The Clipper Round the World Race boats are currently battling it out in Race 9, which is the leg from Singapore to Qingdao (pron: Chingdow) in China. There are eleven remaining after Jamaica Get All Right retired following the failure of her forestay turnbuckle. They have a jury rig in place and are currently motoring into Kotu Kinabalu to fit a replacement and continue with the race.
The boats are into their fourth day now and around 5 degrees north of the equator and 112 degrees West, heading for the South China Sea.
Here are some videos of the event which give a very good idea of the conditions, good and bad, that the crews are experiencing in their 'adventure of a lifetime'. All of these vessels competed in the Sydney to Hobart race in December and I met with quite a number of them whilst they were here. To a man and woman, even though many of them said it was the toughest thing they had taken on in their short lives, they would not have missed it for the world and were enjoying every minute of it.
By the time they had arrived in Australia they had of course covered many sea miles and the one thing that came through strongly was that they had all learned that no matter how serious a situation was confronting them, they now knew that they could handle it. This is an incredibly empowering feeling and they all expressed the personal growth they had gained from this experience.
They still have a long way to sail with the fleet finally arriving back in the UK mid 2014, so many more challenges will need to be met and overcome before they finally dock back at the finish line.
As the race is in stages the crew come and go depending on which legs they have booked and apart from the skippers, very few crew would complete a full circumnavigation, preferring in the main to take one or more legs of the race.
For anyone contemplating sailing off over the horizon one day in their own sailboat, the Clipper race is a fantastic introduction to the world of ocean sailing/cruising/racing. Sailing experience is not necessary to 'sign on' because by the time a leg or two has been completed, the experience gained is such that any crew member would have the confidence to begin planning their own sailing odyssey.
Go to their website http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/ where you can find full details of the race, the boats, crews , routes etc.
Videos courtesy 'Clipper Round the World' and YouTube
You can read much more about the cruising lifestyle in my book 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise' with '101 Dollar Saving Tips for Sailors', which you can purchase from my website http://www.sailboat2adventure.com/.