Tag Archives: sailing

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.

Clipper Race Sailing Boats

The Clipper Round the World race has been underway for many years.  It is a race of a single class of sailing boats/yachts (depending on where you live) with two qualified crew and the remainder are individuals that can pay to take part on one or more of the legs around the world.  It starts and ends in Portsmouth and stops off at various cities around the world.  It has been to Seattle since we have lived here but I never managed to get down there to see the boats.

I had a work event down at the harbor one evening when the boats had arrived.  After the event, I took a few minutes to walk along the waterfront to see them tied up.  I managed to get a few shots with my phone in the low light – how impressive phones can be in dark conditions – but couldn’t get any closer.  Then I made an error.  They were advertising that you could visit the boats to look around, so I headed down at the weekend with Nancy.  There was no one to be found.  Turns out, they weren’t doing tours that weekend.  It had been a wasted trip (combined with it being a wet and windy day anyway).  However, there is more to come on this topic.

An Old Boat Through The Lock

We took a visit to the locks at Ballard on the 4th July weekend.  We had anticipated a ton of boat traffic for the holidays but we were wrong.  Maybe everyone was at home with family members.  The result was very limited traffic through the locks.  They were just using the smaller lock.  One boat that did make the traverse was a rather nice looking old wooden sailing boat.  I imagine it requires a fair bit of upkeep but it looked like the sort of boat that you could make relaxing trips in if you had a load of spare time.

Old Victory Shot

I was searching through my archive looking for some ship shots and the keyword search threw up a few extras that were separate from what I was after.  It included some shots of HMS Victory.  Victory is one of the most famous warships in the UK.  She was the flagship of Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar and he died on her deck as the battle was won.  She survived after her main career was over and sat afloat at Portsmouth for many years before being restored and put on display in a dry dock in the navy base.

I have been on board a few times over the years.  I have some old photos from the film days that I took and also some aerial shots of her and thought I might share them here.  I understand that she has recently undergone a further restoration.  The hull had been sagging around the supports underneath and so she has been repaired and the support system modified.  It is also now possible to go under the hull as part of the visit.  This is something I would like to try when I next have time during a visit to the UK.

Sailing Amongst the Islands

The holiday weekend meant the San Juan Islands were definitely the place to be if you had a boat.  We saw plenty of boats coming and going including plenty of sailing boats.  Some seemed either to be racing or training together too.  I just grabbed some shots of the boats when I could.  The evening light on a spinnaker really looks very nice.

Sailing Boats on Puget Sound

We took a walk along the beach at Shoreline one Sunday and the weather was lovely.  Obviously plenty of people thought it was a good day too and there were lots of sailing boats out on Puget Sound.  Some of them came in quite close to the shore before tacking away.  The winds was obviously pretty strong as some of them healed over pretty hard as they caught the wind again.  I love the look of yachts sailing in a strong breeze.

Building an America’s Cup Challenger

Ineos is a name I hadn’t heard until recently.  They took over the Sky cycling team and that was the first time I became aware of them.  I guess that sporting achievements are something that their management are quite focused on because, while waiting to catch the ferry at Portsmouth, I got a look at the building in these photos.  It is their America’s Cup challenger facility.  The building looks pretty impressive and I hope that the boat that they come up with is similarly so.  It would be good to see the cup make its way to the UK after all this time.

Fastnet Race Start in the 90s

We recently had the 40th anniversary of the Fastnet race that ended up with a significant loss of life and boats.  Weather forecasting technology and the methods of communicating were very different forty years ago and some of the boats were ill-suited to open water racing of that nature.  Growing up in Cowes, the Fastnet race was always a big deal.  It was every other year as part of the Admiral’s Cup.  Some of my school friends got to crew on it.  I watched the start of one of the races when we still lived in the UK and I scanned in some of the shots I got that day.  The start was always frantic.  Boats are jockeying for position, often very close to shore.  Lots of shouting goes on.  With a good wind, big sailing boats look so cool to me.

Sailing Across the Bay on a Windy Day

B11I0652.jpgPlenty of my times alongside San Francisco Bay are airplane or wildlife related.  You do get to see lots of other things on the bay, though, and on a windy day the sailing is definitely worth a look.  Having grown up in a sailing town, I do love to watch sailing, even if I never got into sailing myself.  A lot of boats were out on this day.  I don’t know whether they were racing officially or just were out testing each other but they were certainly getting some speed on.  Watching the sails full of air with the boat healing over dramatically and making good speed is really cool.

Breaking up the Wreck

AE7I4290.jpgA little while ago I posted a picture of a sailing boat that had wrecked on the breakwater at the marina on Coyote Point.  The next time I was back there, I guess I had timed things well.  The boat had been pulled ashore and a guy was busy breaking it up.  He used the front scoop of a backhoe to break the hull up.  Obviously it was beyond rescue.  He would pull sections off and then drop them in a dumpster.  As he broke it up, more of the interior would be visible.  The fiberglass is quite flexible so he had to work to actually break it sometimes.  However, there was only going to be one winner in this contest.

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