Julie, our Club Treasurer and regular sailor has set off to San Fransico to join the 'Welcome to Yorkshire' Clipper Yacht for legs 7 and 8.
She is due to join the yacht on April 10th and set sail on the 14th.
To follow her progress click the links below
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Ahoy there - I’m home!
Here it is, at last, the final chapter in my adventure across the oceans!
Leaving Holland couldn’t come soon enough for a lot of us – eager to finish off the final race and land in Southampton to our awaiting families and friends. Den Helder was a lovely town but there were only so many times you could walk around the shops – many of which we have over here (apart from C&A which I haven’t seen for a long long time!) or sit in a bar! (yes even this became tedious!!)
Finally on 19th July we once again set off sailing upwind – ten minutes behind the rest of the fleet as we discovered ourselves at the wrong side of the bay with only ten minutes to the race start!!!
Gradually though we managed to push our way past the rest of the fleet even ending up in first place at one point until we reached sight of England. Then the wind died and we spent ages going round and round in circles in the Solent at a snail’s pace!! The race finally ended at 0530 hours on 22nd July with WtY coming 6th in the final race and 5th in the overall race standings. We then had to motor to a rendezvous point where Sir Robin Knox Johnston on his yacht Suhaili and a clipper training yacht marked the official ending point of the race, this was marked by Sir Robin setting of a very loud cannon as each Clipper yacht sailed by. Hope he was firing blanks!
What an amazing reception we got in Southampton, there were so many boats it was truly spectacular. Shaun and my family were all on a spectator boat and I was looking round trying to see them with no joy, suddenly my son Gareth called me up on my mobile saying ‘we’re behind you! Can you get Rupert to come over here?’ I immediately asked Rupert who swung the wheel round heading straight for the ferry that a lot of the WtY supporters was on. There were my family and friends, on the back of this ferry waving their arms off! It was an amazing sight – then to cap it all Gareth called me again and told me to look on the bridge of the ferry – there he was leaning out of the bridge waving with a pint of beer in his hand!! Adam you made my day!
As we came into the quayside in Ocean Village the noise was deafening, it was amazing the number of people who had turned out to see us all in. As we came up to the pontoon Gareth rang yet again saying that I should look over at the crowd. I was absolutely gobsmacked to see my parents standing there as Mam doesn’t travel very well and had said she couldn’t make it. That was it - I was in floods of tears nearly missing the photo call to mark our arrival in port.
Once all the formalities were out of the way, going up on stage and waving to the crowds, we were at last free to join our families with big hugs and kisses all round, and a bottle of pink fizz!!
Whatever the result of the race the fact we had all had such a brilliant time and gelled so well as a team meant so much more. I have likened my time on board to giving birth – there at times when you are thinking why am I doing this? What made me do something so hard and painful? But then you come up on watch to a beautiful starlit night or dolphins chasing the boat and everything that has gone before gets pushed to the back of your mind. I have enjoyed and will treasure the memories and friendships I have made with many people, some of whom I know will be friends for life. AS well as my crew mates I have met a lot of wonderful and generous people in all the stopovers who will live long in my memory. A special thank you to Joan, Scott and Gaby for putting me up (or should I say putting up with me!) in New York for over a week during our stopover there.
I hope you have enjoyed the messages I have posted and if so please be good enough to support my fundraising page by visiting http://email.virginmoneygiving.com/re?l=Be30ihvI401wxzkIh4zmhtmpI&u=http%3A%2F%2Fuk.virginmoneygiving.com%2FJulieLeach&s=MKHEACMJLJHNOJIM
These are all causes very close to my heart and I appreciate any donation you can give no matter how big or small. And a special thank you to those of you who have already made a donation.
Love to you all.
Well just about to embark on the final race on my journey.
Den Helder has been a very hospitable stopover with plenty of food and drink laid on for everyone.
The race from Derry was a lot harder than we anticipated - the first part was upwind sailing yet again - with lots of sail changes as the winds grew and grew reaching 45 knots at some times.
Going over the top of Scotland was different because we could see land for most of the time, and also seeing other clippers which gave a different focus trying to get ahead or stay ahead of them.
Turning South after going through the Pentland Firth ( we made this at the right time with the tide pushing us through) was downwind sailing with the spinnakers making an appearance again. At last we were on an even keel! This made things more pleasant for living down below decks - and less hazardous on deck!
The weather was mainly grey and damp but finally as we came into Den Helder the sun made an appearance!
Only one race from the end in Southampton where loved ones will be there waiting to greet us after giving us the opportunity to do something amazing.
Will send a final message when I return home and can sit at a proper keyboard and not on a tiny phone!
Love to you all,
Just an update on my journey so far.We left New York to an amazing send off on the Hudson leaving behind our loved ones on the quayside. We had to motor out 50 miles before another le mans start. Yet again we seemed to somehow take a wrong turn but still managed a third place pennant!
Amazing result in the circumstances! The race was short but full on with us beating into the wind for a lot of the time.
Halifax, Nova Scotia was a lovely stopover - the people there were so friendly and I even managed to recruit a Canadian lady to the Hull Sailing Club!
Race start from Halifax was so much fun! We set off on a parade of sail and then had a marker to start the race where we all fought to get the best position for when the horn went to start the race. This was all in the stretch of water in front of Halifax - must have looked amazing from the waterfront.
The race across the Atlantic was extremely tiring and then we were chased by tropical revolving storm Chris! We did manage to stay just in front of Chris - in fact he pushed us along for a lot of the way!For a few days we held first place but in the end came out with another third place! Still an excellent result and very well fought.
I am now in Derry which is also a very friendly city - we have been allocated a bar which gives us discounted meals that is well frequented LOL! Lots to do here before we set off on race 14 on Saturday 7th - hope we don't all tire ourselves out with all the activities.
That's all from me for now - will catch up with you all from Den Helder.
20/6/12 2226hrs BT (0026 BST)
Sorry not been in touch but it is not very comfortable on board at the moment. As I write this I have one leg propped against the side of the nav station and holding on with one hand whilst typing with the other! I am still in some discomfort with my ribs and it is quite difficult moving about the boat as we are constantly heeled over - at least it is to port which means I won't fall out of bed ! LOL !
Our race position at the mo is very exciting as we are in 4th pos but only because Finland are in stealth so we have left them in 2nd.
There is a tropical storm called Chris on its way that we are tracking closely - looks as though it will have some effect on us but not as badly as the boats behind us.
Anyway have to go and make bread now - all three of us on standby watch said we wanted to do it so guess we will all have a knead LOL!
Thanks for reading and your messages to Julie which she really appreciates.
Sun, 17 Jun 2012 18:00:13 -0000 (GMT)
Hope all is well at home.
Just taking the opportunity while things are relatively quiet to do a few e-mails - have already sent some to Dad and Becky.
Looking forward to getting to Derry too- should be a great stopover with plenty set up for us to do, have put my name down for a few things including the Giants Causeway trip.
We are doing well on the race - seem to be more focused but still having fun. Things are a lot harder work on the Atlantic though - it is cold and we are constantly on an angle of 20 degrees plus! Sleeping is not easy either as we are slamming through the waves and being lifted off our bunks then dropped back down like stones!!
Bruised ribs are a bit easier today although I still found it hard to get up this morning - was very achy and feeling sorry for myself but soon pulled myself together and got on with it. BTW George is still ill and Wendy not too good either!
Sun, 17 Jun 2012 05:53:30 -0000 (GMT)
hi been a really tough couple of days - hurt my ribs on first night trying to get onto my bunk on the high side! Nothing broken but very sore.
Felt a bit sorry for myself when woken for 10pm-2pm shift tonight but forced myself to get ready and go on deck - was very tempting to say i couldnt do it but wheres the challenge then?
Living on an angle again and its very cold - just come off the shift and its 2am so going to try get some rest - not easy to sleep as boat is slamming into the waves - thy have been over 20ft!!
Just to let you all know how I'm doing after having a couple of days doing absolutely nothing! The past 7 weeks have flown by. San Francisco was amazing and the race start was thrilling. I soon got into the flow of things on board not suffering from much sea-sickness at all, not everyone was so lucky though, with some taking quite a time to recover.
The journey down to Panama started with some fantastic winds but soon changed into a bit of a slog! However all the hard work and patience paid off when we ended up in second place!!
On the journey we saw some amazing wildlife - the most breathtaking was the dolphins who came right up to the bow of the boat as if they were racing us!!Panama City looked amazing as we sailed up to it and was not what I expected at all. The skyline seemed to stretch for miles, I didn't realise it was so big. It was extremely hot and humid - good excuse to go into the air-conditioned shops :-) We decided to stay in an air-conditioned hotel because it was so hot and also for a bit of luxury!!! After the boat with no showers and 2 foot wide bunks, it was so nice to have a bath and to spread out like a starfish in a double bed all to yourself !!
The Panama Canal was an amazing experience too! The locks are so large, they make Hull Marina lockgates look tiny, then we went over the lake that was so big. The locks at the Caribbean side were just as big and the view of the view of the Caribbean sea was fantastic.We did spend a little too long on the Colon side of the canal, often being told we would be setting off only to have the race set back yet again! Anyway we finally set off with a Le Mans start. This is where all the boats line up and the crews are all behind the coffee grinder winch waiting for the horn to blow when we can go forward to raise the yankee and stay sails. We somehow didn't go quite in the right direction and soon were yet again up against light winds.
However life on board was lots of fun and plenty of laughs were to be had.
Now we are in The Big Apple. The first view of the skyline was amazing, as it was at night all the lights were glistening and the sense of achievement for me was overwhelming.
Over the next week I will explore with Shaun and see the sights.
The next race starts on June 7th from North Cove Marina in NYC so will carry on with my adventure then!!
Love you all, Julie xxxx
1700 boat time 2200 BST 19/5/12
Just finished a watch going round in circles!! - have been in the doldrums for the last 4 hours going nowhere just off Hogsty Reef!!
Wendy and George's watch has just taken over to a little bit of wind that Wendy is sure is due to her doing her 'wind dance' as she came up on deck.
We are in stealth at the moment but we are just hoping everyone else has lost the wind too! Think we will be going through the Crooked Passage if you can find that on the map.
The info from John Medland will be great - every little helps!
It's still warm and sticky here but should be cooling down a bit - once we get moving.
We seem to be doing well at the moment having had a very busy day trying to find the wind with lots of sail changes and putting up the kite then the wind seeker then the yankee and stay sail, and then back again!!
Currently we have just come out of the windward passage between Cuba and Haiti and are going into the Bermudan sea. We can see Derry on our starboard side about 4 miles away - they appear to be in a wind hole as their aspect keeps changing. The good thing about this is they were 4th at the last scheds so we must be doing okay now!
Time for supper now - chilli and rice
We are currently stuck in the doldrums after pulling back a bit overnight
- the wind died just as we finished our 8am to 12pm shift after we had been doing so well. I was helming this morning and going at 10.4 knots! It was brilliant getting to helm as we have been specialising up till yesterday.
Ah well all we can hope is that the others have the same luck as us - but I won't hold my breath!!
The one good thing is that it has given us a breather from the relentless angle living of the last 3 days - it was very hard at times - when you are being woken at 2am and having to go and sit on deck knowing you are not going to do anything but get wet!! I told Tricky that I didn't want to play any more and he laughed - just as well because if he had been sympathetic I think I would have cried But today is a different day and all is well again The sun is out and the wind is starting to pick up again :-))
Sorry have taken so long to get in touch - seems like I have been on this boat for a very long time but yet it is only just over 30 hours since the race started!
Life on board is much different now - we are living at an angle and it is still warm as we cannot have the main hatch open due to the spray coming over the decks. It is much harder to move around as it is like being at the top of a very steep hill that is moving about 20 miles an hour!!
Cooking is much harder too as the boat is rocking and banging around as you are trying to chop or stir or serve the food.
Sleeping is also harder as being at the front of the boat it is much more bouncy and uncomfortable because of this and the heat!
Time to try get a bit of sleep - after I have got changed that is - got absolutely drenched before - as we did this morning - think I am gonna get through my dry pants pretty quickly
Have been doing the victualing stock take today. Was very warm work digging everything out from their hiding places and counting up!
Half way through we hit a squall that sent the boat heeling at 20 degrees
- it was hilarious with biscuits and things flying all over the saloon!!
Went up on deck to some brilliant sailing weather - it has died down now though and we are back on an even keel!!
It has cooled down a little with the squall - bet it won't last for long though!
The party has been put on hold for us to do a lot of jobs that will save time when we get to Panama, I have not got too involved tho' only when I am asked as I will have to spend some of my 'down' time going to the shops.
Things are quite chilled on board now we are motoring - have been allowed to have music on deck (can't hear it below because of the engine) during daylight hours. The watch system has been changed slightly so that we don't have to do stand by watches between 6pm and 6am so getting longer sleeps through the night - means we can catch up with e-mails and reading our books - only thing is everyone wants to use the computer!!
Thanks for forwarding all the messages of congrats and support - really lovely to hear from everyone!!
Tues 1/5/ 0044 hours
It's so exciting, we are 33.69nm from the finish with an estimated arrival time of 0545hrs our time 1245hrs your time.
Back on watch at 0200hrs so should be on when we finish, if we can keep up the pace!
Couldn't sleep as it's so warm so decided to get up and join in with the excitement! Going up on deck in mo to join Kim's watch - everyone is buzzing as we think we will make 2nd place!!!
Will mail tomorrow with proper news
We did it!! 2nd place!!
Everyone is all smiles!! Fantastic effort by everyone - we all worked hard for this and still stayed friends!
Feels quite unreal but at the same time soo exhilarating!
Look forward to your e-mail later, have to go as we are all queuing up for the computer :-)
Thanks for reading-will send more as and when.
Mon 30/6 1315 hrs (still in stealth)
The race is hotting up now - almost as much as us!!
We are heading for the Remidios gate aiming to get just inside so as to take the shortest route possible, it's all very exciting! Hoping for a podium place - that would be brilliant and we can do it!!
Also had e-mails from Geoff, Karen B and Mandy all very gladly received.
Have just made quiche for dinner and it went down great with everyone!!
Think Rupert may even be mentioning it in his blog ! LOL!
Still very warm - have even got the cossie out now! ha ha! They all had to put their sunglasses on because of the glare from my legs!
Everyone has now acclimatised so not so much moaning about the heat.
Have seen lots of dolphins - they also follow us at night in the moonlight
- magical. Last night we also saw tuna jumping about three or four feet out of the water - we think they were being chased by the dolphins, that was an amazing sight!
This morning was an eventful one with us gybing as soon as we got on deck, then putting two sails away and then seeing a beautiful pod of dolphins - oh and a turtle with a bird stood on it's back!!
hilarious! Just had breakfast of cherios and my bread - just plain - everyone else puts currants or cranberries in but mine was just simple - a nice change! Just got the call that there are more dolphins so will go up with my camera and try get some good shots. All is good here I'm loving it, and the prediction is for some good sailing up to NY!
We are making good progress, at last report we are 4th but only
1 mile behind 3rd! this was at 1am on Thur 26th our time. Currently on stand-by watch 2am to 6am. Duties are to bake the bread made by the previous stand-by watch and prepare breakfast. Life is very warm on board at the mo - and it's gonna get hotter! Most are coping - all is going really well and very enjoyable. Just finished a 2 hour watch and now on an 8 hour break. It's a wee bit too hot to sleep so will do some writing in my diary and tidy up my gear. Once sorted may have a nap if I can!
Just been on mother watch with James and made a packet noodle mix and a fresh fruit salad that went down really well. It is very hot in the galley though so going for a lie down now to try and cool off!!!
We are doing quite well and currently in 3rd place! woo hoo! only going 6 knots an hour at the mo so it's long hard slog but apparently all boats are in the same position!
Made the first batch of bread dough of the trip on Friday morning and so far it has not been beaten for texture or flavour Really enjoying myself and getting on with everyone.
Well need to go have a cool down as still melting from being in the galley. Have been good about the suncream - not burnt yet!
The sun is burning down here now - factor 90 will be making an appearance this pm! Just in the middle of an 8 hour break so back on at 4pm. The shift system is working well. We are making good progress and keeping our own within the fleet, we are just trying to get to the first 'end' point as soon as possible!!
I do hope the video makes it onto the website - Chris worked long and hard on it!! He has to put together 2 minutes per week and has found it very time consuming - although he was a complete beginner!
It's James' birthday today - he has cake and as it is the Queen's birthday too we are cracking open a bottle of bubbly at suppertime. Flags and tiaras are at the ready!!
Just about to go to bed myself until 2am Friday morning. Not been feeling too good over the last day or so as have caught Kim's cold and have not slept too well - however just had a solid 4 hours so this seems to have sorted me out.
Still got the cough but getting on with it Sailing is getting slow - we are now flying the lightweight spinnaker and currently in joint 5th but still trying for the scoring gate. It really is different out here - trying to make the right decisions but we are confident with our strategy at the moment.
Hope you like the crew diary I have put out there should also be a video with me in it being published soon ha ha! Hope it doesn't make me look as daft as I felt doing it! Chris is doing the media bit now so had to help him out - he has to send 2 mins of video per week which doesn't sound much but is hard to fill.
Saw dolphins in the dark last night - they make a hissing sound - breathing I suppose - as they come out of the water.
Update - 18th April 2012
Julie set sail on 14th April from the Marina at Oakland on a lovely sunny day with a little tear in her eye but she was really looking forward to it. Oakland was the nicest place in the U.S.A, the day before the race start the nearest hotel was surrounded by police (dozens of them) and there was a bit of an armed siege but the Marina area was fine and the big pink boat was looking good as they left the Marina for the start near to the Golden Gate Bridge a couple of hours later.
The previous few days had been spent by the crew getting the boat ready and Julie and a couple of crew went buying food for the trip which is a feat in itself. They have a set amount to spend on food which works out at £3.50 per person per day! All the labels have to be removed from the tins and then marked up which is a tedious process I can tell you! Stowing the food is a feat in itself too with stuff being put away everywhere.
Many of the friends and family then boarded the ferry service between Oakland and San Francisco and we proceeded to pass the yachts one by one as they sailed into San Francisco Bay. During the week we had used the ferry quite a bit and the crew had become really interested in the race and the skipper invited some of the Welcome to Yorkshire crew on to the bridge and offered advice about the best course out of the bay at race start. Unbeknown to us he was also the skipper on the day of the race start and he made a bit of a diversion from his normal route and passed really close to Welcome to Yorkshire as they made their way into the Bay. This was great and the skipper announced that W to Y was now his adopted boat!.
We all then made our way to the Golden Gate Yacht Club (the venue for this years Americas Cup) where the race started in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Again a brilliant spectacle and there is some great footage on You Tube of the formation lap and race start.
Follow this link:-
Race start was 2 o clock and within half an hour they were out of sight and racing towards Panama!
Had a couple of e mails from Julie and she is loving it and says it is even better than she thought it would be.Here are a couple of extracts which you might be interested in.
Race start was brilliant wasn't it? I saw you all on the ferry, that was a spectacle in itself LOL! Lost my camera for a while but had packed it away under my bunk in Keith's bag!! Saw a whale this morning - awesome!!! Only Tricky and I saw it as it spouted then a large black back rolled round in the sea, the others were all dead jealous! Steve said he couldn't believe I had only been on board 2 days and already I had seen one!!
Been a bit seasick - fed the fish this morning LOL! Okay at the moment though. It was very choppy going over the 'potato patch' yesterday so we have had a few fall down with sea-sickness. However George is not as bad as he thought he would be - told him it was a lot in the mind !
The watch system seems okay - just had a good 6 hours sleep and now have an hour before my watch starts again at 4pm. Will be on for 6 hours, 2 hours watch and 4 hours stand-by.
Everyone is brilliant and really caring for each other. At 11.00am we were second place!! woo hoo!!! Long way to go but morale is great! Food seems to be going down okay with everyone too :-) Having a fantastic time - it's even better than I thought it would be. Everyone is getting on well - suppose it is early days but morale is great! Wrote the blog today so look out for that!
Our watch system is working well, getting plenty of rest and time to do my own stuff but still busy on deck - well as busy as we can be on the same gybe all the time! We are flying spinnakers all the way we think so should get in lots of helming practice! Have written in my diary every day so far so must keep it up!!
At the time of writing they are doing great and in 3rd place only 7 miles off the lead but have 2460 miles to go!
Anyway that's just about it for now. You can follow the race online and get a daily newsletter by following these links:-
If any of you have any messages to pass on please let me know and I will forward them to her. I will be posting some photos on Julie's Facebook page later so have a look at that and make her a friend if she is not already.
Thanks for reading this and your support!
Shaun (on behalf of Julie)