As we approach the UK's winter, it's worth noting that Clipper Yachts are not heated! Some will have a small oil-filled heater & dehumidifier which is aimed, largely, at trying to keep the crew area and sail bags (in the same place on a Clipper 68 training yacht) as dry as possible when alongside and between courses.
However, overnight and when at sea, Winter on a Clipper Training Yacht is cold. When there are lots of people below, it can also get wet, with lots of warm breath and a cold deck making for a chilly rainforest in some conditions.
The best way to plan for this is to invest in a specialist marine sleeping bag. Ocean Sleepwear do one which is Goretex ™ lined and has dual fleece interiors. These are great bags, but not cheap. The basic mummy-shaped bag comes in at over £250 and the square 'Volvo' bag is over £300. Our pre-used classified ads also have Ocean Bags from time to time.
An alternative to this has been sourced by me and is available online for about £50. It's the Mountain Warehouse Sutherland sleeping bag.
We did a quick review of the Sutherland Bag here. And the Ocean Bag here.
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The Sutherland Sleeping Bag is perfect for fishing trips into the wild. Designed in durable ripstop polyester fabric, it is fleece lined for better insulation and extra warmth when out camping on cold winter evenings.
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In this short video I discuss what you should be thinking about packing for a cold ocean leg. In this context, I consider Cold Ocean Legs to be Legs 2, 3 , 4, 6 and Leg 8.
Fierce Turtle (Packing for Training) : http://bit.ly/PackingListfortraining
Many crew us crocs for below deck, but on deck I think you have to go a long way to beat the Keen sandal / shoe. It is ventilated and has a closed toe, protecting you from all the hazards on deck.
If you are interested in any of the items in my essential deck kit dry bag, click here
Sailing in the Southern Ocean in Summer is a tough old gig, even for the pros on The Volvo Ocean Race. It seems no coincidence that so many use the Le Chameau Neptune boot for the really tough, cold race legs.
Click here for our review of the Le Chameau Neptune. Clipper Crew can claim 15% OFF the Le Chameau Neptune if purchased in February 2018.
The DISCOUNT CODE is WARMFEET. Just enter the code at checkout.
If you look at the geography and the prevailing trade winds, it's pretty obvious that to sail around the World today (if you start in Northern Europe) then you have to sail South across the Atlantic and then either go East or West. Going East is far more sensible.
With this reality in place, it becomes likely that Brazil and South Africa are going to be two of the first ports of call. Going East, Western Australia makes sense and then you have to get to China for the Qingdao stopover (which is not to be missed for spectacle). Whilst in Oz though, it seems appealing to compete in the Sydney Hobart Race so continuing East, either around New Zealand or Tasmania, Sydney has been a regular stop for the last few races. Before that New Zealand and then Australia's Gold Coast were stopover ports.
Leg 4 is, therefore, usually Western Australia to East Coast Australia, perhaps including the Rolex Sydney Hobart after Christmas and then a short hop back up the East Coast. The leg needs to advance the race to China. Going East around Australia makes some sense as there's a large continent on our doorstep.
Because it's Christmas Sydney Hobart is a possibility. Then you need to go North to get around Australia and back towards China. This means lots of races The advantages to Leg 4 are, in my opinion, as follows;
All in all, I'd say Leg 4 is a good leg. It has several races, it's set in a great part of the World and there are iconic events and locations all around you and a mix of conditions. What's not to like?
Leg 2 is, as the name suggests, still quite early in the race. The round-the-world crew and those that are continuing from leg 1 have some experience and they will know their way around the boat and be much better at sailing her and undertaking 'evolutions' such as reefing and sail changes. Also, leg 1 is over and the race is very much on!
In previous years the race has started in Rio de Janeiro and finished in Cape Town.
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Mark Burkes is a former Clipper Race Skipper, Round the World Crew, Clipper Training Skipper & jobbing RYA Yachtmaster Instructor (Ocean). He has over 200,000 miles logged.
Mark also writes professionally both online and offline and has written for Yachting World.
Fierce Turtle is not linked to nor is it in any way accredited by the splendid folk at Clipper Ventures. All opinion is our own.
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