Race 9: Zhuhai to Qingdao 

Life on board 

Race 9 was a lucky dip of weather. We were surprised with the heat experienced early in the race when we were wearing shorts and t-shirts or a long sleeve sun-protective top and applying sunscreen. Then within 24 hours the thermal base layers were on and we could see our breath when we spoke! Our skipper warned us that the next race an across the North Pacific will be colder yet. The dramatic change in temperature led to porridge now featuring on every breakfast menu from the big chill til the end, culminating in hot pancakes on the last morning. 

Lessons learnt 

Preparation is key. Myself and the only other female round the world era in our boat, Jess, are known as the ‘pit queens’ due to our deep understanding of the steps of all evolutions that involve any ropes in the cockpit. One of the most common evolutions we do is to put in or shake out a reef. I have observed that these evolutions are often more efficient and flawless when good preparation is done. This includes ensuring all jammers for reefing lines are open and the lines are free to run before the evolution commences. This prevents damage to lines, and even reduces wear and tear on other lines and rigging that might come under tension.  


Reduce. If we reduce how much of a scarce resource we buy and/or consume it lasts longer in our stock as well as in the market and world. Sounds simple. Harder in practice due to human nature. On board we have limited amounts of food. More expensive or key ingredients in short supply are purchased carefully and, if needed, rationed on board. One way we do this is to write how many serves a bulk pack of rice or tin of food contains. This helps the rotating daily galley team use only what’s needed to feed the crew of 20 onboard – a difficult thing to do without experience. It also helps prevent the human instinct of wanting to over-provide accidentally depleting limited resources too early. There’s no supermarket or delivery services at sea!