managed to keep food, water or sea-sick pills down for 2 days now. His routine is to move from bunk to saloon to sleep more and then to the heads when necessary. He’s trying to stay cheerful...
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Thursday 4th August

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, August 6, 2011,
Thursday 4th August

Biscay rages on today, as does the bout of mal de mare that has hit about 5 of the crew. After a comparatively light start – during which the early on deck crew were escorted along their way by a large pod of dolphins – which I filmed with my new GoPRO and pole toy – even getting some great underwater shots. The wind soon picked back up to a fierce blow and I spent the rest of the morning with more computer work which was extremely trying in the conditions. I started ...
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Wednesday 3rd August

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, August 6, 2011,
Wednesday 3rd August

Well yesterday was more of the same, light winds, spinnaker sailing and a game of cat and mouse with Visit Finland, who through the course of the day overtook within 50 metres of us, then to find themselves behind I Love New York once again.  Having caught up on ingesting and backing up material, I then decided it was time to investigate my GoPro to see what it could do and after reading the manual (well, I AM a girl) spent a frustrating hour with the various brackets I’...
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Tuesday 2nd August

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, August 5, 2011,
Tuesday 2nd August

And we’re off!

We’ll I’m about 40 hours into my second round the world yacht race –
except I’m not going around the world this time, and strictly speaking I’m
not “sailing” either. I’m here to document on video the experiences of
the crew as THEY set off on THEIR adventure. My last race is still oh so
fresh in my mind but despite being back on the Clipper 68 foot yachts that
I know so well, with all their familiar sounds, the grinding of the
winches, the squeaki...

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The Story Continues...

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, July 17, 2011,
Well it's been a while since my last post and a lot has happened in a very short space of time!   Having finished my big sailing adventure almost exactly a year ago it was apparent to me that I couldn't go back to my life as it was before. But necessity meant that I had to, initially at least, with a mortgage to pay not to mention a still substantial overdraft from having a year without work but I knew that I had fundamentally changed and that my life would need to change to suit it. Without ...
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Post Race - 7th April 2001

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, April 7, 2011,

Passing the Baton

It's half past midnight and I've just put a cake in the oven. That might seem a little unusual but it wouldn't be if I were on a 68ft yacht taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.  Bread baking – along with cake baking (especially if it was a crew members Birthday the next day) was common place on night watch. Well it was on Hull & Humber anyway.

So I've just got back from Hull Marina – Greenbricks Pub to be exact, where a whole gaggle of people gathered to ...


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Race 13 - Day 3, Sun 11th July

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, July 14, 2010,

I rejoined my watch at 3am this morning and once again positions were changing all the time. The rest of the fleet bunched up again. We were back under white sails and still holding onto first by the skin of our teeth. As the dawn rose and we sailed past Portland Bill and then the friendly training waters of the solent and the Isle of Wight, we spotted Qingdao hoist their spinnaker through the dim light of morning. We followed suit quickly, just managing to hold them off but soon as the sun ...


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Race 13 - Day 2, Sat 10th July

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, July 14, 2010,

Our first night watch last night (11pm – 3 am) was pretty cool. We woke up to find we were ahead of the fleet – just. Actually 'woke up' is untrue as no sleep was had whatsoever. The boat was so heeled over it was hard to haul my bunk up high enough to stop me falling out of it. So I was mainly lying on my lee-cloth and the metal frame at the edge of my bunk. Add to that the frequent bouncing bomb effect – with Umba as the member of  the fictional 633 Squadron every time she took off ov...


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Race 13 - Cork to Ijmuiden, Day 1 Friday 9th July

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, July 14, 2010,

It's now just over a week before we'll be sailing home into Hull, having completed this amazing adventure known as the Clipper round the World Yacht Race and there are certainly mixed feelings floating around inside me. Having thought so much over the last month or so about how I want my life to be from here on in nd the changes I want to make I thought I was past the “dreading it all being over” stage and had moved onto the “it's the next exciting chapter of my life stage”. However...


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Race 12 - Day 10, Mon 28th June

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, July 5, 2010,
We took over again at 3am this morning and within an hour we spotted a white masthead light through the gloom off our port beam. This had to be Qingdao. The fact the the light was white meant we were behind them, but as it gradually became green for longer and longer periods, we knew we were catching them,. WE were now approaching the Fastnet Rock off the coast of Ireland. We had to go between this and the mainland – a gap of only 3miles – so it was inevitable the yachts would funnel toge...
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Race 12 - Day 9, Sun 27th June

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, July 5, 2010,
 The 3am – 7am watch was pretty eventful. The winds are easing and initially the sea state still confused but undoubtedly easier to handle than yesterday's evening watch. Even though we have been putting the clocks forward an hour each day for the last 2 days, to bring ourselves in line with BST, it is still light at 3am. The full moon is still up but is soon overshadowed by the sun who warms our spirits as it bathes us in the glow of a beautiful amber morning.

We finally make a move to shak...
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Race 12 - Day 8, Sat 26th June

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, July 5, 2010,
 Last night was the first time I've seen the moon and stars since leaving Cape Breton. It was however only a fleeting view of a few minutes before the clouds rolled over and spoiled my chance to brush up on my constellations. The sea is still pretty wild and the helming fairly challenging – even though the wind has eased considerably, the sea state is still pretty big and confused and we now don't have enough power in the sails to drive through it. After much debate we finally change from t...
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Race 12 - Day 7, Fri June 25th

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, June 26, 2010,
Race 12 - Day 7, Fri June 25th   

3am arrived and I have to admit to being slightly relieved when I heard I wouldn't be needed on deck. We reverted back to our Pacific crewing of just 2 on deck at any one time with a third person on “step-watch” just inside the companionway to act as comms between on-deck and off-deck crew.  I used the time in between to finish the edit of our weekly video and to check our position against the other boats.  It was clear early on that having gained miles, ...
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Race 12 - Day 6, Thurs June 24th

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, June 26, 2010,
Race 12 - Day 6, Thurs June 24th   

This morning we had a little respite. We must have had a total of about an hour and a half of sunshine spread out in sections across our 6 hour watch, It wasn't much but it was enough to remind us why we love this. Just a small amount of sunshine turns a completely miserable watch into the best place on earth to be. It's amazing the difference it makes and it put us all in a better mood. The early scheds also showed that we were the fastest boat in the flee...
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Race 12 - Day 5, Wed June 23rd

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, June 26, 2010,
Race 12 - Day 5, Wed June 23rd  

I've just come off night watch which on one hand was a success as we kept up some great speeds with the spinnaker all night and are now officially back at the front of the fleet chasing Cork.  We're now only 137 miles behind Cork but we are still only 2 miles in front of Jamaica and 6 in front of California and Spirit of Australia.  The fleet has split into 2 packs – which has so often been the case. Most of the fleet are following us and we seem to be takin...
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Race 12 - Day 4, Tue June 22nd

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, June 23, 2010,
Race 12 - Day 4, Tue June 22nd 

Today is pretty well a repeat performance of yesterday (without the toilet drama!). The fog rolled in with the morning light and once again we were playing the 'guess what's more than 50 metres in front of us' game.  Last night we were flying headsails and still zooming along at 11, 12 and 13 knots. We're now back in contention with the other boats with Australia showing as 1 mile ahead in the scheds. We are pretty level with California, Jamaica and Qingdao. If...
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Race 12 - Day 3, Mon June 21st

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, June 23, 2010,
Race 12 - Day 3, Mon June 21st

It's the Summer Solstice today – mid-summer's day and the longest day. It conjures a vision of a beautiful bright sunny day – blue skies with crisp white sails. What you don't expect is thick fog and zero visibility but that's exactly what faced us at 3am this morning. The fog horn was laid out on the deck ready and a couple of flares were also looked out in case we suddenly had 'too close an encounter of another boat kind'!  We also had to post someone on r...
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Race 12 - Day 2, Sun June 20th

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, June 23, 2010,
Race 12 - Day 2, Sun June 20th

To say night watch last night was chilly, would be the understatement of the year. Icily cold or flippin' freezing would be more accurate terms and as we all piled on as many layers as we could fit under our foulies. I mused that one of my early training blogs – where I joked about being on iceberg watch in the Solent, might not seem quite so ridiculous now! In truth we are probably reasonably safe at the moment but we are certainly not too many miles away from...
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Leg 7 Race 12 Cape Breton Island to Cork - Day 1, Sat June 19th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, June 21, 2010,
Leg 7 Race 12 Cape Breton Island to Cork - Day 1, Sat June 19th

19th June
Today I was more than ready to set sail again. Today I was looking forward to tackling our final big ocean crossing and at the end of it looking forward to arriving in Ireland. All that eagerness is also tinged with a little sadness and trepidation though. I'm sad that this amazing adventure is so nearly over and also concerned about how I'm going to settle back into my old life again.....or not!

So today we waved a fond f...
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Race 11 Day 5, Thurs June 10th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, June 21, 2010,
Race 11 Day 5, Thurs June 10th 
Leg 7 Race 11

Got up for night watch to find that the Aussies have closed the gap to 3 miles. Not sure how that happened but it's scared the living daylights out of us. I'm obsessive about checking the positions of the other boats on our Nav station computer.  It's a bit like standing on a railway track and watching a train coming steaming towards you. You just stand there transfixed and watch it happen!  Of course we are sailing the boat too but whenever I'm no...
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Race 11 Day 4, Wed June 9th

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, June 10, 2010,
Race 11 Day 4, Wed June 9th 

Having been allowed to sleep instead of getting up for watch at 3am I woke up this morning around 6ish with my left hand in absolute agony. I can only assume that the standing over a sewing machine at a jaunty angel for about 4 hours, followed no doubt by sleeping awkwardly had pinched some nerves and/or stopped some blood flow to my hand. I couldn't move my fingers which were hot and had a bad case of pins and needles – no doubt some sewing ailment!!! I was in ...
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Race 11 Day 3, Tues June 8th

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, June 10, 2010,
Race 11 Day 3, Tues June 8th 

I was up at 7am for breakfast and ready to start work on the clew section of the sail.  It was hard to get out of my bunk not just because I was exhausted but also because the temperature had dropped significantly and we'd gone from t-shirts and shorts, still frazzling our way out of New York, to now being in full sleeping bag and into thermal base layers and full foulies.  However at least it's warm when you're buried under piles of spinnaker material – which ...
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Race 11 Day 2, Mon June 7th

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, June 10, 2010,
Race 11 Day 2, Mon June 7th 

With the whole fleet close and so evenly matched we knew we were in for a tight race.  Over night positions changed again. We went from 2nd to 4th but with only 3 miles between 1st and 4th it was really anyone's game.  We rounded the first mark and then it was into downwind sailing.  The other watch put the medium kite up but the winds picked up suddenly and by the time I got up at 11am to do some blogging before my next watch I was given the news that we had anot...
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Race 11 Day 1, Sun June 6th

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, June 10, 2010,
Race 11 Day 1, Sun June 6th 
New York to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Having had a sensible early night last night – for the first time since our arrival in the Big Apple, I was relieved to wake early and hang-over free!!  A usual final hour of making the most of port wifi followed before getting the boat (and my bunk) ready for another race. Dan from our Sponsors Yorkshire Forward, had been out in NYC to see us, promote business, jobs and tourism for Yorkshire and was there this morning,...
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Race 10 Day 8, Mon May 31st

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, June 3, 2010,
Race 10 Day 8, Mon May 31st

I was up uncharacteristically early for watch this morning, mainly because I hadn't slept at all. Reason 1 is that we had been quite overpowered and were so heeled over I spent the night with my face pressed up against the cold, hard sides of the boat. Reason 2 being that the hatch was open and the kite trimmers situated on deck a few feet away from it. So I was being lullaby-ed to sleep (or NOT, as was the case) by the far from soothing tones of “Grind please”...
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Race 10 Day 7, Sun May 30th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, May 31, 2010,
Race 10 Day 7, Sun May 30th

Having slept through both night watches I got up at 7am just when my watch were going off watch!  In theory I should have gone back to bed but I've never fancied bed sores and the view from my bunk – of the bunk above - was not picturesque enough to tempt me back there. Instead I stayed up in the saloon, tested my stomach out on a cup of tea and slice of bread with only a hint of jam on it. It went down and stayed down so I declared myself fit and well again.  I w...
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Race 10 Day 6, Sat May 29th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, May 31, 2010,
Race 10 Day 6, Sat May 29th

Today's been a bit of a write off. I appear to have picked up a stomach bug from somewhere – God knows where and have been unable to hold anything down – not even water for nearly 24 hours. Sleep seems to be the only solution and I've been doing lots of it, despite the pick up in the wind, despite the jaunty angle of the boat and the occasional slamming which is magnified when you sleep right in the fore-peak. We've been keeping up great speeds since mid morning...
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Race 10 Day 5, Fri May 28th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, May 31, 2010,
Race 10 Day 5, Fri May 28th

Having wallowed in frustrating light airs for the first half of last night, by the time we came back up on deck for the 3 – 7am watch, the wind had picked up and we were zipping along at 9 & 10 knots under the medium weight kite.  Over the last 24 hours we've lost a bit of ground to the leading pack but we are now hopeful our “Drive it Like We Stole it” policy of helming, will pay off and we'll be able to play catch up. The wind has been pushing us away from t...
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Race 10 Day 4, Thurs May 27th

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, May 28, 2010,
Race 10 Day 4, Thurs May 27th

Thursday 27th May

During the night we encountered the most amazing storm. The crew on-deck sat and watched it creep up on us for 3 hours before it finally arrived; the lightning flashing every 10 seconds or so, lighting the sky up like a Friday night disco, giving us just enough warning to drop the spinnaker and get 2 reefs in the main before the 10 knots of wind puffed it's macho chest out to 30.knots. And then came the rain. Big fat, juicy splodges of rain, they ...
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Race 10 Day 3, Weds May 26th

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, May 27, 2010,
Race 10 Day 3, Weds May 26th

I'm on mother watch again today and it's another scorcher. Shorts and bikini top are all I can bear to wear and still I'm bathed in sweat all day. Rich, one of the Hull Ambassadors is my co-mother. He can't sleep so gets up early to help with breakfast – a sign of his general willingness to get stuck in and participate in full, which I very much appreciate. The morning passes in a hot haze of tea and coffee making and a frantic search for beans – the key ingred...
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Race 10 Day 2, Tues May 25th

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, May 27, 2010,
Race 10 Day 2, Tues May 25th

After the frustrations of last night – making ground on all the leading yachts one hour, to lose it all and then some the next, we got up for watch at 7am this morning to discover that the scheds now put us in 2nd place!  We were pleased but took the news with a pinch of salt as the positions are always calculated on a straight line distance to finish and we are sure some of the other boats are in a better position than  we are.

The fleet split in to two groups ov...
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Race 10 Day 1, Mon May 24th

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, May 27, 2010,
Race 10 Day 1, Mon May 24th

Leg 7 Race 10  Jamaica to New York
Monday 24th May

I awoke this morning looking like I'd done 10 rounds in the ring with Frank Bruno! Not a great omen for race start day but there it was. That's what you get when you share a bedroom with 20 or so mosquitoes. Despite virtually bathing in Deet “Sod off all Mozzie” spray, the little tykes had feasted properly on my blood and I was now covered in large, itchy lumps and had two swollen eyes. I felt violated. Thank God...
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Race 9 Day 4, Tues May 18th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, May 24, 2010,
Race 9 Day 4, Tues May 18th

18th May

Having finally got to bed at about 3.30am I was woken by Charlie from the opposite watch at 5.30am. The message was that everyone was needed up on deck to sit on the high side. I pulled my shorts on quickly, grabbed my life jacket and was greeted on deck by the sight of Cape Breton about 20 feet away alongside us, in a full head to head battle.  They appeared to be edging ahead. If it's possible to sit on the high side of a boat with 'full force', well that...
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Race 9 Day 3, Mon May 17th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, May 24, 2010,
Race 9 Day 3, Mon May 17th

17th May
My last couple of off-watches I haven't been able to face my bunk. It is SO hot and airless. The humidity is still bad. Everything feels damp from sweat and for the first time since the start of the whole race I really want to get off the boat. Not away from the racing and the sailing but I'm struggling to face the living conditions. Even though it's marginally cooler as we get slightly more north it's still foul below decks. Even though there's a good bree...
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Race 9 Day 2, Sun May 16th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, May 24, 2010,
Race 9 Day 2, Sun May 16th

16th May

Our watch rose wearily for breakfast. All had little or no sleep. It was too hot, we were beating straight into the wind which meant the return to violent, boat slamming, bone shaking action. This also meant water over the deck and so no hatches were open which in turn contributed to the stale, airless, oppressive heat in the fore-peak. It really was the most unpleasant living conditions and brought on a new wave of sea sickness in those that were prone to s...
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Race 9 Start Day, Sat May 15th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, May 24, 2010,
Race 9 Start Day, Sat May 15th

7am came round too quickly. I awoke to the sound of heavy rain on deck and a glimpse of dull, grey skies through the hatch, which despite being propped open kept both the rain and any hint of fresh air out.

We all trogged up to the marina block – most in the hope of a shower – to find there was already a huge queue of Clipper crew armed with travel towels and wash bags. The cafe which had promised to be open by 7.30 was still looking ominously dark and unpopu...
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Panama Canal, Fri May 14th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, May 24, 2010,
Panama Canal, Fri May 14th   

Panama Canal

Having staggered back to the boat in good time for our ridiculously early “off”, we set off (minus the Singapore crew member who was supposed to be hitching a ride with us and missed the boat – for a second time!) only to then sit out in the bay waiting for our pilot to show up. 6am went by, then 7am and eventually our pilot arrived via a rib, just before 8am! I'd just decided I'd go below deck and catch up on some sleep while we were waiting, a...
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Panama, Thurs May 13th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, May 24, 2010,
Panama, Thurs May 13th   

Having only managed to stagger back to the boat for about 2am, I was woken from my mattress on the bow of the deck, by the Singapore Crew who were moored alongside us and were making preparations to slip lines and leave for their journey through the canal. There was a bit of a hoo-hah as 2 of the Singapore crew were nowhere to be seen. One had just disappeared for a few days without leaving any contact info and the other one had been last seen out in the early hours,...
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Panama, Weds May 12th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, May 24, 2010,
Panama, Weds May 12th   

Panama
Deep clean day –  I woke up on board having slept on my mattress on deck, under the stars at 10 to 8 – thinking I was too late to have time for a shower. I then surveyed the other unconscious bodies scattered around and surmised that once again we wouldn't be starting on time, so a quick shower was taken. The facilities where we were moored, consisted of 2 loo cubicles and one shower room. The water was cold with no option of a hot tap but that really wasn't...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 17, Thurs May 6th

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, May 16, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 17, Thurs May 6th   
6th May

Election day back home in the UK a million miles away from life here on board Hull & Humber.
The winds picked up during 3 – 7 am watch and Maggie and I started to slide from one side of the saloon to the other – although trying valiantly to continue to repair the sail holding onto our seats with clenched stomach and buttock muscles!!!
By 6.15 we'd finished taping every part of the sail except the main rip across the head where the sail was still ...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 16, Weds May 5th

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, May 16, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 16, Weds May 5th   
Wednesday 5th

When I did awake – at around 5am (my watch having decided to let me sleep through the 11pm – 3am watch) it was because the boat suddenly lurched heavily over to one side and my nose was firmly pressed up against the side of my locker. I then heard the cry “Just get it down” so assumed that we had lost another shackle on the spinnaker halyard. It all seemed to be under control and the next thing was the sound of heavy rain on deck – a...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 15, Tues May 4th

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, May 16, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 15, Tues May 4th   

Tuesday 4th May
Night watch – the wind picked up gradually overnight in fits and starts, which made trimming the spinnaker interesting. One minute the winds would be quite gusty which meant to keep control of the sheet you needed at least four turns on the winch – or else you were in danger of taking off in flight with it Superman style!  Then the next minute the winds would go light and you'd have to get your grinder to help ease the sheet round the wi...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 14, Mon May 3rd

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, May 16, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 14, Mon May 3rd  

Monday 3rd May

It may be bank holiday Monday at home but here in the North Atlantic it's just another day of racing. Last night treated me to my first half-way decent night of stars – although there was still a haze of cloud, most of the constellations I'd been learning about were visible and I've now been talking about it all so much several of the other crew are picking up on it and finding they too can name some of the stars – although mainly they just...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 13, Sun May 2nd

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, May 5, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 13, Sun May 2nd 

Sunday 2nd May
So 10 hours later (plus a few hours break to get a tiny bit of sleep) our new bionic lightweight spinnaker – which was now more fly-weight at the top due to the amount of patching and stitching it had on it – was ready to be packed and flown again. The winds had died right off again overnight and the mid-weight was struggling to stay full. The super sail repair duo had breakfast (to a round of applause from the rest of the crew for resurrect...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 12, Sat May 1st

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, May 5, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 12, Sat May 1st

Saturday 1st May

It's almost unbearably hot before we even get up today – breakfast on deck is reasonably pleasant but by the time that is over we're sweating, bathing in sunscreen and the guys going off watch are not looking forward to trying to sleep below decks in the oven that is now the forepeak. Still, the mood on board is pretty upbeat as there is no sign of Singapore trying to come back up behind us and we are now fully focussed on catching California...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 11, Fri April 30th

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, May 5, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 11, Fri April 30th

Friday 30th
Our night watch was made this morning by a stunningly beautiful Sunrise – smooth pale aqua sky framing a bright tangerine sun, unblemished other than a few dramatic clouds.
We are catching Singapore gradually. It's a long slow process and each time we check the AIS, we see we are making grounds – but only in a couple of hundredths of a mile! We are trying everything with the trim, working every wave and my arms are aching like anything having d...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 10, Thurs April 29th

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, May 5, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 10, Thurs April 29th

Thurs 29th
Still struggling with the 11pm – 3am watch last night. Also a very frustrating watch. We can still see Singapore although they have managed to put some space between us now and we are very much the ones chasing them down. No matter what we do we don't seem to be able to close the gap. The wind is not on our side and keeps veering back round to the west which means we are heading almost due east – sometimes slightly north of east (NOT GOOD) wh...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 9, Weds April 28th

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, May 2, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 9, Weds April 28th

Weds 28th
I dragged myself away from the drama of checking our position against Singapore to help John – one of our Ambassadors, in the galley over breakfast. But by the time we had cleared up it looked like Singapore were edging back level with us again. We note that they are flying their medium weight kite – unusual in the breeze which is dying by the minute, but after Justin calls them up on the VHF radio for a chat, we find out that they damaged their...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 8, Tues April 27th

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, May 2, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 8, Tues April 27th

Tuesday 27th
At midnight I was standing in a pretty hot, sweaty forepeak. The off-watch sleeping (and snoring) around me and a sad, twisted tennis-court size pile of spinnaker lay at my feet. My task was to check it all over to see if there was any damage – and then repair it asap so it was ready to hoist at the earliest possible opportunity. On a down-wind leg, our mid-weight – or 'all purpose' kite was a key sail that we couldn't afford to be without.

It...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 7, Mon April 26th

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, May 2, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 7, Mon April 26th

Monday 26th
Second Night watch (3am – 7am) was more generous with its cloud than stars and I was allowed only the occasional peep of my new twinkly acquaintances. I'm still getting used to going to bed at 7am. My body clock is struggling to adjust to this 48 hour watch cycle. It takes me ages to get to sleep and then when I'm woken to get up for the next watch, I tend to be in a deep, deep sleep which takes me ages to drag myself out of. Hence lunch was eate...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 6, Sun April 25th

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, May 2, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 6, Sun April 25th

Night watch 2300 – 0300. I got up hoping to get a great night sky having started to study my Night Sky book yesterday afternoon – I was fired up and ready to learn! But it was mainly cloudy and very bright, as a huge, not quite full moon was out. We're still flying the mid-weight spinnaker with winds ranging from 7 knots up to 14 knots. I mainly observed again – with a bit of sporadic grinding  – and tried to get my Night Sky book out and make sense o...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 5, Fri April 24th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, April 26, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 5, Fri April 24th

Saturday 24th: 0300 – 0700
Although it's weird to be getting up at 2.30am I got a decent amount of sleep and although slightly cooler now, the addition of a fleece hat is all that's required to keep me warm. The stars are coming and going behind hop-scotch cloud and the winds which had lulled are now back up. We're flying along at a steady 13 knots which was good. The down-side meant everything was now much more loaded – winches, sheets and the helm which ...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 4, Fri April 23rd

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, April 26, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 4, Fri April 23rd

Today is a milestone day for me – it's my first day when I'm back on deck on watch since my tussle with a huge wave back in the previous race. I don't mind admitting to being a little nervous and worried that I'd forgotten lots of things and joked with Tom, our watch leader that he'd need to give me a full tour of the deck and asked the previous watch to leave post-it notes on everything with its name and what it should be used for!!!

Needless to say it was ...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 3, Thurs April 22nd

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, April 26, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 3, Thurs April 22nd

Today is my final day of 3 mother watches on the trot. I'm looking forward to being able to work with a co-mother at last and be able to give a bit more time to the engineer role. The problem with eagerly anticipating something is that you're frequently let down. This morning was no exception. Cara arrive bright and an hour early for her watch. She was one of the crew who had been ill but had also shown great signs of recovery later. She looked fine this m...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 2, Weds April 21st

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, April 26, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 2, Weds April 21st

At around 4am, I rounded a corner and happened across a fitful sleep which was broken all too so by Charlie, peering around my shower curtain (leaky fore-hatch protection) saying it was 6am and time to get up. Breakfast was to be a solo affair in the galley. This was all part of my new mother-watch plan. As the new watch system would make the sleep patterns of the mothers from each watch very one sided I tried to even it out by having one mother do breakfas...
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Leg 6 Race 8 Day 1, Tues April 20th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, April 26, 2010,
Leg 6 Race 8 Day 1, Tues April 20th

Leg 6 Race 8 – San Francisco to Panama

Tues April 20th – Day 1

The noisy clatter of rain on deck accompanied by the steady trickle of water, splashing down from the forward hatch onto the sail bags below, was the opening fanfare to race start day. The sunshine and welcome warmth of the previous few days had vanished and in their place, grey skies and the eerie whistling of the wind through the halyards and around the steadfast masts, which seemed to heral...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 27, 27th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, April 6, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 27, 27th March

Got up with my watch on night duty and being able to do little else, made a cake for the Californian crew as we would be doing a transfer to them later in the day and thought it would a nice gesture to send them some goodies. My usefulness then being over and as I still wasn't on top form I was excused and set back to bed.

I was woken by hearing repeated messages from Pete, the Californian skipper on the radio. His handheld VHF had died so he was using his m...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 26, 26th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, April 6, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 26, 26th March

5am – whack! – I rolled with some force from one side of my bunk into my leecloth. Whack! The boat angled sharply back the other way again. “Shit!” Was my immediate reaction. I knew the boat sounds enough to know we'd just crash gybed – twice. As soon as it happened I also heard the wind whistle up to a crescendo. It was obvious we'd had a repeat performance of 5 or so days earlier. I struggled out of my bed and into my clothes as fast as I could ...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 25, 25th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, April 6, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 25, 25th March

At 1.30am Tom duly woke me and brought me my pills and some water to my bunk – bless him! I got up anyway – I'd been trying my hardest to keep within my watch system – even though it wasn't safe for me to go on deck as I couldn't hold on! I sat in the nav station and started writing a note to Elaine K on California – as I thought it would be nice for her to get a friendly note. After about half I suddenly felt very ill very quickly and found myself ...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 24, 24th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, April 6, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 24, 24th March

I went to bed with a bit more purpose, promising to start on the galley inventory for Albert during night-watch.  We now had the prospect of spending an additional week at sea as we would be staying with California all the way there – they had no comms facilities and were effectively “lost” without them. We would a) need to keep them in sight at all times and b) be their comms to and from the outside world – give them weather and position reports, b...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 23, 23rd March

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, March 30, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 23, 23rd March

I woke up around midnight in agony. My shoulder was in intense pain. I peered out of my bunk to spy Kirsten's legs on  “step-watch” on the companion way and hissed at her, trying to get her attention without waking the sleeping skipper in the bunk below. Brendan, who wasn't asleep, heard so got up to fetch me more painkillers, some water and words of sympathy. Hunger and discomfort eventually drove me out of my bunk and the food and the company of the n...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 22, 22nd March

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, March 30, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 22, 22nd March

Having managed to climb up and then roll into my bunk last night, I got up for night watch as per normal. I knew I wouldn't be of any use but I needed my next round of pills and I felt a could at least show solidarity with my watch and be there in support. I also wanted to be awake in case we had any update on California Clipper. I hadn't really slept, through discomfort and worry, so after supervising some bread-making and catching up on a few emails (very...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 21, 21st March

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, March 30, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 21, 21st March

It's a grey, rainy day today - still wild although promising to ease but is still gusting up to the late 30s and low 40knots. Last night our highest gust was 63 knots of true wind – that's pretty wild! The programme of heavy weather helmers continues and the saloon looks a bit like a doctor's waiting room as the helms with their wing-men, wait expectantly, oilies half on, for their next session to commence. I dose in and out of sleep perched in amongst th...
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Leg 5, Race 7 Day 20, 20th March (again!)

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, March 30, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 Day 20, 20th March (again!)

The winds continue to blow today as the low hovers over us. The waves are building in size and strength all the time and after last night's crash gybe, Brendan isn't taking any chances and we've gone down to a few 'heavy-weather helmers' per watch and only two people on deck at any one time – a helm and a wing-man – someone to spot the really huge waves and also a back-up should the helm get knocked off his or her feet! There is also a third role -...
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Leg 5, Race 7 Day 19, 20th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, March 30, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 Day 19, 20th March

I really wasn't looking forward to night watch last night. The sea was choppy, it was freezing and so dark you couldn't see the mast of the boat from the cockpit. Sailing in those conditions is always slightly surreal – you could be anywhere, sailing in any direction with any number of things around you just out of sight. The only light came from my fallen stars - the phosphorescence – as they danced just beneath the surface of the waves that gushed past. W...
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Leg 5, Race 7 Day 18, 19th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, March 21, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 Day 18, 19th March

There may be a low and some big, big winds on the horizon but night watch last night saw the winds get lighter and lighter. Soon we were grimacing along with the regular flog, flog, flogging of sails as we had sub 5 knots of breeze and the Yankee 1 and main struggled to catch enough of a puff to keep them filled and powered. It was the first really clear night we've had in ages and the stars were out in force. We tried spotting the various constellations and go...
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Leg 5, Race 7 Day 17, 18th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, March 21, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 Day 17, 18th March

Night watch last night was fairly busy. We took the Y2 down and went up with the Y3 and reefed in. It's still very cold and the water temperature is cold too, so when your Oilies get wet the effect has an instant cooling of your all over temperature by several degrees. The winds are still good – in the mid to high 20's and we are tanking along at 10 & 11 knots. The winds having piped up looked like they were settling down again but we spent all watch thinking...
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Leg 5, Race 7 Day 16, 17th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, March 21, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 Day 16, 17th March
St Patrick's Day

Kevlar arrived in the saloon this morning dressed from head to foot in Green, sporting an Irish Leprechaun hat and a big grin. Today is St Patrick's Day and yacht race or not – we're going to mark it! He made a speech in Irish and then dangled the promise of some goodies for us all later – sent from the Cork crew to help us all celebrate with him. We also got an email back from Piers – who sounds in fine form – and is lapping up the atte...
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Leg 5, Race 7 Day 15, 16th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, March 21, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 Day 15, 16th March

Morning watch was busy. We had the Yankee 2 up and poled out then dropped it almost immediately as the wind went through a switch, in favour of the Yankee 1 on a reach. Almost as soon as we'd done it the wind changed again – sod's law – but instead of reacting I suggested we “Do a Dudin” and wait for 10 mins (on average the time it would take him to roll and smoke a ciggie while pondering the next move!) In the end the wind steadied and we ran with the ...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 14, 15th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, March 21, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 14, 15th March

Didn't sleep again but nonetheless felt much more rested today. The temperature has dropped again – we're back into needing mittens on deck and the layer I had stripped out of my sleeping bag was hastily restored. I've been taking most of my off-watch opportunities to catch up on sleep – or rest at least but am also conscious I'm now way behind on my blog and other jobs are queuing up.

In the afternoon we get an email from Piers which cheered us all up. ...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 13, 14th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, March 21, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 13, 14th March

Although sleep is still fitful, most of us felt better and ready to get back to sailing  today. After a fairly calm day yesterday we are back into big seas, big waves and rolling conditions which reminds us we need to be alert and on the case. It doesn't matter what we've been through or whether or not we have a skipper – the sea doesn't stop or wait for anyone. The challenge is still right here in front of us and we have to step up to the mark. We receiv...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 12, 13th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, March 21, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 12, 13th March

Yesterday evening was a sombre affair. Brendan did very well to settle us down, congratulate us on our handling of the situation and lay out the plan for a steady next couple of days. I'd volunteered to do another mother-watch with Albert as the galley needed a thorough sort out after the rough weather had played havoc with everything. The day passed in a haze of food, tea and tears as the adrenaline from the previous 36 hours wore off and exhaustion set-in...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 11, 12th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, March 21, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 11, 12th March

When Albert nudged me into action an hour and a half later I didn't want to get out of bed. I knew I had a job to do but as soon as I got up, the day would officially begin and it would be a day in which we  waved goodbye to our skipper. I wanted to try and put it off but I knew it was inevitable. We were on route to the rendezvous point and Australia were gradually catching us – although they had a problem with their engine so progress was slow. Clipper ...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 10, 11th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, March 21, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 10, 11th March

This is surf city! We are trucking along and have been for a couple of days. We're in second place and taking miles out of every boat at every race schedule. We're riding the edge of a low pressure system and have hit it just right – perhaps our luck has changed ...for once!

The wind changes during the morning - we gybe the Yankee across and drop the pole and are now reaching with the winds bang on the beam – not a great point of sail.

The sun comes out d...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 9, 10th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, March 15, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 9, 10th March

Today I lost my sense of humour - big time. I tried to find it but it wasn't in my bunk or in the forepeak, am pretty certain it wasn't in the saloon and I'm damn sure it wasn't in the galley. I know this because that's the torture chamber where I spent 14 wretched hours today!

The conditions on deck are fabulous – some sunshine – a bit of relief from all the rain we've had and good speeds under a poled-out headsail. We are not heeled over very much and t...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 8, 9th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, March 15, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 8, 9th March

Our night watch last night was more of the same. We expected the winds to die off a bit and although they did occasionally dip down as far as the early 20's, gusts of 28, 29 knots kept coming every few minutes – just enough to keep us from shaking a reef out.

By our midday watch start the winds were up again and it wasn't long before we dropped the staysail and then later swapped out the Yankee 3 for the storm jib. The sea state had picked up again and seeme...
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Leg 5, Race 7 Day 7, 8th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, March 15, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 Day 7, 8th March

My foot feels better today, the swelling has gone down. The main problem is still getting my boot on and off – once it's on though, it's not too bad at all. Had a great zzzzz this morning with Ipod on and a short 'bunk disco' (interesting in a sleeping bag!)   – although still too hot despite the northerly winds now being some slightly colder air.  Had a rude awakening for watch – my bunk (I'm on the top) was being pushed up and down, earthquake fashion, by...
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Leg 5, Race 7 Day 6, 7th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, March 15, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 Day 6, 7th March

Got up and after quite a struggle got my boot on and was on deck for watch – I was given some stick that I shouldn't be there but the winds had gone light again so the boat was fairly flat and steady and not likely to be too challenging for my ankle.

On watch later it was quite a different story. We went from barely making headway with a windseeker straight to Y2 plus 2 reefs in the main. The gear change was like going from pootling down a country lane at 30 mph...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 5, 6th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, March 15, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 5, 6th March

I didn't really sleep during my 8am to midday off-watch. I lay in my bunk with my ipod on and snoozed, eventually rousing to the realisation that I was far too hot! Not a sensation I expected to experience at any point of this leg! I couldn't believe that I might actually have to take a layer out of my sleeping bag!

The rain had cleared up, it was still relatively mild. Still the mid-layer salopettes and thin fleece were donned – not because I really needed ...
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Leg 7, Race 5 – Day 4, Friday 5th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, March 6, 2010,
Leg 7, Race 5 – Day 4, Friday 5th March

Mike B woke me at 7.15am. My initial reaction was “shit, I'm late for motherwatch” and then I realised that was yesterday and I was back to normal today. The lack of violent boat motion once again gave away the fact that we were in a light wind situation and just to underline that as I was about to go on deck for watch, the mid-weight spinnaker was shoved down the companion way at me and I could hear the Windseeker being hoisted. It was the start o...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 3, Thursday 4th March

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, March 6, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 3, Thursday 4th March

We had held on to second place all of yesterday right up until the final sched when we then dropped to fourth as Australia and Jamaica snuck past us.

Today my contribution to keeping the boat going fast was to keep the troops fed and watered.  The wind had dropped right down and had spun round behind us, which made the motion of the boat much easier – it also made my bunk far too comfortable and I was loath to leave it and Bertie Bear – my newly p...
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Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 2, Wednesday 3rd March

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, March 6, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 – Day 2, Wednesday 3rd March

By this morning the fleet had dispersed again and we were back to battling against Cape Breton Island – who were once again neck and neck – (or bow and bow) with us on the horizon.  Now our sail changes had settled a tad and as it was still (and likely to be for some time) pretty darn cold, Tom our watch leader reinstated the system of having limited numbers on deck so we could warm ourselves in rotation in the comparative warmth (which wasn't r...
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Leg 5, Race 7 Day 1 - 2nd March Race Start Day

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, March 6, 2010,
Leg 5, Race 7 Day 1 - 2nd March Race Start Day

5 hours of sleep is barely enough, I decided as my alarm sounded at 6.15am – just time for a final luxurious hot shower and hair wash – quite possibly my last for the next 4 1/2 weeks! Albert and I, who had been sharing a cheap and cheerful apartment since we'd arrived in Qingdao, did a final scout around for left items and scurried off just before 7am, to grab a taxi back to the marina.

As we'd come to expect, it was a bitterly cold morning bu...
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Leg 4 Race 6 Day 20, 21st February 2010

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, February 28, 2010,
Leg 4 Race 6 Day 20, 21st February 2010

Our final night-watch passed without hitch last night. Trucking along at 10 & 11 knots in the freezing cold. We had passed through the busy waters earlier so had a pretty uninterrupted 6 hours flying across the Yellow sea to our destination. Every half-hour or so we were checking the distance to the official finish line and ticking off the miles. The following watch would be on at the point of crossing the line but Mick and I asked to be woken up 15 minu...
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Leg 4 Race 6 Day 19, 20th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, February 28, 2010,
Leg 4 Race 6 Day 19, 20th February

Despite our eventual good progress last night our position of 7th remains the same. It seems the other boats didn't get the light winds we did and kept moving for those extra hours. Our predicted time for crossing the finish line is about 4am tomorrow morning and it's now looking like there's really nothing we can do to change our position in the race. Edinburgh are a long way behind us so 7th is assured and we are too far behind Cape Breton – our nearest r...
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Leg 4 Race 6 – Day18, 19th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, February 28, 2010,
Leg 4 Race 6 – Day18, 19th February

The sea state is now slightly calmer, the night clearer but also colder. We're now down in 7th position, which is hard to take when we have been working the boat so hard. We gambled on coming further east in order to get slightly stronger winds and a better run in towards the finish line – however the lighter winds that we hoped the rest of the fleet would get don't appear to have hit them. Certainly not significantly enough to make a difference. Althoug...
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Leg 4, Race 6, Day 17, 18th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, February 21, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 6, Day 17, 18th February

Last night was a nightmare. It started off ok on our 3 on and 3 off hourly rotations but 2 hours before the end of the watch the wind picked up and we did the “sail change from hell!” I spotted the trend in wind increase too late so by the time we were getting the yankee 3 up on deck the winds were already gusting up to the mid 30s, the night was pitch black and absolutely freezing. It took 4 of us 15 minutes to get the new sail down the length of the d...
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Leg 4 Race 6 Day 16 17th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, February 21, 2010,
Leg 4 Race 6 Day 16 17th February

I have a new best friend as of last night. He's called Henri (Henri Lloyd) and he's my brand new, worn for the first time, mid-layer Salopettes! That, along with my thickest base layer, fleece and mid-layer jacket meant that I was toasty warm all night on night-watch. Although in fairness I couldn't compare to the previous night as we did split watches last night. One thing I can crow about – and that's that I finished a watch without being soaked through to...
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Leg 4 Race 6 - Day 15 16th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, February 16, 2010,

Leg 4 Race 6 - Day 15 16th February

I'm now sleeping in my sleeping bag. In the space of 4 days I've gone from sleeping in nothing (well a t-shirt for decency's sake) to getting into my muslin sleeping bag liner, to lying on top of my sleeping bag and now I'm finally in it with the zip done up! We were told there would be a sharp change in temperature and conditions during this race – and they weren't wrong! It's staggering you can have such a dramatic change in climate without sitting o...


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Leg 4 Race 6, Day 14 15th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, February 15, 2010,

Leg 4 Race 6, Day 14 15th February

I slept well last night – for a good 2 hours and was dreaming about sailing. I'd been sailing along nicely when suddenly the wind picked up and stormy weather started bouncing the boat around. It seems this was an omen, as just before we were due to go on watch, things started getting lively! We were straight up on deck putting in the first reef and then taking down the yankee 2 and hanking on the yankee 3. Back on the bow, the waves were crashing over ...


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Leg 4 Race 6 - Day 13 14th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, February 14, 2010,

Leg 4 Race 6 - Day 13 14th February

1.30am came round far too quickly. Especially as sleep was being unfashionably late and still hadn't bothered to show until well after midnight! I started off grumpy and was even grumpier within 10 minutes as someone had taken my Oilie jacket from the wet locker and after rifling through the entire space for 15 minutes, I had to borrow a spare just to get myself on deck – late! Grrrrrrr! This was the first time since leaving the Southern Ocean in leg 3...


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Leg 4 Race 6 – Day 12 13th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, February 14, 2010,

Leg 4 Race 6 – Day 12 13th February

As predicted sleep is something that evaded me last night. The boat slammed against the waves and I slammed against my bunk pretty well all night. The only relief was when it felt like we were tacking 3 times during the night. Each time I felt the boat level off and slow right down as we headed into the wind. Each time I adjusted my bunk angle ready to counter the heel on the opposite side and each time I ended up putting my bunk back to where I starte...


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Leg 4 - Race 6, Day 11 12th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, February 12, 2010,

Leg 4 - Race 6, Day 11 12th February

Bang, bang, Bang! Was the noise that I woke up to at 1.30 this morning. Swiftly followed by a quick blast of 'Happy Birthday to You' sung by Charlie and Mike to an amused if slightly bleary-eyed Jeremy (or Victor as I call him – after Victor Meldrew). The bangs had been a series of party poppers fired off over his bunk as a special 'Birthday treat'!!! Our old faithful Birthday banners had been strung up and fresh balloons blown up for the occasion but...


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Race 6 Day 10 11th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, February 12, 2010,

Race 6 Day 10 11th February

11.45am Dudin Mean Time (DMT)

I arrived on deck at 1.45am this morning to be welcomed by the most beautiful starry sky. The night sky when viewed from the middle of the ocean is really the most spectacular sight. I'm by no means any expert on the stars but it's hard to miss the Milky Way, Mars is very bright at the moment but search as I might I haven't found a Fruit and Nut up there in the heavens yet! After identifying the Plough, Orion and the Southern Cross...


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Race 6 Day 9 10th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, February 12, 2010,

Race 6 Day 9 10th February

Yesterday evening was watch change-over. The whole crew are split into four groups and two watches (Port and Starboard watch). There are two groups per watch and every four days two of the groups changes watch, so each group has 8 days per watch but will be with two other groups on that watch within that time (I hope you're following this!). I've been on Port watch since race start and yesterday at 8pm, moved to starboard watch. This meant instead of starting nig...


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Race 6 Day 8 9th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, February 10, 2010,
Race 6 Day 8 9th February

Today we have all started to focus a few days further ahead. We think we have a couple more days of good weather, the winds are due to go lighter before we could be set for a strong blow either just before or just after the scoring gate. The temperature over the last two nights has dropped slightly and we are all wearing light jackets at night now. Piers reminded us that while it's still relatively calm, now is a good time to sort through our kit, get our thermals and...
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Race 6 Day 7 8th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, February 10, 2010,
Race 6 Day 7 8th February

Today was no ordinary day for two reasons. Firstly it was Mikey's Birthday and on Hull & Humber we always go big on Birthdays and secondly after much joking and teasing from the crew Piers our Skipper agreed that he would do motherwatch – for the first time! The deal was brokered yesterday. Our two primary watch leaders Tom and Mike would run the boat while Piers would run the galley. It sounds a bit risky when we are doing so well but in fairness our course was set...
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Race 6 Day 5 7th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, February 8, 2010,
Race 6 Day 5 7th February

Today was a busy, day for me. I was first up on the helm which delayed my breakfast (never a good start for me!) and then as engineer we also have to keep the yacht's log up to date (every 2 hours) do the engine and generator checks, empty water out of the bilges and clean the general cabin areas below deck. The last jobs are done at 4pm when everyone is up, so in theory, you don't disturb anyone who is trying to sleep. This morning I had to return to my role of “Su...
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Race 6 – Day 5 Saturday February 6th

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, February 8, 2010,
Race 6 – Day 5 Saturday February 6th

We are still sailing hard today – flying along in fact! We are still in first place but with Cape Breton hot on our heels. The rest of the fleet are further west and heading north while we too are going north but also trying to get a bit further east. All the weather forecasts predict that the wind will swing round to the east, which will then help us go north and make it tougher on the boats with a lot of easting still to make. So in theory, if the for...
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Leg 4 Race 6, Day 4 - 5th February

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, February 8, 2010,
Leg 4 Race 6, Day 4 - 5th February

Sleep did come last night despite the heat and before I knew it Tom, our watch leader was at the side of my bunk to nudge me into life and remind me I had 15 minutes to get myself on deck.

I had been vaguely aware of a tack during the night… aware enough to reach out and ease the tilt cord on my bunk so I was horizontal again, without fully waking up and also aware of sails being moved around in the forepeak I'm guessing at about 6am, but as I woke up with ...
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Leg 4 Race 6 - 4th Feb, Day 3

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, February 5, 2010,
Leg 4 Race 6 - 4th Feb, Day 3

Last night we saw the fruits of all of our lugging and rail-sitting efforts. The scheds that arrived around 11pm put us in second place next to Cape Breton.  We were chuffed to bits and even more so when, having tacked, we crossed Cape Breton's path. We were on Starboard tack and therefore the stand-on vessel and so as we were set to collide, Cape Breton had to duck behind us to avoid us. As they ducked behind us, that technically then put us in first place!  Admi...
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Leg 4 Race 6 - 3rd Feb, Day 2

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, February 5, 2010,
Leg 4 Race 6 - 3rd Feb, Day 2

Night watch last night was good. I've always enjoyed night sailing under the stars and while as night fell there were quite a few clouds around, they soon cleared to reveal the wonderful starry skies that we'd all come to know and love. The winds, while still light, were fairly steady and we held to our course well, all the time trying to pinch as tight into the wind as we could. Dotted all around us on the horizon we could see the masthead lights of nearly all th...
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Leg 4 Race 6 - 2nd Feb Day 1

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, February 5, 2010,
Leg 4 Race 6 - 2nd Feb Day 1

My final night in Singapore was spent sleeping on deck under the night sky in Keppel Bay Marina. It was far too hot and sticky to attempt to sleep below decks in my bunk and anyway I'd much rather sleep on deck when it's safe to do so.
We were all up at 6am to clear Immigration and had breakfast courtesy of our hosts, as the day slowly started to dawn and the temperature likewise rose.  A much as we'd enjoyed our stop-over we were all agreed that we'd been on dry la...
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Leg 4, Race 5 - 18th January – The finish!

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, February 1, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 5 - 18th January – The finish!

As predicted, around 3am we crossed the official finish line to Race 5. Technically in 6th position but with Finland behind having stopped to transfer Cork's skipper onto Qingdao at what was now becoming known as “Cork Island”, we were pretty sure we'd end up in 7th. Our worst result so far and no points from the scoring gate either. We are all a bit disappointed, however we know we raced hard, worked the boat hard and learned a huge amount – ...
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Leg 4, Race 5 - 17th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, February 1, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 5 - 17th January

It's my turn for mother watch again today – this turn my partner in grime is Tom. We soon realised that the last time we were on mother watch together was the fateful day that Arthur went overboard in Leg 2, so everyone made me promise not to go near the video camera, lest I bring a fresh disaster upon us. (It appears that my media role is still being heralded as the jinx for all our troubles!!!) The weather was pretty well the same as the last few days – only ...
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Leg 4 Race 5 - 16th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, February 1, 2010,
Leg 4 Race 5 - 16th January

Today is Jo's Birthday and as Albert and I appear to be chief B'day organisers, that's what we did – we organised. As I was on the opposite watch from Jo, it was down to me to bake the Birthday cake while she was sleeping and Mike B heroically blew up some modelling balloons that didn't want to be blown up and stuck up some Happy Birthday Banners that didn't want to stick! Piers had predicted the same pattern of overnight squalls again but despite the fact that th...
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Leg 4, Race 5 -15th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, February 1, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 5 -15th January

So we're racing up to Singapore – or Batam Island to be correct – except none of us really know if we are racing or not. It really doesn't feel like it at all. We are all still in shock at Cork's exit from the race and we spend a lot of time speculating about what Clipper will do – whether they'll try and salvage the boat, repair it and even if it will be able to rejoin the race at a later stage. I can't begin to imagine how I would feel if I was a crew member...
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Leg 4, Race 5 -14th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, January 30, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 5 -14th January

Woke up at 1.20 by Charlie in full foulies saying they had been in one squall for 6 hours!!  Got on deck to find it was by then, only drizzling but blowing quite well. After the last few days I knew enough to make sure I kept an eye on the radar to spot any squalls coming at us. The squalls were easy to spot - a mass of solid yellow that took over a good portion of the radar screen! Pretty soon we had some weather coming in – Piers had a look and confirmed that ta...
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Leg 4, Race 5 -13th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, January 30, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 5 -13th January

At 2am I arrived on deck to find we'd also arrived at the straits – the previous watch had tacked several times – we could all tell as we'd gone from lying on our lee-cloths to having noses pressed against the side of the boat and then back to cuddling the lee-cloth again!.
We now had Singapore and Qingdao Clippers within spitting distance as we sailed up through the narrow part of the straits – while keeping a beady eye out for pirates! This area was renowned...
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Leg 4, Race 5 -12th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, January 30, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 5 -12th January

Got up – to find the lightweight spinny was up and we were sailing along quite nicely - trimming and making reasonable progress – we could still see other Clipper lights around us on the horizon so it was still all to play for. Pretty soon we were aware we were sailing into a blacker and blacker hole and it was pretty obvious we had an almighty squall coming. We got the yankee ready to hoist and woke Piers who called for an immediate spinny drop, and yankee and ...
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Leg 4, Race 5 - 11th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, January 30, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 5 - 11th January

Today is my first day of 4 as watch leader. I was neither looking forward to it nor dreading it but I did know it would challenge me, take me out of my comfort zone but that ultimately I would learn a lot and enjoy the experience all the more for it. Before I could concentrate properly on being a grown-up Mike B and I were woken especially early in order to play a practical joke on JR – who had been particularly obnoxious (in the nicest possible way) yesterday! W...
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Leg 4, Race 5 - 10th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, January 30, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 5 - 10th January

Yet another hot, Hot, HOT day! – True to our word we were trimming the lightweight kite during the night – and as we'd hoped we'd taken miles off all boats – although we are still in 8th place but much more in touch with the other boats now. Edinburgh appeared on our stern this morning and by working hard we managed to banish them to the horizon! So we can see that what we are doing is paying off. Tempers have settled down now, everyone is positive and has th...
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Leg 4, Race 5 - 9th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, January 30, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 5 - 9th January

Having gone to bed at about 10pm last night for my full night's sleep treat after mother-watch, I then found I couldn't. Sleep that is. So after an hour and a half of trying every lying position imaginable and some you probably can't imagine I stuck my head on deck to see what was going on, got involved in an evolution and stayed up til 2am for the rest of the watch.
Was woken at 7am by Big Mike to tell me they were about to do a Spinnaker peel and did I want to fil...
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Leg 4, Race 5 - 8th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, January 11, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 5 - 8th January

I should have been editing on night-watch last night but once again we were busy packing the mid-weight, putting the heavy up and calling trim and spinny collapse for each other on deck. We are playing the angles with the wind and can't quite seem to make the heading we want. It's tricky on the helm as you have to balance between getting the boat speed up – and going in the right direction. At the moment the two are about 30 degrees apart on the compass and it's a...
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Leg 4 – Race 5 - 7th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, January 11, 2010,
Leg 4 – Race 5 - 7th January

After the excitement of the previous night, getting up on deck to find that there was still a deck and sails up was reassuring!  However the winds had dropped and so had our speed and I after half an hour of watching our chances of gaining ground on the other boats disappeared, we finally woke up the skipper hoping he'd make a decision to change down to the light-weight kite to get us going.  As is often the case when you feel forced to wake Piers when you know h...
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Leg 4, Race 5 - 6th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, January 11, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 5 - 6th January

Another scorching day on the water.  However we wake up to find the wind has died right down. In fact it died pretty soon after we went off watch and during the last 6 hours Jamaica had gone past us.  We were a bit disappointed, as the previous 6 hours we had been the fastest boat in the fleet and had taken miles out of everyone. But it also made us more determined. Now, unlike leg 1 when we were also faced with light airs and we floundered not really knowing what t...
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Leg 4, Race 5 - 5th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, January 11, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 5 - 5th January

Last night we took the heavy weight spinnaker down and sailed night-watch with a poled-out yankee 2 sail and the main.  The seas are still quite rough and confused and this is by far the safer option – especially with everyone finding their feet and their helming heads again – and for some of the leggers it will be the first time they've helmed at night with the spinnaker. As night fell we could still see the lights of the other 7 Clipper yachts around us. It w...
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Leg 4, Race 5 - 4th January

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, January 11, 2010,
Leg 4, Race 5 - 4th January

If we thought we would have a gentle settle into this race on our first night watch, we were mistaken.  With all the fleet so close and the wind changeable we had almost 6 full hours of constant graft.  We went through 2 sail changes, bagging and packing sails and reefing the main in and out. By the end of the watch we were rigging a spinnaker pole ready for a potential hoist by the other watch at first light.  I was hoping that this would mean after a very long rac...
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Leg 4 – Race 5 3rd Jan 2010 – Race Start Day

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, January 11, 2010,
Leg 4 – Race 5 3rd Jan 2010 – Race Start Day

(editorial note: as this is posted, the blogs have skipped from Christmas Day straight to here. The missing days may get patched in later).

We were all up bright and early in our apartment – despite staying out later than we should have done and then also having had a very difficult conversation with Charles last night. It was blatantly obvious he was still in a lot of pain and extremely uncomfortable with basic sleeping and moving around.  We ...
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Geraldton – Christmas Day

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, January 7, 2010,
Geraldton – Christmas Day

Christmas Day is Christmas Day however old you are and wherever you are in the world. It is just as exciting regardless. Well for me it is anyway! I got up eagerly – if a little gingerly (too much beer and wine last night!) to see if Santa had left me any presents under the tree. I was pretty optimistic – because I always am - but mainly because I'd had a huge stash of parcels waiting for me yesterday which I had deposited under said tree ready for this morning!...
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Leg 3 Day 24 – Christmas Eve!

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, January 7, 2010,
Leg 3 Day 24 – Christmas Eve!

Last night was busy.  Busy helping Albert in the galley, box up all our food that can stay on board and busy doing the final 'fling' on the bits that can't.  Also I'm needed on deck to help out drop our headsails as the wind strength is such that the main alone is enough to keep us trucking along. I also happen to know that Piers is trying to delay our arrival into Geraldton until around 6am – when it's light and the cameras will be able to film our arrival an...
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Leg 3 Day 23 - 23rd December

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, January 7, 2010,
Leg 3 Day 23 - 23rd December

I'm on Mother watch with Brett today – which is bound to be interesting as Brett notoriously hates mother-watch!  I make Bread for Lunch which is baked and out of the oven just in time to be eaten with baked beans and salami – lots of salami as we are now eating up everything we can't take into Australia with us.  Anything not tinned has to be used or slung overboard as the Aussie custom rules are very strict! It's an amazingly bright, sunny day. Good strong wi...
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Leg 3 Day 22 - 22nd December

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, January 7, 2010,
Leg 3 Day 22 - 22nd December 

It's still not sunny or particularly warm today and we're not happy at all! The day brightened up this afternoon but we are starting to doubt that it can possibly be 40 degree mid-summer heat in Geraldton – which is now after all only just around the corner! We were expecting to be in shorts and t-shirts by now and topping up our tans ready for Chirstmas! As the day continues the wind picks up gradually but is still not quite the strong winds we should be getti...
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Leg 3 Day 21- 21st December

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, January 7, 2010,
Leg 3 Day 21- 21st December

We wake up each day expecting to have sunshine and for it to be much warmer – and each day doesn't quite deliver.  In an effort to put a spring in our step, I decide it's time Christmas arrives on board H&H and so get out the few bits of tinsel and the Santa hat I had bought in Cape Town, along with the mini-tree, decs and tinsel Albert bought and a few of us set about decorating the saloon and Nav station area. I get 'Blue Peter' creative, dig out some coloured c...
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Leg 3 Day 20 - 20th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, January 7, 2010,
Leg 3 Day 20 - 20th December

It was a starry, starry night on night watch and with the sails up we are making good ground. The first quarter-moon was up and looking very orange,  and it was lovely to be helming by stars again – even if they did keep disappearing behind cloud! We whiled away the hours by writing the scenes and script for our boat Nativity. It would be based around the actual Nativity but featuring Baby Arthur, a 6ft 9 inch tall and bearded Mary, three wise crew members bearin...
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Leg 3 Day 19 - 19th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, January 7, 2010,
Leg 3 Day 19 - 19th December

Last night was a wet miserable night.  The rain was that really wet kind – a bit like a heavy mist, that seems to get in everywhere and soak you through far more than a torrential down pour.  We are in light winds again – the high pressure has finally caught us up and Piers predicts we might be under motor for the next 24 – 36 hours. It's not great but the upside is engine power takes fewer bodies to man the boat. We split our watch into smaller groups – I ...
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Leg 3 Day 18 –!8th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Thursday, January 7, 2010,
Leg 3 Day 18 –!8th December

I'm full of cold today and feel utterly rubbish.  You still have to keep going though, as the ocean doesn't stop doing it's thing just because you feel ill! However blogging does stop when I feel rubbish. I'm hoping at times like these, less is more!



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Leg 3 Day 17 - 17th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 23, 2009,
Leg 3 Day 17 - 17th December

Woke up drenched in sweat again– the lurgy has finally settled on me now!  Had a couple of paracetemol, got dressed and got on with it.

The night was as dark as any I'd seen. Complete cloud cover again making even the faintest of horizons impossible to detect.  Helming was by compass only and while not difficult, due to the still gusting winds, was challenging to keep both course and speed up and steady – still aiming for our target and keeping GKHFX in mind.  A...
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Leg 3 Day 16 - 16th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 23, 2009,
Leg 3 Day 16 - 16th December

I didn't sleep very well last night and woke up drenched in sweat – it seems I had got the cold bug now! Grabbed a couple of paracetemol from Piers – asking if he needed to pull my ear first (the medical check he used on everything – his own special Doctor Dudin signature treatment). He said no but he might pull my leg instead.  No change there then!  

Night watch – was very wet, pretty cold and very bouncy!  We are still trucking along at 10 – 11 knots. ...
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Leg 3 Day 15, 15th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 23, 2009,
Leg 3 Day 15,  15th December

My Motherwatch turn had come round again and once again was with Rob. Rob was one of the guys who had been struck down with the near fatal strain of man-flu so I suggested he stay in intensive care – sorry – bed for an extra half hours while I get breakfast organised!

We dished out the penultimate helpings of porridge for breakfast  (all our stocks were starting to run down now as we began what we hoped would be the final week of sailing) while the boat did its ...
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Leg 3 - Day 14 - 14th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 23, 2009,
Leg 3 - Day 14 - 14th December

Night watch gave us some great sailing again. The stars were out in full glory although only for a couple of hours as by 4am it was getting pretty light.  We had to relearn how to do everything at an angle again and I was thrilled at the appearance of not only Wilfred but also Walter, who I hadn't seen for a few days.

I now officially have the boat cold. It's been doing the rounds and in some very serious cases has turned into man-flu, however I just have a scratc...
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Leg 3 - Day 13- 13th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 23, 2009,
Leg 3 - Day 13- 13th December

At our AA meting last night JR announced that as he and Mike B would be 'Mother's' today and as it was a Sunday he was declaring an official mothering Sunday and cordially invited us to shower them with cards, flowers and other such gifts! Ordinarily I would have told them to “sod off” but as I was now relieved of my watch-leader status and therefore didn't have to pretend to be a responsible grown-up anymore - I jumped at the chance to show off my skills as a...
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Leg 3 - Day 12 - 12th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 23, 2009,
Leg 3 - Day 12 - 12th December

We had our final bit of good sailing today – according to the forecasts the winds are due to drop.  However we still managed good speeds during our night watch. It's still cold but feeling much milder – and there are fabulous sunsets and sunrises at the moment that use the whole of God's great paint palette.
The engine was turned on this morning, as the winds did finally drop, so we likewise dropped the sails and used the day for starting the deep clean. All t...
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Leg 3 – Day 11 - 11th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 23, 2009,
Leg 3 – Day 11 - 11th December

After 3 days of constant flying, the guy on our spinnaker gave up the ghost today and went 'pop'.
It's probably the longest constant spinny run we've had without anything giving up, so we kind of knew it would happen eventually.
I was off watch at the time and sitting in the heads when I heard it go. On leg one there would have been panic in the air but now – for us RTWers at any rate - our reaction was 'oh that'll be the guy then!'  Being only 16 crew I knew w...
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Leg 3 Day 10 – 10th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, December 15, 2009,
Leg 3 Day 10 – 10th December

We arrived on deck at 1.45am to a dark, dark night - not a glimmer of the moon or stars –  and we were running with the spinnaker overnight for the first time this leg. For the single leggers this was pretty daunting and for the rest of us, still a tall order as we had had first hand experience of wraps and knew how easily they could happen – especially when you can't see the sail! It's a bit like trying to pin the tail on the donkey except you don't have a b...
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Leg 3, Day 9 - 9th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, December 15, 2009,
Leg 3, Day 9 - 9th December

We switched watches yesterday evening. I was on Port watch and am now on Starboard watch, which means that when I was going to bed at 2am, I'm now getting up at 1.30am to be on deck for the start of night watch at 2! In these temperatures the challenge of a lifetime is just to get out of your “oh-so-warm” sleeping bag, but I had responsibility on my shoulders which helped motivate me to get up and into my now 7 layers of clothes! The night watch was my first as ...
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Leg 3, Day 8 - 8th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, December 15, 2009,
Leg 3, Day 8 - 8th December

Last night was a pleasure.  My sleeping bag, now rebuilt, was not only warm but the extra layer provided extra cushioning and I was a snuggly as a snuggly thing can be! It did take an hour or two for my feet to thaw out but they did eventually. The hardest thing now is prizing myself out of it ready for my next watch!

We had quite a busy day today, dropping headsails, reefing and putting up the heavyweight spinnaker. I took the opportunity to film some action with th...
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Leg 3 Day 7 - 7th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
Leg 3 Day 7 - 7th December

I had a full night's sleep last night – part of the perk of doing mother watch – although I didn't sleep all the night as I was too chuffing cold!  I had gone to bed with the thought that I would reattach the third layer to my Ocean Sleepwear Sleeping bag (they are truly marvelous) but having looked everywhere in my locker space by head-torch I couldn't find where I had stashed it – so had to go to bed and think warm thoughts.  It was only as I readjusted my pi...
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Leg 3 Day 6 - 6th December

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
Leg 3 Day 6 - 6th December

It was mother watch for me today. Rob and I were teamed up to cook up a storm in the galley. Well, actually what we were cooking up was soup and sarnies for lunch and pasta Bolognese for supper.  However it's not necessarily what you do but how you do it that makes the difference on mother watch, so the very basic fare we turfed out of a moderately bouncing galley, was dressed up with a large side-order of humour, enthusiasm and a large dollop of back-chat!  It's als...
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Leg 3 Day 5 – December 5th

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
Leg 3 Day 5 – December 5th

Today is John's Birthday, so after much secret squirreling during the night to organise card, decorations and cake, (Mike B had managed to find some egg substitute in Cape Town so we had high hopes for the result of the cake mix) John woke to find birthday banners and balloons and a semi-celebratory breakfast with card and present (tiny bottle of South African scotch).  The sun came along to celebrate, as did a magnificent Royal Albatross (not to be confused with t...
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Leg 3 Day 4 – December 4th

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
Leg 3 Day 4 – December 4th

Night watch last night promised to be a long chilly one with the prospect of staying on starboard tack and the wind direction set, there was potentially little else to do other than helm and keep an eye on the trim. However, we were kept on our toes all night as we periodically hit wind-holes for 5 or 10 minutes at a time, would run round trimming the sheets to try and keep the boat moving and then the next minute we'd be doing 11 and 12 knots again – so then re-...
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Leg 3 Day 3 – December 3rd

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
Leg 3 Day 3 – December 3rd

Night watch last night was cold. Extra layers were added – to the point where it took me twice as long and most of my patience to get my Foulie jacket on and off over the top of it all.  We were by no means at our coldest point of the race, so how I would cope in 10 – 15 degrees less I don't know! I may have to buy a jacket 2 sizes bigger!

The wind dropped again during the day and the yankee 1 – the biggest and heaviest of the foresails went up. We learnt how ...
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Leg 3, Day 2 - 2nd December

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
Leg 3, Day 2 - 2nd December

Still feeling shaky I did feel well enough to have toast and marmalade for breakfast – which immediately made me feel better still and I knew I was over the worst!  There were still quite a number being ill but each hour complexions were changing back from green to normal and the smiles were making a return to faces.  The wind had settled overnight and we'd also moved off the Agulhus Shelf, which had contributed to the short choppy waves that had been our downfall...
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Leg 3, (Race 4), Day 1 - 1st December

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
1st December

We finally left after much scrambling around and final checks from the surveyor to give us the all clear.

The last tools were all stowed, a quick final tidy up, a fill up with water and a wave off from the Clipper Team, the surveyor and all the local 'yachties' who had been watching our story with interest.
As we left, the Club rang their bell and bade us a good luck and a special farewell over the tannoy system.

It’s great to finally be heading out again – 9 days after most of t...
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Mon 30th – Cape Town – Day 8 of Repairs

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
Mon 30th
Today we would be moving back onto our beloved H&H. Hoorah! We were all packed and ready to go by 9am and piled into taxis and cars.
The boat was in a state of chaos but the main thing was that, where there had been a gaping hole in her hull, there was now a new shiny, apparently stronger than ever, bit of fibre glass.  Other than the missing branding she was looking almost as before. The final bits of woodwork were going into place along with the new block, the stanchions and the guar...
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Sat 28th & Sun 29th – Cape Town – Day 6-7 of Repairs

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
Sat 28th  & Sun 29th

The weekend passed slowly – a mixture of anticipation for the off and a final relax before we were. On Saturday morning we all gathered in one of the apartments for an update from Piers.  We were hoping that we could start doing some prep-work on the boat but Piers told us that we couldn't get access until Sunday late afternoon at the earliest, so a few of us agreed to reconvene then, ready to go and work – through the night if necessary – so that we could set sail ...
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Fri 27th – Cape Town – Day 5 of Repairs

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
Fri 27th

The waiting game gave way to another game today. Knowing that we'd be here all week, some of the guys bought a load of tickets to see one of the one-day cricket internationals between England and South Africa. Charles and I volunteered to shop first thing for a big crew picnic and at midday we set off for Newlands cricket ground with enough food to feed a small army.
The ground was pretty packed but we were pleasantly surprised to see a decent amount of St George Cross flags being wave...
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Thurs 26th – Cape Town – Day 4 of Repairs

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
Thurs 26th

Cork left for Oz  today.  We found out early on that they were going to be ready to leave by early evening.   A few of us went to wave them off and with them, two of  our H&H crew members, Charlie and Vic. It was hard to see them leave on an another boat and know that they wouldn't be sailing the Southern Ocean with us. It had been an even harder decision for them to make, to leave on Cork but both had big personal commitments in Australia, which meant they couldn't afford to wait a...
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Weds 25th – Cape Town – Day 3 of Repairs

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
Weds 25th

Today I made the most of being in the apartment - so much so that I didn't even get properly dressed until about 4pm!  A happy day vegetating in my new domestic surroundings and spent mainly on my laptop trying to sort through all the photos I'd taken so far to get them uploaded onto the internet for friends an family to see back home.  At 5pm Katy, Kirsten and I left for the yacht club as it was their race night and they had extended an invitation to the Hull & Humber crew to sail w...
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Tuesday 24th – Cape Town – Day 2 of Repairs

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
We were told we had to be up and clear of the boat by 9am so the repairs could start early. We were all packed up like refugees and then had a frustrating morning of hanging around while we waited to be told where our new accommodation was. Late morning Joff got us together to tell us where we were being put up. He also informed us that Cork would be leaving that Friday as their repairs were easier and already coming along well.  He was still hopeful that we'd be away in a week’s time – h...
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Weds 25th – Cape Town – Day 3 of Repairs

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
Today I made the most of being in the apartment - so much so that I didn't even get properly dressed until about 4pm!  A happy day vegetating in my new domestic surroundings and spent mainly on my laptop trying to sort through all the photos I'd taken so far to get them uploaded onto the internet for friends an family to see back home.  At 5pm Katy, Kirsten and I left for the yacht club as it was their race night and they had extended an invitation to the Hull & Humber crew to sail with them....
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Monday 23rd – Cape Town – Day 1 of Repairs

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
The morning arrived – bright and sunny with rock solid Table Mountain still there in the background. However there was a very definite black cloud still hanging over us.  Various contractors arrived bright and early to asses the damage and rumours banded around of a delay of anything between 5 days (which we knew in our hearts was unrealistic) and 3 weeks – which would mean the end of the race for several of the leggers and would also mean we'd be at sea for Christmas and  (even worse in ...
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Sunday 22nd – Leg 3, Race 4, Day 1 – leaving Cape Town & My Birthday!!!

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, December 9, 2009,
Today was a big day for all kinds of reasons. It was the start of Leg 3 – the next part of our adventure and the crossing, which would take in the Southern Ocean. It was also my birthday, (happy birthday to me, Happy Birthday to Me...!) but both of those things were to be overshadowed by the events of the day.

It started off bright and sunny and a few of us strolled down to the waterfront and a local hotel that did a fabulous buffet breakfast for a very reasonable price.  Kirsten went to get...
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Saturday 21st Cape Town Day 7

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, December 5, 2009,
Today was spent doing final preparations for the off. Final checks, a crew briefing from Piers and yet again another talk through the MOB and evacuation procedures for the boat. It seemed along time ago when we did that at the start of leg 2 and within a week or so were putting into practice those same procedures for real. I realised how far we'd come since then as sailors and more importantly as a crew – a team that was working really well together and was also now bonded more strongly thr...
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Friday 20th – Cape Town – Day 6

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, December 5, 2009,
The morning arrived and the sun was burning out across the world – a perfect scorching day for climbing a mountain – not! Undeterred I hailed a taxi from the yacht club with rucksack and mountaineering determination but with some doubt that either of the guys would be there to join me! After a 10 minute wait I was surprised to see a party of four brave hearted souls (idiots) like myself descend from a mini-bus ready for our slow-roasted challenge.
We finally found the start of our route ...
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Weds - 18th & Thurs 19th – Cape Town Days 5 & 6

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, December 5, 2009,
The next two days were working days. Actually I thought I had the morning off on Wednesday but the Corporate sail was brought forward to 10.30am.  We were up and sprucing up the boat from 8am. It was fairly clean and tidy but when you've lived on a boat for 3 months it feels like home and we were amused to note that it felt exactly like having friends round to dinner and the mad rush to make the place look spic and span beforehand!
We tidied away to the sound of the wind whistling through the...
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Cape Town - Day 4, 17th Nov - Shark Cage Diving!

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, November 28, 2009,
Today was the day I was to face my Nemesis! I was going on an adventure to see if I could make friends with another Hollywood blockbuster star – Jaws! I was also hoping that like his fellow thespians last night, he might be conscious that the camera puts 10 pounds on you and therefore also on a strict diet!

The mini-bus that was to take myself and other prospective 'bait' down to Gaansbai was due to arrive at 7.30am – which of course meant 7.50am in South African time. We had a long 2 hou...
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Cape Town - Day 3, 16th Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, November 28, 2009,
I was up bright and early eager to make the most of another day-off and to try and plan my much anticipated Shark Cage Diving adventure. Both the diving and the sharks scared the living daylights out of me but I was determined that in my year of doing things 'big and brave' I should face both of these head on and go for it! The girls and I had also booked up to go horse-riding on Noordhoek Beach later on – far more civilised and decidedly less scary so I needed to find something to keep me ...
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Cape Town - Day 2 15th November

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, November 27, 2009,
The sound of the wildly rattling halyards on the pin-rail by the mast should have been fair warning that today might not be the best day to venture over a thousand meters up a mountain. But neither that nor the fact that the top of this iconic rock was enshrouded in cloud was about to put me off.
We gathered at the lower cable car station at 8.30am and peered upwards. The cable car was very obviously not running due to the high wind and my fellow 'mountaineers' were equally dubious about my su...
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Cape Town - Day 1, 14th Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, November 27, 2009,
 Today is Saturday the start of the weekend – my first weekend in Cape Town, South Africa - and to make it perfect we have all been given the weekend off. Yippee! There is so much to see and do here but I still feel the need to ween myself away from the boat gradually. I also feel the need to have a 'normal' life day rather than a mad tourist day so I spend the morning in the yacht club, packing up my laundry to send off, catching up on emails and trying to research a few things to see and ...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 - 13th Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, November 27, 2009,
Day 18
8am and our next watch arrived and soon after the next set of “scheds”. We were firmly back in 4th place and were 17 miles ahead of Jamaica. We did that in one push over one night. We were all thrilled but I think we were all secretly thinking - “what if we'd been sailing like that for the last 5 days” - could we have been on the podium?! We knew we just had to hang on now and keep going and we'd have 4th place – which would give us 7 points and along with the 3 points from th...
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Rio to Cape Town - Leg 2, Race 3 - 12th Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, November 27, 2009,
Day 17
Today Jamaica overtook us – by 4 miles. We are so close to the finish now and to suddenly be in 5th place after everything is untenable. My initial reaction and the one I still have hours later is – 'over my dead-body'! I know most of the rest of the crew feel the same way. We take to the helm with renewed vigour, we are minutely trimming the spinnaker. We are cross examining our course and the reasons for steering it. Everyone makes sure they understand the difference between prefe...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 11th Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, November 11, 2009,
Wednesday 11th – Race 3, Day 16

Today the sun came out! Today I baked my second loaf of bread ever – which we all had for breakfast. Today we have less than 48 hours to go to Cape Town and today we are still in 4th place – although we did claw a few miles back on Finland and Singapore.  Today we also hoisted our spinnaker and now we need to sail all-out to try and get on that podium. We believe we can get at least one place back and we believe we deserve it. We also want to do it for Art...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 10th Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, November 11, 2009,
Tuesday 10th – Race 3, Day 15

I had one of those nights last night when you think you've slept forever and wake up certain that you've over-slept and find that you've been in bed only 20 minutes.  So you go back to sleep and wake up again positive you've slept through your alarm to find it's only another 15 minutes later.  And so that went on for about 5 hours!  The reason for this is that I was Watch-leader for the day and with that came the responsibility for waking up the rest of the watc...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 9th Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, November 11, 2009,
Monday 9th – Race 3, Day 14

Got up at 2am for night watch to find the heavy weight spinnaker was in the saloon with another rip in it Hmmm!!  Mike B and I set about tackling the repairs. I was completely drained from 2 days of logging and editing material I'd shot of the MOB incident – which apart from being of media interest was a record of exactly what had happened and when and the time it took to get Arthur back on board. Our initial estimate of 17 minutes for the rescue did not in fact...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 7th and 8th Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, November 11, 2009,
Sat 7th & Sunday 8th – Race 3 Days 12 & 13

After Friday's events we could have all have done with an easier days sailing. However the wind and the sea were not concerned with our issues and continued to blow and peak and trough their hearts out.

All the crew got on with the job in hand on deck but when below decks the previous days drama was replayed and discussed with each person adding their own detail until the whole picture was clear. I don't mind admitting that I was pretty anxious about...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 6th Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, November 7, 2009,
Friday 6th November - Leg 2, Race 3, Day 11

I could write about many different things today; about being on mother watch with Tom, of how in these conditions it's a dangerous affair as anything that isn't tied down launches itself across the galley – including us; of how I cooked my first ever curry; of the size of the waves which have increased ten-fold since yesterday or the fact that our “Flight school” seems to have doubled in numbers – of Albatross in particular.

But today the only...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 5th Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, November 6, 2009,
Thurs 5th  - Race 3 Day 10 - Bonfire Night
We took the decision to drop the spinnaker and run with a poled out head sail from yesterday evening. It was a gamble as Cork are hot on our heels and Singapore not far behind them. If they run with their Heavyweight spinnaker all night they could really chase us down.
At the midnight scheds Cork had taken 9 miles from us and we were worried that by the morning they might be in the lead but by the time the midday scheds came in we were still holding th...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 4th Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, November 6, 2009,
Weds 4th Race 3 Day 9

Despite my grumblings about the hours, we had a great night watch last night.  We were steadily busy throughout.  The helming is getting more challenging – but it's nice to work hard for the course and we get everything ready for an early spinnaker hoist. There has been a decided lack of stars so far on our trip down from Rio, which is disappointing. Either the moon has been too bright or on most occasions it's been a cloudy night.  I still haven’t seen the Southern C...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 3rd Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, November 6, 2009,
Tuesday 3rd   Race 3 Day 8

We did it! We crossed the scoring gate at 6.48 this morning. That's three really important points to us and proof that we are still in the lead too and just about holding off our nearest rivals Singapore and Cork. We've been trying to work out the possible placings for the overall race now, after leg 2- should we come first, second or third (obviously we're going for gold!) but the permutations are endless so we give up and hope for a nice surprise.  The good news is...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 2nd Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, November 6, 2009,
Monday 2nd  Race 3 Day 7

We're still first this morning but Singapore have caught up four miles as have Team Finland.  It's all quite close with about 24 hours to the scoring gate.  We're still moving well and are all effectively on the same course as everyone else  (heading due east) so we should be able to get to the gate first.  We know that anything can happen though so the tension is high.
Our Albatrosses are still here – along with other small unidentifiable birds. The largest Albatros...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 1st Nov

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, November 6, 2009,
Sunday 1st Race 3 Day 6
Halloween last night wasn't quite as planned. We ended up having a very busy night-watch so had no time to organise ourselves.  However Piers had conjured up some Pumpkin balloons from somewhere – with lights so they looked like lanterns and the second night-watch managed to conjure a ghoul, a ghost and a black cat. The only trick that was played by us 'spooks' was to confiscate Piers's special treat box... with a ransom note/poem left in its place saying that he woul...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 31st Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, November 6, 2009,
Saturday 31st Race 3 Day 5

It's the last day of October and that means Halloween tonight. One of the things that keeps us entertained on board is keeping up with the traditional holidays and events that we kept as kids and that probably have fallen by the wayside in our adult, far too busy, lives. So talk today has been of Halloween costumes (what can we possibly do with what we have... with no spare washing-up bottles, sticky-back plastic or empty loo rolls), trick or treating and pumpkins.
A ...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 30th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, November 3, 2009,
Fri 30th Race 3 Day 4

My dry-bags are wonderful bolster cushions and now I'm loving my bunk! I feel more like me today. Sleep is truly a wonderful thing!  My middle is still a bit sore but I'm sure I'll live!  I suspect it's also just taken me a few days to re-adjust to being back at sea again. Just about everyone is now also over their sea-sickness, 8th place has bolstered us and we are more determined to continue to work our way up the fleet.  The watch-leaders, Tom and Mike are on the ball ...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 29th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, November 3, 2009,
Thurs 29th  Race 3 Day 3

After a long day, a late finish and no sleep I started the day feeling decidedly below par. My whole body aches and I feel like I can do nothing other than be on watch and go straight to my bunk during off-watch.  I'm engineer today with Katy so we need to do the boat logs, the cleaning, the engine checks and check and pump all the bilges. I'm getting phobic about my bunk and the dampness underneath it too. Anything that falls down the gap between bunk and wall gets w...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 28th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, November 3, 2009,
Wednesday 28th – Leg 2 Race 3 Day 2

Today people are still being ill – including David an experienced sailor, who tries to battle on bravely with his mother-watch, in between staggering to the heads to throw-up.  Last night was somewhat eventful with the seas still making life difficult and a bilge alarm going off in the middle of the night.  Unfortunately the bilge that had rather a large amount of water in it was directly under my bunk, so a rather testing 45 minutes followed with my hea...
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Rio to Cape Town – Leg 2, Race 3 – 27th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, November 3, 2009,
Tuesday 27th

Leg 2 – Race 3 start Day

The day arrived and so with it a covering of dull, grey cloud and only the faintest whisper of wind. My fellow round-the-worlders and I looked edgily at each other.  We'd already had one Race start with no wind – we really didn't want the anti-climax of another one. We didn't need to worry too much though.  By the time we'd been through our official send off with speeches from the great and the good from the local yacht club and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston,...
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Rio De Janeiro 23-26 October

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, November 3, 2009,
Rio De Janeiro

23rd October

Did I say relax and enjoy Rio?  What I meant was, enjoy being on dry land.  Err, no, actually that doesn't work for today either – what I obviously meant was, enjoy not moving anywhere!
My first day proper in port was almost entirely spent on-board the yacht, sewing.  Finishing sewing the wet-weather covers for the saloon...which have now become known as 'The Bloody Saloon Cushion Covers” - (we're hoping that won't become a literal description during the race), s...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 22nd Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, October 31, 2009,
Thursday 22nd – The Eagle has landed!

We're here!  We've done it! Hoo-bloomin'-rah!!!  At 9.30am this morning, the Hull & Humber Yacht finally pulled into Urca Yacht Club, in Rio de Janeiro Marina, under the watchful eye of Joff the Clipper race director, the swiftly blinking lenses of the media cameras and, oh yes, into the welcoming, outstretched arms of Christ.  Now you can't really ask for a bigger welcome than that can you?!
Actually we did get one better. Virtually every member of the c...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 21st Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, October 31, 2009,
Wednesday 21st

This is it – this should be our final full day of sailing on this leg.  If we keep moving at a decent pace (we had given in and stuck the motor on just to keep ticking off the miles) in theory we'll cross the old finish line this evening and should be in to Rio by about 2am.  We are all starting to get excited  - and even Vic who for days has been saying “we'll never get to Bloody Rio” is now full of belief.  A new religion is born! We had just started to rejoice when a Br...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 20th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, October 31, 2009,
Tuesday 20th
Today I was Mother again – this time with Duncan  - who was in the galley bright and early before me, whisking up a storm... or more accurately, a jug of powdered milk. The normal breakfast routine trundled along – made slightly simpler by the fact that the choice was either porridge or muesli - we've run out of all other cereal options.  In fact we are now down to our final few 'day bags' of food!  We'd catered for the estimated journey duration that Clipper had given us but ...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 19th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, October 31, 2009,
Monday 19th October

Nightwatch whizzed by last night – it obviously pays to be busy and I managed to break up the evening into bite-sized sections.  Tom, who has been standing in as our watch-leader, has been very organised and given us half-hour slots for helming during the evening/night and made clear that as part of our duties, we then go on to check sail trim in the half hour after our helm.  So once I knew my schedule, I was able fit in a couple of hours of logging video (part of my med...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 18th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, October 31, 2009,
Sunday 18th October   - Dolphins & Dickens

Today was a catch-up day – which now seems to be part of my Sunday routine... although I think any routine is more by accident as you do tend to lose track of which day of the week it is. So I caught up on my blog, caught up on some washing and then gave myself time off to catch-up on my reading.  Reading for me is a luxury which in my old life I rarely afforded time for.  Even in my new life here on board I still struggle to allow myself time to si...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 17th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, October 18, 2009,
Saturday 17th – Food & Fantasies...

Qingdao came out of stealth mode at midnight and are back up to 57 miles in front of us.  We've been trying to chip away at their lead over the last few days and now the chance of catching them is starting to seem unlikely.  It was our last realistic goal for this race and the leg and although there are still a thousand miles left to race, the route choice and weather conditions are pretty well going to be the same for both of us – so unless they hit a w...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 16th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, October 18, 2009,
Friday 16th

No mother-watch today – hooray – so it should have been a great day.  However I had a really bad night last night. I was exhausted after 2 days of being constantly on the go from 6.30am to 9pm...and I was just too, TOO HOT!  I lay in bed trying to will myself to sleep and eventually got up thinking it must be about 7.30am.  It wasn't – it was 1.30am and just coming up to night watch change over. I shuffled into the heads – as that's what you do when you get up in the middl...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 15th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, October 18, 2009,
Thursday 15th – Mother-watch – the Sequel

I arrived in the galley this morning at 6.30am – having had very little sleep due to the violent motion of the boat.  Actually it wasn't really that violent but the wind had picked up again and we were hooning along upwind, at around 10 knots, heeled over and crashing off the occasional extra big wave – all things we had long forgotten about! Chloe had last night been nominated to do 'mother' with me today as Paul – who was on the rota - was ...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 14th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, October 18, 2009,
Wednesday 14th   Equator Day!

Today was a landmark day for us.  No matter what the weather was going to throw at us today we were pretty certain we'd cross the Equator.  In fact our estimated crossing time was just after midday.  I was on mother watch with Brett – fellow 'round the world-er' and man of very few words – the first three of which to me today were “I don't cook”.  Not great when that was our chief objective today – however we soon came to a deal that I cooked and he wash...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 13th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, October 18, 2009,
Tuesday 13th – Challenges!

The Wind has finally picked up – last night's watch was great.  We were moving again and all thoughts are focused on trying to catch Qingdao. They are just over 50 miles ahead of us and lying in sixth place.  We're in seventh. It's now looking unlikely that we'll catch the rest of the fleet and as long as we keep moving we should hold seventh at worst.  Over the last 36 hours we've managed to take a couple of miles from them – but nothing significant. We're all...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 12th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, October 18, 2009,
Monday 12th – Stress and Relief

A new day dawns and with it a new watch leader - Mike B - otherwise known as 'Bridas' – as he comes from Bridlington and who is an inaugural member of the soon to be famous “Silver Foxes” club - a group of 'Gentlemen' on board H&H, distinguishable by their years (old buggers) and their fine silvery locks (although most of them have now had a No.2 all over!).  So, Mike led us through his first watch with great calmness and purpose aided by his new-found b...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 11th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, October 18, 2009,
Saturday 11th October

Sunday is traditionally a day of rest.  But not for me today.  Having had our downpour yesterday and the tiniest extra bit of breeze, today is the first time in over a week I don't feel like the heat has sapped every ounce of energy from me.  So I've knuckled down to catching up on my web-blogs, (in the vain hope that at least 3 people are reading them!) and now that we've started moving have turned my mind to the Equator and the fact that, as part of the crossing ceremo...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 10th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, October 13, 2009,
Saturday 10th October – The Deep

Despite the rain over the last 36 hours, it seemed hotter than ever last night.  I had an hour’s sleep if that – and have woken up in a bit of a grump!    Suddenly I'm feeling that this 'Firm' was perhaps not all it was cracked up to be – and that perhaps it should provide air-con for it's employees – along with personal 'brow-moppets' and complementary buckets of ice. I decide that's an email for later and arrived on deck at 2am wearing what is gener...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 9th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, October 13, 2009,
Friday 9th – Dress-down/dress-up Friday!

The end of yesterday evening finally brought some relief from the heat. We'd watched the clouds gather throughout the afternoon in the distance to the east and ahead of us.  We took down our spinnaker and hoisted the more forgiving head sails and almost immediately the rain started.  The wind didn't arrive with it and as the thick, black clouds gathered overhead - even though just aft of the boat the sea and sky remained holiday brochure blue - Piers ...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 8th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, October 13, 2009,
Thursday 8th October – Big Journeys

The next morning we were relieved to see our sail still flying.  No signs of stress or weakness in the repair and we stood in the morning sunlight studying the fruits of our sweaty labour and could now see that it was well worth it.  After all, when your racing the boat comes first and you do whatever you have to do keep her moving.  We were pleased to have played a major part in that – even though it had been a slog at the time!

The day passed very pleas...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 7th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, October 13, 2009,
Wednesday 7th  -  The Final Operation

Back up on watch at 2am we actually spent a couple of hours up on deck doing some helming and trying to remember what it was like to sail!  The winds were still very intermittent for us – the air was hot and humid and night watch attire was the same as day attire – shorts, t-shirts and either crocs, flip-flops or bare feet!
By 4am we were back in “theatre” to re-insert the leech line through the edge of the tape. It took 3 of us nearly two hours to ...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 6th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, October 13, 2009,
Tuesday 6th October – Albert's Birthday

After the previous day's escapade I was looking forward to a long sleep.  One of the perks of being on mother watch is that you get a long night’s sleep either before or after your watch.  Mine was before.  The downside to this was that it was far too hot to sleep properly and I was also conscious I needed to be up extra early to get all the plans for Albert's (Alison – now known as Albert) Birthday in place.

I hadn't banked on waking up at 1.30am a...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 5th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, October 13, 2009,
Monday 5th October  - Best laid Plans...

It was indeed lucky that I had been super organised, as this morning I was given my own special present.  Actually to be fair it was mine to share with the two Mikes.  The mid-weight spinnaker we had been flying to try and move us along, had got caught on the spreaders which then proceeded to rip it.  Not just one rip but a whole mid-section that peeled down, banana-skin style right through the middle!
As we were about to go off-watch and try and get som...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 4th Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, October 13, 2009,
Sunday 4th October – Planning a party at Sea

My attention is drawn away from racing today as it's Al's Birthday on Tuesday – the day when I'm next on Mother watch, so the onus is on me to try and conjure nice Birthday food from the contents of the 'day-bag' of ingredients I have on that day.  It's a bit like 'Ready, Steady Cook' only without the cameras, the chefs who know what they're doing...oh yes and without any decent ingredients!!!
The menu for Tuesday is the normal breakfast (porridg...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 3rd Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Tuesday, October 13, 2009,
Saturday 3rd October – The Gate

There's bad news, good news and good news today. The bad news is that Qingdao have declared that they have crossed the scoring gate ahead of us.  The good news is, that looking at their co-ordinates they've miscalculated and have actually gone outside the scoring gate – which is unfortunate for them but gives us the second bit of good news, in that we've now crossed it (at last – I was beginning to think we never would) and have gained an extra two points....
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 2nd Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, October 3, 2009,
2nd October
Well it's got us again. We're so close to the scoring gate now and the wind has died and we're going nowhere fast. However it's big Mike's Birthday today. A youthful 53 years old and the team have gone all out to make it as special as possible. Fresh coffee has been brewed for breakfast, and Vic and Al have been working overnight and into the early hours making fresh bread 'sausage rolls' - using up some spare tins of hotdog sausages, and a fantastic looking chocolate cake – from...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 1st Oct

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, October 3, 2009,
1st October
The wind has definitely improved.  We put a reef in our mainsail last night (pulled a section of it down to the boom to reduce the sail area).  I also had fun getting some good video footage and still shots of the waves crashing over the bow and a wall of water flying into the air as we once again slam into a wave. I also got pretty drenched as I was lying on the low side of the deck holding the video camera as far out and as low as I could get it, without actually disappearing und...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 30th Sept

Posted by Della Parsons on Saturday, October 3, 2009,
30th September

We all know that the one thing you can rely upon with the weather is its unreliability.  And sure enough it's lived up to that over the last twenty-four hours.  Overnight we continued to crawl along, although the wind has a feeling of starting to build.  Having looked at the synoptic charts, Piers took the decision to tack out to the west – away from the direction of the scoring gate but hoping that the better winds we'd find out there would make our overall speed towards the ...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 29th Sept

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, September 30, 2009,
Tuesday 29th
Apart from the excellent jape by starboard watch, last night was very frustrating.  We had the light-weight spinnaker up and the main sail but had so little wind that it was all over the place.  The guys on the helm had to use the gentlest of touches on the wheel and even the really experienced guys struggled to keep the sail filled.  In the end we took the mainsail down. It might not have helped much with our speed but it stopped the main flapping relentlessly with constant painf...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 28th Sept

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, September 30, 2009,
Monday  28th – The winds have gone very light and it's getting increasingly difficult for the people on the helm to keep the kite (spinnaker) flying.  Meanwhile Australia have closed the gap on us a bit and Finland appear still to be much further back but have veered off sharply to the east. It looks as though they are way-behind but I'm nervous that Eero their Skipper, might be pulling of a master-stroke of tactics – we shall see!

Each day now is getting hotter and hotter and from now on ...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 27th Sept

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, September 30, 2009,
Sunday 27th – we're still in the lead  yippeee! The Medium weight spinnaker got ripped on the shrouds as it was being taken down so what was going to be my off watch this afternoon then became repairing spinnaker time again - Boooo!!!  Apart from the sewing machine still being in therapy and therefore requiring counselling throughout the whole process – on the whole it was easier than the previous time and the repairs were carried out without too much pain – or distress to the  aforemen...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 26th Sept

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, September 30, 2009,
Saturday 26th - Today started off as Cleaning day – and that's how it continued. During our morning watch we did our pretty much daily routine of sluicing buckets of sea water down the decks and giving the whole area a jolly good scrub – mainly to get rid of remnants of spilled tea, coffee and the various meals and snacks we've consumed on deck. (As long as it's dry, pretty well all of our eating is done up on deck).  Jeremy from the other watch then appeared with towel, shampoo and showe...
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La Rochelle to Rio – Leg 1, Race 2 – 25th Sept

Posted by Della Parsons on Wednesday, September 30, 2009,
Friday 25th Mother-watch

Today brought my first Mother-watch of the race. Everyone on board takes it in turns to be “mother”. One person from each watch spends all day doing the cooking and cleaning for everyone on board.  The upside of this is that you get a full nights sleep either before or after your mother-watch and the downside is that you are basically everyone's slave for a day!  Having said that it's one of the most important roles on the boat and one of the areas where a little e...
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Race 2 - La Rochelle to Rio de Janeiro

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, September 27, 2009,
22nd September - 24th September

Up at 4.30 am this morning.  Yes – that's 4.30 as in nearly the middle of the night!!!  This Yacht racing malarky is definitely no cruise you know!  Actually once you're up it really isn't too bad after all and there was a great buzz around the marina as all the boats came alive with crew rigging sails, doing final checks to make sure everything was in place and their boat name was correct and intact (there had been an awful lot of practical jokes and pranks b...
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La Rochelle

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, September 27, 2009,
17th - 21st September

The week (6 days) in La Rochelle seemed to whizz by.  There were plenty of things to be done on the boat in terms of on-going jobs, safety checks of all the standing rigging and mast and lifejackets etc – which have to be done every time we stop – and also once a week while we're on the move too – and fixes of things that we've noticed don't work.

The first day in port was taken up mainly with the deep clean – which entails getting all the sails up on deck, getting...
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Race 1 - Hull to La Rochelle

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, September 27, 2009,
14th - 16th September

Having got off to a fairly poor start the mood on board was a bit subdued and I think that rather than being pumped up and ready top start racing the majority of us on board felt tired and not on the ball at all. For most of us it had been a long build up to the race start – many people giving up jobs, leaving behind families, struggling to find the finances for the trip – and now after all that effort we had finally left.  It was almost as though we'd reached the top...
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13th September – Race Start Day!

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, September 21, 2009,
 Finally it's here! Everything I've been working towards and eating, sleeping and breathing for the last 15 months. This was the day I'd been looking forward to. This was also the day my friends and family had been looking forward to. Finally I'd be gone and they wouldn't have to be force-fed 'Clipper Race' any more! Now it was here though they changed tack completely and were waving me off to promises of following everystep through both Clipperroundtheworld.com and Dellaroundtheworld.com web...
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The Final Countdown!

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, September 21, 2009,
 4th – 12 September

After a weekend of great celebrations in Grimsby over the weekend – during which the students from the Grimsby Institute had given all the crews the most amazing welcome with an evening of international food, and fabulous entertainment – all produced and performed by the highly talented group of youngsters from the college – we finally motored across the river to Hull Marina where we would spend our final week of preparation before the Race start on Sunday 13th.

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Leaving Gosport & The Pilgrim Race

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, September 21, 2009,
 

31st August - 4th September

Finally Monday 31st August was upon us. The day the fleet would be leaving it's home in Clarence Dock Marina, Gosport for Grimsby and eventually Hull – host port of the race.

We were all excited especially as for the first time there was to be a big public ceremony to mark the departure of the yachts. It was a beautifully warm, sunny day, and the yachts, all primped and preened showing off their official sponsor banners, seemed to bristle with pride as they ...


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Prep Week

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, September 11, 2009,
Sunday 26th August was the final day of the C4 training.  We went to the Pump House for a big breakfast as normal, did the post training briefings with Piers the skipper, as normal and had done the deep clean of the boat as normal.  However that's where the normality ceased.  Half of the crew packed up their belongings and went back to their homes and jobs and the other half of us stayed.  That's when it hit us.  This was it.  This really was our home for the next 11 months.  We looked around...
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C4 - Final training week 16th - 23rd August

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, September 6, 2009,
 After a few days with my Mum, a visit to see my brother Laurence (known as Fred), his wife Ali and my nephews – Andrew ( No.1) and Michael (No.2) during which Fred produced the biggest map of the world you've ever seen, mounted on a board ready so that they could plot our progress – I left Swindon with Mum and a car full of my kit to travel down to Gosport to join the yacht ready for part C4 of my training. This time however I would be moving onto the yacht for good – well for the next...

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Leaving Home!

Posted by Della Parsons on Sunday, September 6, 2009,
 

Well it's been a while since I've had time to update this – it's been a pretty hectic couple of months since crew allocation. The Clipper Ball took up every waking hour for months on end (I feel compelled to write about that whole experience separately when I'm recovered enough to live through it all again!), I've been trying to tie up loose ends at work and leave things reasonably in order, for the poor chap taking over from me. There's also been the car to sell, the house to finish (a...


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Crew Allocation - the Race starts here!

Posted by Della Parsons on Monday, July 13, 2009,
Having been given the thumbs up by the good ole US of A and duly celebrated that evening in Portsmouth with more than a handful of fellow Clipper crew members - all keen to practice for the Official Crew Allocation celebration the following evening (that's dedication for you!), I marvelled at how fresh and hang-over free I was on that Saturday morning - 30th May. I think it was nerves - or adrenalin that kept any jaded feeling at bay.  This was it - this was the day I would find out which yac...
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Crew Allocation - via the Land of the Free!

Posted by Della Parsons on Friday, June 12, 2009,
On Saturday 30th May over three hundred other nutters like myself made the Pilgrimage to the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth for our Official Crew Allocation ceremony.  Actually my Pilgrimage started the day before with a long train journey from Hull to London, followed by a quick dash to London Waterloo's left luggage place to deposit my bags, keys, mobile phone and any other potential terrorist-like weaponary such as a particularly sharp-nibbed biro etc!  Why? Because I was on my way to the...
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