Race 13 - Day 4
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Crew Diary - Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland to Den Helder, Netherlands
A'argh, and shiver me timbers me old hearties. As you can tell I swiftly adopted the jargon of sea-farers everywhere; although I do still have to find a parrot.
My previous blog mentioned three reasons that I decided to participate in this 'ere race, me lads (OK I will now stop the pirate bit)- the first being the Panama Canal, secondly to see a whale, both accomplished; and the outstanding issue of crossing the Atlantic under sail. Well the last one is now 'ticked off'.
After a very fast crossing of the Atlantic, following the ice line (the area above which bergs, bergy bits, growlers etc; (all of which should be in a glass with cider, or a G & T and not bothering us sailing folk imho) may interrupt the voyage. In the event of this happening evidently Leonardo DiCaprio will appear magically on the bow. Anyway I digress.
Suffice to say, we were so fast that the race organisers added extra miles to the course, which took us out to Rockall, which had f-all on it apart from a lighthouse - but the journey was worth it!
Derry-Londonderry - or stroke city as some locals call it, pushed the boat out for us. A great welcome from locals all along the route of the River Foyle was followed by nights of singing and dancing, whilst balancing a pint of the black stuff. All this was accomplished whilst having a greater blend of Blarney (BS to you) than the locals (Cockney and Irish descent; what did you expect.) Tours of the 'Walls', the Bogside, Creggan and the Fountain (on the 12th) all added to the local colour.
At this stage I was joined by my wonderful, long suffering wife, Kerry, who reminded me she had filled in six insurance premiums and felt a bit cheated that I had actually made it that far; but we soon made up. We spent some 'quality time' walking the Giants Causeway and cliffs, plus Kerry got some completely unbiased guidance of the Bogside and surrounding area's from yours truly. She also loved the place, and we would both recommend it as a great short break venue.
Derry laid on music all week, food festivals, fireworks, the lot - and I raise a glass to the great nature of the people. At the end of our week here Derry City sent us off in some style, literally thousands lined the quay side and cheered the 12 boats off, one by one. (I think some of them were publicans and hoteliers wanting payment) - it was truly awesome. I had not seen cheering like that since West Ham won the world cup in '66.
In the last few days we have raced up the west coast of Scotland, passing between John O'Groats and the Orkney's and are currently East of Aberdeen heading toward the Netherlands. All the boats are really racing hard, and we can currently see six from our deck.
For my part I am looking forward to St Katharine's and friends and family - in the meantime, make sure you all enjoy life and smile everyday. x Be Lucky Long John