Jimmy Sails World
_Unfortunately the Qingdao crew had to retire from race 5 and will finish in 9th place. This is to ensure they arrive in Tauranga, New Zealand with enough time to prepare for the next race to Gold Coast. They are due in on 27th Nov.
_Well I know its been a long time since writing last but I'm sure if you have been keeping up with the race viewer you may well be able to guess some of the reasons why! I am here now though and able to tell more tales from the Purple Dragon!

Well Firstly I should recap on the race into Geraldton and my time (if short) in WA (Western Australia). After another good start leaving Capetown behind us while many boats enjoyed a Coldplay concert that could be heard on the boats still in view of Table Mountain after the first nights racing we settled down to one of the longest legs of the race and the formidable Southern Ocean! I have already recounted some of the tales from that leg and if you want more tales of 'Apocalyptic' vistas and giant waves in Force 10 storms then you will just have to wait for me to get back and invite me out for a beer and I will happily bore you senseless!! But
towards the end of this race the dreaded high pressure system caught us, and we were going nowhere! Days of this came and went and the thought of having any more than a day or two in Geraldton to fix and restock the boat were looking doubtful at best. Eventually (after much speculation on board as to when) the call came that we would end the race short, we were given 12 hours racing then the boats with little chance of arriving in time to depart would be ranked by distance to finish. At this time were were locked in a dual with Welcome To Yorkshire (The Arch enemy in my book - but a boat with many good friends who tolerate me pinching their pressure washer, and being on board their boat as I am  a real Yorkshire man) So with 12 hours to close the 2nm lead Yorkshire had we gave chase! 12 hours later and with a real game of cat and mouse the race finished for us with Yorkshire in 7th place, Qingdao...6th! With that done we basically sailed in convoy with the Pink boat all the way to Geraldton. The Irony is that we had great wind after the race was called and were not too far behind the Geraldton boat (who were sttill racing) when we arrived at the other side of the world!

With that we were in Geraldton, Australia! we arrived around 1030pm local time
and were greeted by the most friendly customs officials I have ever met who as quickly as possible cleared us and then Yorkshire so that we could go and enjoy a midnight BBQ and beer party hosted by Geraldton Yacht Club! You can not put a price on steak, cold beer and Salad at midnight after a month in the Southern Ocean and so my first taste of Aussie hospitality was an amazing one.... and it stayed that way for the entire trip! Geraldton is a small city (and they did ask me not to tell anyone about it as they like it that way!) but it has big aspirations and while it may not be a 24 hour cosmopolitan Capital, is well worth a visit to remind yourself how nice small town/city living can be, my kind of place! I would at this point like to say a big thank you to a few people, All the Guys from Geraldton Yacht Club and those that served us cold beers and great food on at least three separate occasions.. You are stars and to my friends at the mend it / key cutting kiosk outside Woolworths in the Arcade (lost your business card in my kit at the moment) who tried their best to revive my watch and entertain me in the process! Check them out when you visit!!! Thanks. Finally to the people of Geraldton who helped us, were kind to us and turned out in masses to see us depart in a mini version of the flotilla from Southampton Thank you,  you have a wonderful city... I will be back!

So having made our repairs (special thanks to Pauline (Daves wife) for
  spending the majority of her holiday and precious time with her husband repairing our Medium weight Kite, Ray (after Ray Mears - a survivor! destroyed in the incident when Mark got stuck up the rig in race 4) I know how important time together is and hope it was not spoilt by that giant torn hanky! Cheers Pauline! We then restocked the dragon with food and set off back towards the Roaring Forties and the Southern Ocean, but before that we were in the Indian Ocean (sounds much calmer I hear you say... Wrong I say!!) straight into one heck of a storm that was tossing the entire fleet around like we were nothing! A baptism of fire for our new crew, Kev (a fellow Yorkshire man and general supplier of anything the
boat needs), Johnny, a friend from my level 4 and a good Yachtsman, Claire (AKA Bambie -after her moves on deck look like she is on ice!) at 19 the youngest member of the Q crew but a breath of fresh air (Bex - my little sis, it's like having you on board!!!!) and finally.... the one I was most excited about.... Joan.... a DOCTOR!! my medic duties resigned to assisting I love it! Joan as well as being a Doctor is a veteran of the Clipper 09/10 on the winning Spirit of Australia, and is attempting a RTW in stages... look out 13/14 crew!!

Well that first storm lasted a couple of days and took its toll on the
fleet in various bits of damage to the boats (nothing of note on Qingdao due to Skippers wise move of taking us west of the cape and the worst of the short seas caused by the continental shelf). We then eventually entered crossed 40 degrees Lat and into .... sunshine and flat seas! Did i hear someone say "Boring Forties"!! Well not for long! As low pressure front after low pressure front rolled over us we have been battered by storms up to force 10 nearly F11 since then with very little respite. The Southern Ocean really living up to the hype! These storms scattered the fleet and we found ourselves at the back of the pack. The positions seemed quite irrelevant at this time as surviving the leg seemed to be plan A, but it should be noted that the boats at the back appeared to be the boats with smaller crew numbers (12 + Skipper and Ian (media) on Q) as posed to 18 + Skipper and Media on Yorkshire! Correlation?? Who knows! But those are the cards we have to play and we were all still having fun, winds up to 50nmph waves as big as houses and the boat loving it! she really is made for this stuff and showed it by speeding across the oceans with 12 -13knts standards and up to 20knts when surfing!! Very cool!!

Well thats all for now I will do a further email and bring you fully up to
date in a few days, thanks for reading, I miss you all and by the end of this leg I will be sort of on my way home!! sort of!!!
Today at 5:41am (GMT) Qingdao left Geraldton Western Australia for the start of Leg 4, Race 5. They have a 3,600 mile Journey to Tauranga, North island of New Zealand. This Leg is split into 2 races, After a brief stopover in New Zealand, Race 6 shall commence...A further 1,370 miles to Gold Coast, Eastern Australia.
At the end of Race 4: Leg 3 Qingdao arrived in Geraldton, Western Australia at just after 15.00 (GMT) and awarded 6th position


    Its like Jim Kirk but without the star dates and I'm not the captain!

     Well here is where you can get to find out a little more about how I'm getting on in my quest for adventure.

    I aim to keep you posted on my training (both how I cope with learning to sail and how I am getting into shape for the race), How I am doing with regards to funding and how much money I have raised for good causes.

    I intend on this to be a journal of everything connected to this epic adventure, so at times it may be funny, sometimes full of grumbles and sometimes down right crazy! but I hope at all times it will reflect my experiences and feelings at the time.

    So watch this space!!!


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