The Shamrock – Da Nang to Qingdao

Sunday 28th Feb – sickness and puppies

Started race with a UTI (on antibiotics), stonking cold and dry mouth from my seasickness hallucination patches. Sir Robin did his best to build excitement once again with promises of bashing upwind and tales of demasting. Gulp.

On leaving day they paraded us around once more and announced that March 1st was now “Wendy Tuck Day”. The best thing about the day was that a man let me cuddle his curly-furred puppy. Really wanted to smuggle him onboard (the puppy, not the Vietnamese man!) Mikey G. Commented that I was touching someone’s dinner. Didn’t think that was very nice.

Was mother yesterday. Good menu for ease of cooking. Pot noodles and pasta and sauce.

Monday 29th Feb – civet poo

Still coughing and spluttering but antibiotics seem to be working. Just enjoyed a cup of civet poo coffee the guys won in a kayaking contest. Think I will buy some civets when I get home or maybe some ferets. That might work if I can persuade them to eat coffee beans rather than ferret mix. In 7th place atm skirting round the Chinese territorial waters.

Tuesday 1st Mar – Happy Wendy Tuck Day!

We have broken the inner forestay and 2 Yanke sheets. Oops. Now starting to get some big seas so the slamming has commenced. Going to be a loooong fortnight. Currently in 10th place. Not great.

Weds 2nd March – Ellie’s imaginary menagerie

Still in 11th place but hopefully the path we are taking pays off and we gain some places. Wind has eased and we have gone from Yankee 3 and 2 reefs and no staysail to full mainsail, yankee 1 and staysail.

Been thinking about what extra animals to get when I get home. Suggestions from my teammates have included bees,a sheep, chickens, stick insects, a donkey, a peacock or a wormery. No one suggested a regular animal. Who are these crazy people I am stick on a 70ft boat with? !;-)

Thurs 3rd Mar – my favourite lunch

Dark in my bunk so not writing much. It is windy and splashy outside but we had burritos for lunch so all is well.

Sunday 6th Mar – Ellie 0, generator 1

The theme of the past day has been ocean sprinting. So far looking good – 3 ocean sprints would indeed secure us as sprint masters.

I have also been spending silly amounts of time trying to coax the generator back to life. I have offered it chupa chups, ice pops, biscuits and love – but without success. It all started when we tacked but didn’t tack the raw water inlet (when I say “we”, I blame Dan because I was off watch asleep) and the impeller disintegrated. Now it will run for about an hour at once before it conks out. We even tried pulling seaweed out of the raw water filter. Fun, but not effective.

Our other activity has been dodging the nightly crowd of fishing boats.There was a fleet of 48 last night.

Monday 7th Mar – crawling across the scoring gate

A night and morning of fog and fishing boats and moving very slowly. On the plus side we were first through the scoring gate ahead of Let’s Go Garmin so all the frustrating hours of windseeker trimming were worth it.

It has recently become significantly colder so we have dug out gloves and hats and warm trousers.

Had soup for lunch today which reminded me of days on the mountains. In other food news last night’s ” Dig Dog Dinner”/Street dog stirfry was lovely (thanks Jan) plus 2 helpings of fruit cock (tail) meant I was stuffed.

Thurs 10th Mar – wild nights

Almost at the finish with Garmin in hot pursuit. Haven’t written in a while because things have been a bit mad with lots of sail changes, a night of wind and an impromptu mother duty. Night of wind was interesting. It blew up to 75 kts. We sat in the cockpit slightly scared singing “My Favourite Things”. It has also been bloody cold. Below deck we are our breath like the dragon bridge in Da Nang and on deck our hands become like ice blocks within 30 mins.

The yellow sea is indeed quite yellow. Actually more brown. Reminds me of a river I used to kayak on where the advice was ” if it’s brown, you will drown” :-/ I guess it’s because it’s quite shallow. We have been ploughing through water maker filters.

Engineering on this leg has generally felt like a bit of a clusterf*ck to me. We never managed to fix the generator and reverted to the engine, the engine had a low oil pressure warning, despite having,swearing we wouldn’t we ran out of water, we’ve had 2 fluid leaks, one of the galley pumps broke, the heads stopped working and the engine just bit me. Makes me question my abilities in the face of the upcoming North Pacific leg.

We continue to see quite a lot of ships and fishing fleet.

I have also bruised my bum (Derry ere!) When a big wave lifted me and slammed MD onto a jammer. Sitting down hurts.

Saturday 19th Mar – The Shamrock

About to embark on Leg 6. Conclusion of the last race was that we actually achieved “The Shamrock” – 1st in scoring gate, ocean sprint and 1st place. Elated. Let’s hope our luck continues…

One thought on “The Shamrock – Da Nang to Qingdao

  1. Sitting in my luxurious hotel at Red Hat Gathering of Queens, in my finery… Do I envy Ellie’s adventure? Well, no, but…feel I’ve missed out somewhere along the path of my life.. I envy Ellie’s bravery & totally admire her courage & commitment. Keep safe Ellie xxx See you in New York xxx from. You ancient & wise Mother xxxx


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