Blog | Scout making waves on Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race: Part III
Scout volunteer George Bayles, 19, of 2nd South Petherton is tackling the biggest challenge of his life: the Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race. Aboard the Qingdao yacht, he’s one of a 10-strong crew who’ll be tackling the whole 40,000-mile adventure.
Leaving Cape Town
At the beginning of the week we set sail after six days on land; I was very happy to be back on the water as I was missing it. I really enjoyed my time in Cape Town; I met some amazing Scouts who came to meet me at the marina. I showed them around the boat and they were very impressed; they told me it was like being on a professional racing yacht.
When back on the water the sea seems bigger than before; the wind is a lot stronger and the boat is flying as waves pick the boat up and launch us through the water, creating up to 30 knots of speed. I used to think 10 knots was fast, but not anymore!
My second week on the water is very challenging. I have been dealing with the cold and everything I own is soaking wet from my hat to my socks and drying them on board the boat is a challenge in itself. We are lucky as skipper lets us use the engine room, which is warm most of the time and allows us to dry our clothes.
I have adopted the role as a bowman on this leg. Doing a sail change at a 30-degree angle in a force 10 is very tiring. My hands get frozen and clipping the new sail on is nearly impossible. Still, this is a race and we need to keep the speed up so I just grin and bear it until the job is done.
I had Mother Watch (the designated crew member chosen to cook and look after the crew each day) and had a new experience in these rougher and larger seas. The boat was climbing and dropping off waves, which caused pot lids to slip and fly off. Chopped onions and carrots were finding a new home on the floor, bowls from the cupboards were crashing onto my head and I was struggling to make teas and coffees as the chaos continued around me. Luckily, Lawrence Lingard, a fellow round-the-world crew member who is also a professional chef back home, had pre-prepared meals for the rough days.
We’ve just come in at fourth place after an extremely challenging Leg 3, with big storms and very rough weather. We are now fourth in the table overall. We were leading for a lot of the race and that was really exciting. However, we had a few disasters with our sails, and everything that could go wrong did over a 48-hour period.
Morale suffered for a few days, but we managed to pick ourselves up and started racing again and gaining miles on the other yachts. Highlights of a very tough Leg 3 were getting two Scoring Gate points, and being the first boat to achieve the 300-mile a day barrier – a new record in the Clipper Race.
The leg was very rough and cold, which I found hard mentally. But having big waves and surfing in the big swells gave me a real adrenaline rush. We feel in a really good position for the next leg and are confident of a podium finish in Sydney.
During my stopover in Albany, Cubs, Joeys and Scouts from the 3rd Albany and 1st Denmark Scout Groups presented me with an Australian woggle, and I presented them with a UK scouting neckerchief.
We leave for Sydney and Race 5 on Tuesday, and I am getting very excited about taking part in the Sydney Hobart Race, which is a great event for professional sailors in Australia.