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

George Bayles


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 third instalment he reports on a difficult week for the crew, until a turnaround in their fortunes.

Challenging conditions

This week has been very stressful as there is a lack of wind. One moment we are doing seven knots then suddenly the wind stops. It’s just like someone turning off a big electric fan. Once it stops we bob around aimlessly searching for gusts of wind in the distance.

Sometimes it feels like we are going backwards, on one occasion we were staring at the same island for over 12 hours. I wonder the other boats have been in the same situation as us.

It’s been incredibly hot to the point where it’s nearly impossible to sleep. We recorded 41.5 degrees down below in the galley area. Over the last two weeks I’ve had a red rash that has covered my body. I think it’s heat rash. I’m not the only one to have it – some of the crew have got blisters so they raided the first aid kit for creams and antibiotics.

The past couple of days we’ve seen many places that most people won't see in their lives. At one point we were between Papua New Guinea and the island of New Britain. At night we saw a few lights on Papua New Guinea, we wondered if it was a pub and if it might do a boat delivery!

Nearly halfway

Thankfully the rash is slowly going away but all the creams and antibiotics have been used up. I hope no one gets the same problem for the rest of this leg now as everything has gone!

I’m nearly halfway round my 40,000 mile circumnavigation, but it only seems like yesterday I was under Tower Bridge in London waving goodbye to everyone. It was quite emotional for me as this was going to be the longest I’ve ever been away from home and after nearly two years planning I just couldn't wait for my adventure to begin.

The last four months I’ve definitely grown up a lot spending time with the crew, who are all older than me. I've also learnt about iconic music like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. The line ‘people who were around before you were even born’ has been quoted at me a lot when the crew are playing music!

This leg I’ve been made watch leader. I'm really pleased as I know my sailing has improved a lot by doing it every day. I don't think the crew have ever been told what to do by a 19-year-old before but this trip offers new experiences for everyone.

Gaining ground

We are slowly making our way to the first finish line of Race 8A. We took a gamble as we were in tenth place at one stage of the race, with a chance of being last. So this week our skipper made a brave decision going north to get stronger winds.

This gave us a lead of 73 miles over the chasing pack, which until our bold move had sat over 170 miles ahead of us. Now we are in the same wind as the leading pack, we are just working the boat hard to keep our lead. Hopefully this will mean a podium position for us!

It was also spring festival, or Chinese New Year, which we celebrated by making dumplings. The elders traditionally give the young people a red envelope that has some money in so they can by some new toys on this special day. I didn't get any red envelopes from my older crewmates though!

Check out Part I and Part II 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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