Blog | Scout making waves on Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race: Part IV

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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 taking on the whole 40,000-mile adventure.

George is writing a regular blog for the Scouts as he journeys around the world. In the fourth instalment he reports on getting some moral support from Scouts and experiencing a shaky start in Qingdao, China.

Scouting support

When I got to Singapore I was really lucky to meet some Scouts from the Tanglin school. I showed them around the boat and they seemed to really enjoy the experience. Down below deck was really hot and they loved going into the bunks and seeing how comfortable/uncomfortable they were. I showed them how to use the pedestal grinders and they asked questions about life on a racing boat. One Scout couldn't believe we didn't have wi-fi.

At the end of their visit I was given some lovely biscuits, a neckerchief and a collection of badges. Thank you, Tanglin Scouts! 

A shaky start

I was really excited leaving Singapore as our next stop was Qingdao – our home port. However, I was not looking forward to facing the difficult sailing conditions we were about to experience: two and a half weeks sailing upwind – a real test for me and the rest of the crew. On the last race the crews encountered snow; we were heading from the tropics to northern China in winter. I find the cold legs difficult as the water is freezing and the waves often crash onto the boat, soaking everyone.

We didn't have the best start to this race; we had a bit of a situation with a halyard (the rope we use to pull up the sail) and the rigging. On the start line it got caught, preventing the sail from going up. We had to pull the sail down a bit to free it, which allowed us to finally get off the starting line, but in last place. From the back of the fleet we had to try and climb back up to get the first place we really wanted.

After four hours of trimming the boat and competitive helming we managed to pick through the fleet up to second place. Unfortunately, later that evening we got a phone call from the race office telling us a couple of boats had the same rigging problem and it was potentially unsafe for the rest of the fleet to carry on racing. Now we are motoring to Hong Kong so the boats can all be checked and fixed if need be. We will then be doing a short (!) 1,200-mile race to Qingdao.

This will give us another chance to get a first place into our home port. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Check out Part I, Part II and Part III of George’s blog. Find out more about the Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race and monitor the race progress.

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