Den Helder to London, the Last Race

As you can see by the above picture, everyone gets tired and sometimes has to find a safe place to sleep if the boat is heeling quite a bit and is on the tack that most likely will throw one out of one’s bunk.  Such was the case when I was caught on film.

Our usual parade of ships start but this time with some interesting boats to check out.

Once again we were treated to a fireboat showering the area.  After we passed we saw how massive their water spray was as it completely covered the boat’s image.

Start was good, everyone popped their kite up and it was interesting as some went with Code 1 and others Code 2.  Supposedly Code 2 is better on a tight reach.  Air though was very light and we went with Code 2.  Not sure if Matt was concerned about reaching at some point or not sure our repair job on Code 1 would hold.

As we began rounding the tip of Holland we hit some massive cross currents.  Think what it might feel like to be in a washing machine and that was what the water was like though in very light air.  Our being out further from shore helped us at this point.<!–more–>

Once again it was interesting since we were in a 4 way tie for 5th with a possible problem if Seattle beat us by, I believe, 7 points. I am thinking cover those boats.  Wrong, we follow LMax and Derry and let the others all go far left.  Seattle did turn our direction and eventually caught up to us and passed us.  Still trying to figure that one out.  Were we dragging our motor prop in the water some weird way?  Same thing happened the next day with Qingdao.  We could not keep pace with them no matter what we tried on trim.

OK, this sunset is going to be a long one.  It was actually the most amazing one of the entire journey.  Colors constantly changing in the sky, a slight squall going through to produce a rainbow, just a wonder of nature and a chance to count my blessings for an incredible sight to end the journey with.  I even ended up videoing part of it and staying up past time for our watch to retire for the night so that I could go to bed with the sun.

At least you know it is the last sunset with me.  This one captured my heart.

Next afternoon watch turned out to be one of heavy seas and lots of heeling.  Yes those are my feet as I looked over the side at some of the foam left behind.  Chances to see more boat traffic and rest a little such as Alex is doing.

We actually had quite a workout as we tacked back and forth toward the wind farm in the water and away from it, toward it, then away, toward and away.  Not sure the rationale, but working as a faithful crew we tacked.

After a while, Judith went down to begin preparing dinner.  I took a trip down to visit my favorite place, the HEAD.  When I came out, after another exciting tack and 45+degree heel, a jar of honey had flown out of a cave(area that food, dishes, condiments, etc. was stored in) that had not been buttoned down and broke on the floor.  Judith and Han were busy cleaning it up with degreaser.  I grabbed some paper towels and proceeded to start trying to wipe some of the degreaser up as it had made the floor very slippery.  In the process I was called up on deck so went carefully to get my jacket and lifejacket.  Hanging onto the safety line in the galley and carefully working my way slowly down the incline we managed to hit a good wave and I lost my footing resulting in my swinging out full length while holding onto the safety line with my right arm.  In the process I had a big “OWIE” both feeling and yelling.  I couldn’t get up due to the pain in my arm.  Question was whether it was a dislocation or broken shoulder.  Neil and Jill did a great job of not allowing me to move, however, the pain continued.  It probably would have if I had moved also.  Matt called for a med evac after talking with the Clipper office.  I asked not to be taken off the boat but it was apparently not my decision and the wheels were in motion.  Probably the most interesting part was when I was allowed to stand up to go on deck for the helicopter my shoulder clicked into place and I once again could move my arm.  This did not help my case to stay aboard though.  It was decided that I needed to have an x-ray taken to make sure there was no damage.

Interesting time with my hero Chambers and Helicopter 79 from the UK Coast Guard Search and Rescue.  Chambers checked range of motion and agreed with Matt that I should have an x-ray done.  BOO!!!  So now how to get me off since I couldn’t be lifted in a sling because of the injured shoulder.  In the meantime I am watching 4 boats coming up closer and closer to us while we are stopped.


So they strap me in, put on some cool earphones so the noise won’t bother me and some glasses to protect from the wind of the blades.  Then up we go, Chambers and me.

Check out the following link to see the actual airlift.

Stunning footage of yachtswoman airlift during Clipper Race

It was a very smooth ride and the crew was very professional and kind in my delivery to the hospital in Colchester.  Everyone on the boat wanted me to see if Prince William was flying the helicopter, but since I was strapped in I could not check.  Oh well, Chambers may not have been Kevin Costner, but he was close.

Technically that was the end of the race for me.  51 57.904 N
01 47. 742 E
was the latitude and longitude of my finish.  The good thing…. since I had been to Holland I had crossed over the longtitude that spelled out I had indeed finished my circumnavigation.

Next blog will get me into London.  A little preview though.  Have a good night!

Getting back on boat


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