15/16 Race in Qingdao

11th March - 13th March 2016

This was the arrival window of the 15/16 Clipper Fleet to arrive in Qingdao, China. Now, I am lucky enough to live in Shanghai and Qingdao is only 456 Miles North!

So, I arranged to arrange to spend the weekend at the venue of the Clipper Fleet. I know the area well - as it was where my adventure of Leg 6 began in 2014!! I am unsure of how I am feeling... I know I am excited. But, when I am there - I think I will be remeniscing about when I was there before my race, and then thiniking, in two years time.. it will be me arriving into Qingdao - and I will be halfway through my race! MENTAL! In short... what an AMAZING weekend I had. It was so good to be able to catch up with current crew, meet some new crew, reminice about the memories that I had, make some new memories. It was also brilliant to meet up with Clipper Staff that I hadn't seen for ages!
I decided to make this weekend one of a few luxuries, to begin with, I stayed in the Intercontinental, and what a lovely hotel that is! Very lovely indeed!

The view from the Intercontinental Hotel (15th Floor)
I also made sure that I headed to the Dubliner! (The Local) to ensure I caught at least some of the crew, and have at least two beers! I was successful in this mission, I managed to catch some of the maintenance guys - and meet up with Dominique (LMAX Round the Worlder) - I had sailed with him in the CV27 delivery to and from London in January 2015. What fun! On the Saturday, post morning breakfast-oh-my-god-I-drank-too-much-beer, I headed to the Quayside and awaited the arrivals of the day... sadly I wasn't able to get accreditation for the jetty / boats because I am NOT 15/16 crew. I was struck by just how emotional I was feeling... having been here before, (joining CV27 in 13/14 race) and getting butterflies with excitement!! It didn't hit me until I was leaving on 13th March that I was going to be arriving into Qingdao on my race in 17/18 in two years time! I don't want to give too much away in terms of the arrival routine, and activities... but, I will say... the Chinese certainly know how to make a lot of noise, and one hell of a welcome for our Clipper Sailors!

PSP Logistics arriving at Qingdao Marina
Not wanting to give too much away, I managed to get a picture of PSP arriving - as you'll see there is some pretty fireworks and they make a lot of noise! But it was great! There are also drummers on the jetty making a racket too! I didn't get pictures of these guys, but videos... which I  am unable to upload at this time (my phone is being stupid!) 
DaNang Crew on stage at their welcome ceremony
When a team arrive, there is all the logistics of getting the boat alongside, customs onboard for VISAs etc, getting crew accreditation sorted, and then navigating through the drummers to the stage... I have included a picture of the crew from DaNang below so you can see the stage! (I'm a great blogger!). As you'll see in the picture... it is quite an affair when a crew arrive into Qingdao... the crew are presented with the PRC flag and Clipper flag, placed on stage in front of the local media, VVIP's are invited to the stage, there are then speeches etc. and then more presentations. It is now the Year of the Monkey, and each crew member is given a monkey, as well as a rather nice red scarf! The Skippers however, are presented with these, and also a fabulous cloak and flag! Awesome really. After the formal ceremony is complete, the crew are taken to their reception... given food and of course... TSINGTAO BEER! I stayed with the PSP team for a while, as I had sailed with the Skipper (Max Stunnel) before. So, "hair of the dog" was in place! It was great to be made welcome! I was able to share my story with the current crew, and those joining.. I had the best time!

Some of the drummers!
This happened. 10am! CHEERS!
Once I had all the formal stuff out the way, I took some time to completely chill - and get some "I'm a tourist" pictures... these included popping to the "pier" where there is a GIANT Olympic Torch from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and a set of Olympic Rings... I also made way to the Olympic Sailing Mueseum - it was closed when I was there, but I had "seen it all before" in my last visit.. however there was a rather nice poster outside!
The poster outside the Olympic Sailing Mueseum
In all honesty, I cannot wait to get back onboard, I will be completing my Level 2 training in two weeks time in Sydney, Australia. WOOOO!

Thanks for taking a look at this page, and if you have any questions, feel free to pop along to my FACEBOOK PAGE and drop me a line!!

Near the Marina "Marina City"
Shameless Selfie! Torch/Rings

The Clipper Fleet alongside (Minus Clipper Telemed+ & Unicef)