A Detailed Tour of a Clipper Race Boat

In a previous post I discussed the arrival of the Clipper Round the World boats in Seattle.  In that post, I mentioned that I got it wrong about being able to go on the boats to have a look around.  However, I did end up having a second go at looking at the boats and this time, it was a success.  The boat that was open for visitors was named Qingdao.  One of the crew showed us around both up on deck and down below.

When looking at these boats from the outside, they look like pretty sizable craft.  However, when you get down below, it is instantly apparent how limited the space is.  There is a lot of space taken up by the sail locker and the engine room.  Then you have a small galley area and the navigation station.  There are two small heads – no showers, though.  The remainder of the space is for the crew of 22 to squeeze in to.  This is not a luxurious excursion.  (We were told that, had we been on a couple of days before, the odor would still have been pretty ripe.  A long time at sea does not make for great hygiene!)

I had decided to take my widest zoom for the visit and I was glad I did that.  Everything was so confined, it really needed a wide angle to get any shots.  Even maneuvering through the hull while docked required a bit of effort.  I can’t imagine what it would be like when heeled over at 45 degrees while punching through a Southern Ocean storm.  They say you learn a lot about yourself in these races and I don’t doubt it.  I’d probably learn I am not cut out for serious adventures!

The galley was interesting.  Aside from the stabilized hob, all of the cans were stripped of labels and marked up with their contents.  Everything gets wet so labels fall off rapidly.  You need to prep to make sure you can identify the food.  The cans do corrode in the salt water.  Apparently, it’s not unknown to open a can and find nothing inside it because it has already leaked away from a corrosion hole!

The boats were really interesting to see.  The crews spend a lot to be on this voyage and they are definitely getting an adventure.  I hope they have fun ultimately and I like to see what they have done but I won’t be signing up anytime soon.

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