Race 7: Airlie Beach to Ha Long Bay 

Life on board 

Race 7 had a delayed start due to cyclone Kirrilly in Airlie Beach. It was also our first Le Mans start, which commenced from the other side of the Great Barrier Reef after a day of motor/sailing. The extra time on land was rejuvenating and the extended time taken to get to the starting line was a great refresher for the new crew mates joining us. These new crew mates were soon to become shell backs as well, as 10 days onto the race we crossed the equator and held a special ceremony for those for whom this was their first equator crossing.  

Lessons learnt 

Sail trim is a creative art. There are the common steps of easing or grinding sheets, the out haul, and the vang, putting in and shaking out reefs, adjusting car positions, and halyard tension. When these fail to produce desired results with the appropriate sail, our crew uses novel ideas such as tweakers, ‘sneaky foreguys’ and dropping or raising the tack using dyneema strops. These can add an extra half knot or more of speed at times.  


Our oceans are a greater carbon sink than our forests, so we need to take care of them. Keeping them healthy by not polluting them is an important step. In this race I saw more plastic in the open seas than any of our big blue oceans to date. It is not hard to reduce plastic pollution- we can all play a part by simply picking up litter when we go to the beach for example. Recycling plastic into valuable new products also helps reduce plastic pollution. Marlow Ropes use over 46,000 rPET plastic drink bottles in the production of the 17+ kilometres of ropes used in the Clipper Race fleet. On on!