At sea. Asian Record Circuit: Ellen MacArthur and B&Q sailing through rough water to Hong Kong Print E-mail
Friday, 21 April 2006
Team Ellen:

Finally finding the time to send an email back to shore after a whistle-stop tour of Taipei, Ellen gives the inside track of the 14 hours spent on land before heading off in rough waters to Hong Kong on the start of Leg 6...

From Ellen onboard B&Q [2100 GMT]:

Well, what a contrast - what a 24 hours.... Just 24 hours ago we were crossing the line of the last leg, after a long, tiring and frustrating last leg. We arrived in Taipei around 4 am, and to our surprise there were at least 30 people there from B&Q to welcome us in - it was fantastic. We had fire crackers and flares, and more smiling faces than you could imagine - never did we think that people would have been up at that time - shouldn't they have been in bed! We got to our hotel shortly before sunrise where we were able to grab a bath (which was fairly necessary), and climb briefly into bed. The day then begun at 9 am with a few speeches down by the boat, and the decision not to take our guests sailing at 10 was taken - the wind was pretty strong, and the waves at the entrance not very appealing. The guests who should have been sailing would have had a fairly nasty experience. We did however replace the sailing with chat's onboard, winch grinding competitions, tours of the tiny cabin of B&Q and as everyone always does - bounces on the tramopoline! There was just time to have a cup of tea in the hotel room and empty it before quickly visiting a number of guests on board, and heading into Tapei for the B&Q store visit and press conference. It was incredibly friendly, and Marius, the Taiwan B&Q manager, gave us a history of Taiwan as we drove the 45 mins into town. The staff of B&Q were incredibly friendly and very welcoming, and though the visit was brief we had a warm welcome. Then onto the press conference, which was the last thing we did before leaving. That was surreal - in a big hotel, with a huge room all decorated with 3 metre high display boards. There was a screen at the front, which I ended up walking through as I was announced after a great 2 min video that they had made of our arrival early that morning. It was very odd, and at its close Kate, I, Evangeline and Shaun where all whisked back to the port to slip the lines and leave.

As we left the breakwater we motored into a massive swell, which was pretty uncomfortable and poor B&Q slammed her floats - one then the other – into the huge rolling waves. The juddering was terrible, and it was a relief to turn away from the wind a little to calm things down to start our sixth leg of this unbelievable journey.

So I'm sitting here at the chart table, and dawn is about to break. Since we left Taipei 6 hours ago we have done seven sail changes, so there has been only broken sleep in the cuddy on my part, and as we sailed through the roughest and most cauldron-like water we've seen in a long time, it was not such relaxing dozing! We had our faces lit up with a sea of spray covered in phosphoresence . One incredible image I shall never forget was Charlie ducking into the cuddy to avoid a wave – and the wave breaking over the cuddy window above him full of sparkling green dots. It made him almost look holy! Incredible.

We have had gusts of 35 knots of wind, and now we have just 9 knots as we try to slide inside the island - we are suprised at how little traffic there is here - though we know that that's only for now!!

So life goes on, this leg is likely to take a few days - our current ETA is to arrive in Hong Kong on Sunday sometime. The sun is not far from rising so I shall pop outside before getting my head down.

20 Apr 2006 // 23:01 update:

Winds ease as B&Q head south-west along west coast of Taiwan en route to Hong Kong. Wind the winds coming from just north of east at around 6 knots, B&Q's speed has dropped to just under 6 knots compared to the 17 knots they were making at 1900 GMT this evening. Ellen sends her first email back from this leg that began before miday [GMT] today describing the short 14-hour pitstop in Taipei and the fantastic welcome given to them there and the rough seas they faced on their departure on this leg to Hong Kong.
Last Updated ( Friday, 21 April 2006 )
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