Straight after the Race Start, well the next day, I was back at work. And boy was that a hard week! For one thing it was the first few days back after a month of being almost completely immersed in Clipper stuff. For another, well read on.
The Clipper Race overall is divided into eight legs, or parts, and within that each leg comprises of one or more races, to a total of sixteen. You can check out the details of each race.
The first leg was to Rio de Janeiro, but contained two races, the first of which was scheduled to take only four days, along the English Channel to Brest.
This meant that not only did us left-behinders have the temptations of the Race Viewer, which is updated once per hour and only shows vessels that are taking part in the race, we could also see their progress minute by minute using AIS.
AIS (Automatic Identification System) is a collision avoidance system that gives information about your vessel, its speed and course and contact details. This information is publicly broadcast on VHF radio which can be picked up either by other ships or by shore based receivers. Thus a ‘picture’ can be built up of all the ships in a given area.
Given the nature of AIS, it only works when relatively close to a VHF receiver, so the yachts cannot be picked up when, say, crossing an ocean.
For that week then you could see the yachts’ progress in minute detail. What you couldn’t see was the weather conditions they were experiencing, such as fog, or light winds.
We had Skippers’ Reports and Crew Diaries to give us an insight into that. Not to mention the news reports from Clipper Ventures too. They are at least daily. Or Twitter updates. Or blog posts from crew members such as Sarah and Tasha.
So it was very easy to be at work and flitting between the Race Viewer, AIS, news reports, blog posts and to suddenly realise that it’s time to go to the gym, or for a swim, and you’ve done no work. Whatsoever. That’s half the day gone.
Then it gets to Thursday and my boss asks me for his weekly progress report. Let’s just say I need lessons in creativity, as the report I gave him just didn’t wash. It might even have mentioned boats and distractions. I am just too honest!
I have been better since.
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