Thursday, September 03, 2015

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - start....

Bit of a double post this one as it first appeared on the sailing blog (for obvious reasons), but it does also fit here, if only for the quantities of beer drunk on the day, and the historical setting..

Anyway - those of you who have read this drivel for some time may know that my bother in law works for Robin Knox Johnston's Clipper Round the World Yacht Race organisation [clicky], and as another race has just started, managed to rummage up tickets (again) for the official start which was once again in London, for me, the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer, and my sister..  top bloke!

The boats congregate at St Katherine's Dock, which makes the best starting point for the race that you can possibly think of, with a backdrop of the old East India warehouses, Tower Bridge, and the the Tower of London all competing with the colour of the yachts - it truly is a spectacular sight..

Arranged to meet my sister at the Dean Swift [clicky] beforehand, surely one of the finest pubs in Christendom (certainly one of my top 5 of all time), where over an extended and leisurely lunch (very nice home cooked Scotch egg) I worked my way along the four hand pumps, not a duff one amongst them with only the "Pale Ale" by Redemption not quite hitting the 'exciting' button (apologies for the blur - camera phone and dark bar..)

The spectator boats were due to go at about 2:30, and unlike last year were leaving from the St. Katherine's side so a brisk walk across Tower Bridge ensued; big crowds watching the yachts which even then were beginning to filter onto the river.

The spectator boats were also smaller than the pretend Mississippi river steamer we were on last time - a huge improvement - the skippers were more adventurous so went much closer to the fleet than last year, they also went further down river as this time we went well beyond the Thames Barrier (a first for me, and a chance to have a close up look).

I love the Thames - so much to see, so many reminders of how stupidly busy it must once have been - the track shows that basically we went the length of what was called the Pool of London - the dry docks are all still there (mostly marina's or residential housing complexes now though) and the warehouses have been turned into accommodation, but how powerful were the East India Company once...?! Astonishing...

Loads of pictures taken:

...then three hours later (or so) after a hugely entertaining afternoon on the water we wended our way home - a brilliant day..

A GPS track for the return trip follows:

Good luck to the teams in the race..!

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