Chasing the Albatross

My adventure in search of a bird by David Lawson

  • 0 Update added 13th December

    • by David Lawson
    • 13-12-2017

    “Ooooooh this is going to be tense. So we thought the top 3 had got away from us and we were going to have to settle for 4th assuming Dare to Lead didn’t get a favourable run. But that said we were still giving it our best. Skipper Matt wasn’t a happy boy yesterday! This morning a few of the leading boats popped up on our AIS monitoring system and they appear to be going nowhere fast. They’ve taken a route close to the coast and we are offshore. We have wind and are battling along, they don’t! The advantage the leaders have is distance ahead of us. So any guesses as to what may happen next? Well Matt is smiling a lot so we really are giving it everything we’ve got. The boat is virtually on its side. The focus is on clean sailing and doing things right and doing things quick. So I’m just off after a 6 hour session and am as wet on the inside as the outside. Plenty of tacking practice and shaking out a reef as well as helming has meant a busy shift. Living below on the heel and the bounce is very demanding I can say! We’re doing our best, I just desperately hope it pays off for us. We’ll know by tomorrow morning as the end will be in sight by then. Today we have changed the clocks forward by 1 hour and this is our last change now so I’m officially half a day ahead of you! Seems bizarre that I will have lived half a day in the future before You!!”

  • 0 Update added 12th December

    • by David Lawson
    • 12-12-2017

    Well we are out of stealth mode and unfortunately we didn’t benefit from what we hoped would be kind winds to give us the wind angle we wanted to make a push for a podium position. As I said, sailing is a fickle friend. It could still be tight though so we’re giving it all we’ve got and today it has been sail feeding practice as the winds have strengthened, abated and strengthened again. All the activity passes the time and keeps us warm! It feels like we’re in a grand national race here with the boat taking of as it crests a wave, hangs in the air and the lands. It will be nice when this bit comes to an end as it’s hard work getting around. I was crossing inside the boat today from one side to the other. Its so much effort and you have to hold on to grab handles and pull yourself up to the other side. Anyway I managed to slip but held on for dear life to save myself going down. How i didn’t dislocate something I don’t know. But all is fine. It has been lovely and sunny here so it’s great on deck and there are a few very red faces for those who needed more sun cream. A least they now fully blend in with their foulies! Not much wildlife above or on the ocean to see today which is surprising. Tuesday It’s 6am here (7pm with you) and we’ve had a lovely sunrise just after coming on deck at 4am. Last night we had a good display of stars and the milky way stretched from the southern cross constellation on our starboard side over our main sail and finished just below the Orion constellation on our port side. Gazing up at it there are so many questions that come to mind but it is beyond the scope of this adventure and my mind to even try to understand how it all began and if there is another clipper race across an ocean of some description taking place in a parallel universe up there. If so I hope PSP are a bit closer to the front runners! This really has been a leg of two halves with the first week being overcast, cold, wet on occasions and with 1000s of square miles of dull grey sea. Now since we arrived just off the southern coast of Tasmania 2 days ago the sun has been out, the sea is blue and it has warmed up. No more drysuit or foulies needed I’m pleased to say, even at night. This is how I had thought this leg would be. The other watch, between midnight and 4am, had a wonderful display of dolphins playing in the luminescence trailing behind the boat. That would have been wonderful to have seen I’m sure. Hopefully something to be repeated before I come home. So today we’re aiming to use our cloak of stealth to try and make good ground on the leaders and see if we might just smash and grab a podium finish we’re all aiming for. We’re on the hunt and knocking off those miles. Its going to be tight methinks. We’ll see!! Its 2.38pm here and we’ve just had a great rice salad lunch prepared by Jonathan (I can make a delicious meal out of anything) Hallam and his sous-chef James (you mess it up I’ll wash it) Hetherington. So we’re blasting along at 10 knots or so. Sea is calm, wind is consistent 12 – 13 knots and the sun is out. What’s not to like ? We’re about 90 miles offshore and trying to make up as much time as we can on the leading pack. It has been a meterioric rise up the leader board and we’re all giving it as much as we can. When extra support is needed by a few members of another watch to help with any changes there are no questions asked and the crew are up on deck to help out. It has been a great team effort so far but I think we’re going to need some assistance now to help us onto a podium position. It will be a big ask this time around but we all know that sailing is a really fickle friend and anything can happen! Fingers crossed for PSP. We had our first shark sighting this morning. There was a call for ‘bait’ but Trevor (our native Ozzie) refused to don his gold mankini and test the waters for us!! It’s really great to hear we have so much support. Hopefully the Mighty PSP ‘night stalkers’ can pull it off. Watch this space.

  • 0 Update added 11th December

    • by David Lawson
    • 11-12-2017

      Departure day in Fremantle So this morning when I came in watch at 4am, 7pm with you, I was greeted with the sight if the south Tasmanian coastline about 8 miles away. The cloud was clearing and blue sky is now on its way. The cliff coastline looks very brooding and dramatic as it rises above the ocean and the perspective from the boat deck is ideal. The sea is a dark inky colour which only adds to the drama. We are sailing with a main sail and spinnaker and are making a steady 9 – 10 knots. We might now even have climbed the race leader board to 5th? UNICEF are in our sights, going slower, and we assume they may have less wind ahead which gives us a chance to catch up as they did with us on the last leg. A podium place on the horizon? We hope so but it will be a big ask. Last night was a very busy watch night and with lots of cloud it was a very inky night. The skipper took to the helm and thank goodness for his experience. Even he was finding it hard to drive in a straight line given the conditions. My drysuit was doing it’s job keeping me dry from the external conditions but with lots of sail changes, grinding the halyards up and sheets in and generally rushing from the bow to the pit area to set up lines and foreguys I worked up quite a sweat. So I was as wet inside as out and when I went to my bunk at 12 pm I was peeling off some very damp layers. Unfortunately there is nowhere the boat to dry these and so at 4am I was layering up in damp clothes again. Hopefully if the day stays dry today I can leave my drysuit off and give my layers a chance to breathe and who knows they night even dry. I said right at the beginning of my blog that the easy way to see an albatross would be to get on a plane and observe these from the safe vantage point of land and just to prove a point we have a trawler off our starboard bow and there are plenty of black browed albatrosses and a few wandering albatrosses following it to feed off fish scraps. Would I have traded in my mad adventure for the much easier option….not a chance!!! We’ve got lots of sooty shearwaters close by the boat now that we are close to land and I’m hoping that as we head up the east coastline to Sydney the bird life will become more numerous. It’s odd to think we will effectively sail the Sydney to Hobart route as we go northwards only to be travelling back this way for the race itself starting on 26th Decand then once that is complete we will be travelling this route again as we head north to my final destination, Airlee Beach, before returning home on 19th Jan. Next day: What a beautiful day’s sailing. We’ve had Tasmania on our port side all day with moderate wind and a smooth sea state giving us champagne sailing. The sun is just going down with the mountains of Tasmania just below. Beautiful. I even managed a selfie whilst on the helm! Don’t tell the skipper!! We’ve had dolphins playing along side us today, albatrosses close by and this evening hundreds of shearwaters have been flying back in from out at sea to roost. It’s days like these that make wet and cold days with not much to see all the more worthwhile. Wonderful. We’re setting our course now for Sydney and with one more tack planned for sometime tomorrow hopefully it will be a straight run up the coast before we reach the Sydney Heads and head in to the finish line. We’re hoping for some good winds and to catch what may be some helpful current. Watch this space. All to play for and well give it our very best shot at a further podium finish!   Now off to take a final few photos before the sun goes down !

  • 0 Update added 01 December

    • by David Lawson
    • 01-12-2017

      Today is our last full day in Fremantle before we depart on the next part of our journey to Sydney. We’re hoping to arrive between 16th and 18th December depending on the weather. Hopefully there will be no wind-holes this time! Rather than trouble you with lots of words today I thought I’d give you a feel for the journey so far with some more pictures. At the bow end preparing to put a new sail on. At the mast sweating the new sail up. Bloodied……but you should see the sail!! A busy day at the office 11th Nov…..a time to remember Keeping on top of the housework. Shattered or sunbathing………??

  • 0 Update added 30th Nov

    • by David Lawson
    • 30-11-2017

      So today I thought I’d try to give you an idea of what life on a racing yacht is really like. Now a racing yacht has absolutely nothing to do with cruising so life below is pretty basic and when the boast has its sails up and we’re heeled over to port or starboard side then living below really does become an Olympic sport. Add to that the up and down motion, if we are beating into the wind, and it becomes more about surviving below rather than living below. There is a small galley on the boat with an oven, stove, 2 small sinks and some storage areas. The storage areas are normally for bowls (we don’t use plates) utensils, condiments, and the things you need on a daily basis. Food is broken down into day bags for each day of the race leg and these are stored either under the bunks or under the floor boards in the bilge areas of the boat. We do take some fresh fruit and veg with us which is stored in nets under a couple of bunks and we have eggs as well. Other things we will use every day such as cereal is stored in bulk in bags. As the boat gets very wet all the bags are dry bags to help keep the contents dry before they are used. Cooking is usually on a one pot basis with curries and rice or pasta being the staples of choice. We have a small freezer box and cool box so can take some frozen meat with us to add protein to our diet. Lots of tins were used on the last leg with soup, beans, chickpeas, mixed veg, tomatoes, fruit etc. As we eat out of bowls and to save washing up we use the same bowl for pudding and now I’ve become very partial to tinned fruit and curry/chilli flavoured custard! Yum!! Cooking has become a creative process, Masterchef meets the ocean, and as crew we all have to get involved on an allocated basis for Mother Watch save the Skipper and his Coxwains, Watch Leaders. So if you’ve not cooked before, well that’s just too bad, and to be fair on the whole the food was pretty good. The advantage of being on Mother Watch is you get a full night in your bunk as you’re excused watch duty for the 24 hrs. So on this leg I had 3 Mother Watch duties which gave me 3 nights to catch up on sleep. Bit difficult with all the noise, the rolling of the boat and the watch changes as they happen. Galley looking good after a 3 hr clean after we arrived in Fremantle The biggest danger to those on Mother Watch is when a tack or gybe takes place and the boat moves with the high side of the boat going from one side to the other. Bowls go everywhere, including the contents (I lost my pudding several times!), and so a thoughtful notification from those on the deck is always helpful. As there are more crew than bunks we have a ‘hot bunking’ scheme and bunks are normally doubled up. So on watch changeover it’s one out and then one in. Each bunk has 3 small cubby areas for our kit and sleeping bags. Because of limited space we have an allowance of 20kgs plus foulies, boots and sleeping bag. So it’s pretty much just the basics and then rush to wash everything when you’re back onshore. I was lucky to have my own bunk for the last leg as we had a round the world crew member leave the boat in Cape Town. The bunks are restricted on height and as the boat leans you have to learn pretty quickly to pull your bunk up on the pulley system or risk falling out! My bunk with the ultimate luxury (a clothes line!) Now when my bunk is on the low side of the boat (the side of the boat in the water) then getting in and out is easy and there is plenty of headroom for sleeping. However, when I’m on the high side (the side of the boat out of the water) it’s more of a challenge because I’ve got to firstly raise my bunk on the pulley system to make it horizontal to sleep on. Raising it by 12 – 18 inches means I’ve got a further 12 – 18 inches to get up to get in. Fortunately, the engine room door was opposite me and so the process was to stand on the tank below the bunk below me, put my left foot on the door handle to the engine room, reach over my bunk to the housing for the cubby hole, swing my right leg up and pull myself into my bunk….easy! When you’re cold and really tired this really does become a psych yourself up first action. Getting out was more of a challenge as I now had a 7 foot drop to the floor below so it was brace my left leg on the roof above me, reach over to the top of the engine room door with my left hand and then swing myself down to the floor below. As the weather became colder less and less layers were removed before getting into my sleeping bag. For the colder nights I’d often have on 2 base layers, my fleece trousers and 3 shirts. I often took my socks off though and if anything was damp then it was stuffed into my sleeping bag with me so my body heat would dry it out. I do have a wonderful ocean sleeping bag with a double fleece layer inside and it has been worth every penny. Washing is solely a wet wipe process and shaving was avoided by most of us save a couple of brave souls who did shave regularly. I had a wet wipe, wipe over twice a day and a wet wipe bath twice a week and pants were changed weekly. We didn’t have the weight allowance to make this more often. Using merino wool base layers and socks means that you don’t get too smelly (well we all smelt the same by the end so what did it matter???). We have two toilets (heads) on the boat. Using these becomes an exercise in wedging. I’ll save the details but using the heads became an exercise in planning in good time and then when you’re in there wedging yourself in place to save mishaps (enough said!!!). With the boat heeled over moving around and getting dressed and undressed becomes a huge challenge. With wet floors from wet clothes it also becomes very slippery. I did move extremely quickly from one side of the boat one day and in a backwards direction to end up in the wet clothes locker on the other side. Fortunately no damage was done. On another occasion I was dragging a spinnaker sail around to start ‘wooling’ it and as I passed the rear head the boat lurched sideways on a wave and I was dumped unceremoniously into the toilet area. Again I went in backwards and fortunately once again no damage was done. It’s really easy to hurt yourself and on one boat a lady had fallen on a winch on deck and fractured one arm and then later on in the race she had fallen out of her bunk and fractured her other shoulder. Both arms are now in slings and she’ll now be missing the next leg of the race. I found the watch system really difficult to get into and sleep deprivation becomes a real issue. I’d find myself nodding off when on deck even in very cold conditions. Helming was one activity to stem this as the need to concentrate and physical effort involved meant you were always alert. Helming was limited to 30 minute sessions so that those on the helm could maintain their concentration and then take a rest. Changing sails regularly is also very physical and after the first week I was both mentally and physically exhausted. The challenging weather of the first week didn’t help either. Fortunately I wasn’t seasick despite the conditions. Many were and this is very debilitating and means those who are affected aren’t also able to get on deck which makes the workload greater for those on deck. Fortunately I did have one real luxury with me, my music. On my off watch time during the day I’d lie in my bunk with headphones and music on and zone myself out of everything around me and just find some time for myself. Heaven. I’d even have my headphones and music on when I was making bread, baking cake or making biscuits. I’m not sure any of these turned out any better as a result but I enjoyed the process. Kneading a bread mix in preparation for lunch A cake I baked for Ben’s 40th birthday. Sponge with cranberries, Nutella and M&M’s. Yum!

  • 0 Update added 29th Nov

    • by David Lawson
    • 29-11-2017

      Well I’m pleased to say that I’m back on dry land and it’s great to finally be able to have a shower after 23 days at sea! Trust me, it was needed!! And what a result. Following a great start we were 2nd out of Cape Town and as the race progressed we moved up the fleet and at one stage were even in 1st place. Then we got stuck without any wind for 2 days and watched in agony as the fleet behind caught up with us. So then suddenly we were 5th and it became a real race for the finish. A masterclass from our skipper, Matt, sailing right on the edge of the boats capacity for 2 hours saw us get our nose in front to a very respectable 3rd place. Wow, what an end to over 5,000 miles at sea and in the end it all came down to being a few minutes ahead of the Seattle boat who finished 4th. It’s amazing how tight the finish gets after all those miles and 23 days. And if our result was close, Sanya came in only 57 seconds ahead of Dare to Lead! Now that’s close. So now that we’ve arrived in Fremantle I’m hoping to catch up with my blog. Due to email challenges on the boat I haven’t been able to do this as my journey has unfolded, but I see that Andie has been able to add some content from the sporadic bits of contact we have had. Rather than adding more content to the end of my existing blog I’m going to start adding to the beginning so that you don’t have to scroll all the way through to find the latest content. Hopefully I’ll be able to give you an insight into what my journey has been like so far. So where to start? Well how’s about here………. Its 3.55am (8.55pm UK time) on Thursday 23rd Nov and I’ve just come on deck. It’s not too cold and I only have 5 layers on today. We’re caught in a high-pressure wind hole and the sea is flat and the surface shimmers like glass. The sea is a very dark blue and as it stretches to the horizon it reflects an orange glow. The sun hasn’t risen yet but is on its way. There is no pollution haze on the horizon out here in the middle of the ocean and so it’s clear to see the point where the sea meets the sky. On the horizon is a slim band of deep orange which graduates to a lighter orange as it rises up to give way to a purplish haze and then a dark blue sky. The colours are incredible and I’ve never seen anything like this before. On the port side of the boat, opposite the rising sun, the sky is a hazy pink and blue colour. Its very ethereal and the ping tinge to the sky is reflected in the sea below. Just before 5am the sun peeks over the horizon and we are treated to the most spectacular bright orange display as the sun emerges from the sea. It’s such a privilege to witness this wonderful show that nature has put on for us and it’s a great start to our day. Since we set out from Cape Town on 2nd November I’ve seen the ocean in most of its guises on this passage. There have been days when we’ve had hardly a breath to move the flapping sails and at the other end of the wind scale we’ve seen gusts of 60 knots. The ocean has shown us its many different colours from a beautiful mid blue to the cold dark grey you see in wartime films and in between various shades of blue, green and mercurial silver. I’ve seen the impact a high-pressure weather system has on flattening the swell to watching the wind as it ripples up the backs of the waves when a low-pressure system hits to create swells of 50 – 60 feet. It’s been a surprise to see how quickly these weather systems come and go and how a cloud on the horizon can create a squall which quickly whips up the wind to make helming the boat a real challenge. Working a watch system to keep the boat going means that, within a 48hr time frame, I spend a full 24 hrs on deck and see the ocean at every stage of day and night. I’ve come to realise how vast and empty the ocean is and from only a few days out of Cape Town we didn’t see another boat until a couple of days before our arrival at our destination point, Fremantle. The ocean has been devoid of human trace and the only reference point to humanity outside of the boat has been to see the space station and satellites flying through the night sky when the conditions have been clear. Ultimately this is a desolate part of the planet and yet despite that it holds a unique beauty all of its own. Whilst the personal highs have been high and the lows have been low there have been lots of wonderful sights and experiences in between to make crossing my ‘Everest’ of the seas such a unique experience and I’ll have memories which will stay with me for the remainder of my life.

  • 0 6 November…diary

    • by David Lawson
    • 06-11-2017

      Crew ready to depart Cape Town The day starts bright with some good wind and it’s cold as we’ve come a long way south on our chosen route to Fremantle. The boat is heeled over and we are making good headway, 12knots. This morning I’m on ‘Mother Watch’ so it’s up early to prepare breakfast for the oncoming watch who will want to eat at 7.15am and the off going watch who’ll be eating shortly after 8am. Mostly breakfast has been cereal or porridge but I’ve decide on a Lawson twist so today it’s going to be pancakes. Fortunately, a client of mine, Jill Heeley, has given me a secret tip, a teaspoon of sugar in the pancake mix. The secret of preparing food in our galley is organisation and with my Mother buddy, David Kemp, we have a well oiled machine. The pancakes go down well and it makes a good start to everyone’s day. Result! Just after 10am I’m back on deck. It’s a drysuit day today as my boots are still wet from a previous wave encounter in my foulies. The challenge of foulies, as I’ve found is when a wave comes down the deck the water rushes up inside your salopettes and then down into your boots and the result is wet boots which is really unpleasant. With the cold weather I’ve upped my layers and today I have on 2 thin base layer tops, 2 thin base layer trousers, a pair of fleece lined trousers, 3 more thin shirts, a thin fleece lined dinghy sailing jacket, a soft-shell jacket and then my drysuit. Fortunately I can still move with all this on and it provides a good level of protection from the elements and will keep me warm enough in the condition. To finish I have a neck muffler, a hat and some gloves. There are decent waves behind the boat and on occasion we are surfing down the swell. It’s interesting to feel the ocean rise and then pass under the boat and as we reach that tipping balance point the boat pushes forward down the next wave. As the wave catches back up with the boat we start to surf and then it has gone and we wait for the next wave to follow behind and it all starts again. The wind is changeable today and there is lots of physical work to change the sails at the front again. It’s clear I am no longer 30 years old and recovery time takes longer but I’m sure over the forthcoming weeks that my overall strength will improve. There are lots of Black Browed Albatrosses circling the boat today. They come in such close proximity you can see the black eye marking they are named for. Today’s highlight though is my first sighting of a Wandering Albatross. It’s like watching a large glider slowly approaching. With effortless ease this giant seabird glides over the waves. Majestic in size and posture, this is a bird to take notice of and other Albatrosses are dwarfed by its form. From far out it approaches and comes close by as if checking this other glider, of the seas, CV28, our home on the seas. As the wind reduces we wish we could use the natural speed it’s wings generate to give the sailing wings we use to push us on in our search for more speed. Unfortunately, is not going to be our day. The albatross will always win this battle of millions of years of natural evolution over our crude desire to master the seas with a machine. And to prove the point without a wingbeat it effortlessly glides off into the distance. You can almost hear it chuckling to itself. And now we’ve hit a wind hole which seems to underline our technical limitations!     Nature is still in charge and we still have much to learn. As for me, this is one of those moments in life I will always treasure. Seeing nature up close and personal from this most unique of perspectives is a real privilege. Long may the albatross rule over this beautiful yet inhospitable part of our world. The wind gets up tonight and after a flat sea state day day we’re back to life on the lean. Boiling seas and gusty winds make helming hard work. The swell passes under the boat and changes the direction of travel and you have to catch it quick. Everything is so hard to do and takes 4x longer than usual. It’s cold tonight and my gloves get saturated. Aargh!! Gloves are one of the biggest challenges I’m finding on this trip. Sit by cubby trying to get warm and find some ‘hot hands pouches’ to keep the cold at bay. Helming is hard. One hand on helming station cage, left hand works the wheel. Hands are freezing but the concentration relieves the cold pain. Day 12, 7 hours and 32 minutes [!] “My Everest of the Seas” Andie here! I’m delighted to at last be able to share some of the excerpts from David’s emails to me. Communications are unsurprisingly sporadic, and David is now using the email facilities from another crew member. When calls are made…they are 1-way only as David can’t hear me! However it is still wonderful and amazing to hear him chatter to me for 60 seconds….whilst in the middle of the southern ocean! He’s safe, well, exhausted, sore, sleep-deprived, exhilarated, cold, and wet and YES I can confirm he has now seen his albatross….actually he’s see hundreds of them! Sadly, Roy Taylor, the Skipper for the first 2 legs decided to leave the boat in Cape Town. He thought the crew needed someone who was more race-minded so took the tough decision to stand down. The new skipper Matt Mitchell joined the boat with 24 hours to go before departure. Whilst Roy will be sorely missed, it is going really well with Matt and he is leading a really strong crew. So, rather than me rambling on about having to do all the chores around the house etc.,, I thought David would like me to share with you what life has been like so far on the Mighty PSP Logistics boat!

  • 0 David’s diary:

    • by David Lawson
    • 04-11-2017

      Spinnaker up in the beauty of the Southern Ocean “We had a great send off when we left Cape Town and with a full sun the views of Table Mountain from the boat were wonderful. We had a really good start to the race and had excellent weather to start with too. Day 3 the weather changed. The winds shifted and got very strong. I have been helming in 40 knots of wind and it has been tricky! Big swells, wind hitting 50 knots and the boat leaned right over. For 2 days life on board has been brutal. Just getting in and out of my bunk and into my dry-suit has become an Olympic sport! Watches are really physical with the weather, sail changes and boat direction changes. I’ve never seen weather like it. Parts of the boat which are normally horizontal have often become nearly vertical. It’s like watching an old film except this is real life. My life! But today the sun is out again. My sunglasses are back on and the albatrosses are back with us. We’re getting the boat back to some normality. There has been a lot of sickness but luckily it hasn’t hit me. I’ve held up really well despite what we’ve been through. I’ve been careful with food. I’m having enough to keep me going and that will get better. Sleeping is tough. The headroom in my bunk is normally 2 and a half feet or so and it’s been down to about 8 inches as we’ve had to sail on the angle. But this is what I signed up to. The sunny weather is uplifting and I’m back into enjoying the adventure. We’ll have some more challenging weather I’m sure but there are some really great bits to enjoy: Seeing my albatrosses Seeing big whales close up Stars at night The ocean in all its forms The seas have calmed and we’ll have a few days like this. The birds are back with us. There are some shearwaters flying around like big swallows above the sea. They flit up and down over the waves in small groups. Two black browed albatrosses were following the boat this morning and came very close. Yesterday I got into some form of normality and it only took 20mins to get into my bunk and had a whole 3 hours sleep. Sleep has been a luxury! Wonderful! Today was my first time helming with a spinnaker up – which was great! Definitely lots of firsts in this trip. My boots have finally dried out and I’m now on mother watch ….the Lawson cooking is being tested with these ingredients on-board! Sleeping well now, eating better and loving the experience.” The leaderboard as of the 12th November 2017 The Mighty PSP logistics are going so well! At the time of writing they are leading the race, and gained an extra 2 points already for passing a scoring gate in second place [a mini race within the race].

  • 0 To summarise David’s journey so far!

    • by Andie Lawson
    • 01-11-2017

    Everyone is safe and well. Whilst life on board has been brutal in parts, the sun has shone and life eventually settles down….but there is always another tough wind around the corner! The ocean-life is plentiful and remarkable, and everything that David wanted and hoped it would be. I’m watching Blue Planet whilst writing this note to you all – and I keep wondering if these beautiful creatures are watching the amazing Clipper boats pass by overhead! My romantic notion for this evening  Please keep following him and wishing him ‘safe home’. Thanks for reading and please do donate for David’s chosen charity – The National Kidney Federation. See you soon  Andie x

  • 0 27th October 2017

    • by David Lawson
    • 27-10-2017

      PSP arrive in Cape Town after Leg 2 Well I’m pleased to say our boat has finally turned up and what a welcome for the crew: a South African group of singers provided live backing music with the sun out in its full glory and the dominating backdrop of Table Mountain overseeing the occassion. A huge welcome was given to the boat by other crews, family, friends and the crew for the next leg of the race. It was a very emotional moment and it felt just like welcoming long lost friends again. Marvellous. With the delayed arrival of the boat, the six new crew members have spent our time helping with the victualling for the next leg. So meal plans for breakfast, lunch and tea have been planned, on a 7 day rolling menu for 18 crew for up to 25 days. To keep energy and morale up snacks, treats and fruit have all been added in. It has been a mamouth task for the 6 of us and I hope never to see the inside of a supermarket again for some considerable time. Other boat teams and the Clipper support teams have given their time and have gone over, above and beyond in their support to turn the boat around in 2 days. Sir Robin Knox-Johnson also insisted on being on the boat to change the temporary rudder with a brand new one. It really was a great collective effort. Shortly after the arrival the crew were informed that our skipper, Roy Taylor, had decided not to continue with the race. It was quite a shock as we’d all spent time together with Roy and felt he was the right man to help us with our adventure. But Roy has reasons not to continue and we have a replacement skipper in Matt Mitchell. Matt has skippered in the two previous races so knows his stuff and we hope he’ll be able to develop our skills to have a great campaign. So with everything completed it is now time to get back on the boat and start this long awaited adventure. Leaving on Tuesday 31st we should arrive in Freemantle Australia between 21st and 25th November. We depart Freemantle on 2nd December and expect to arrive in Sydney between 14th and 17th December. To all my loved ones, family, friends and clients a huge thank you for your encouragement and support. My search for an albatross is finally to start in earnest. My binoculars are ready, I just need a bird now!