Hot Hot Hot

Would you like a sauna?

If so, I would highly recommend signing up to Leg 7 of the race. Over the last 4 days or so, the temperature below deck feels like it’s increased to what can only be described as a sauna, and quite frankly not a particularly pleasant one. I don’t even like saunas! The heat and stickiness is relentless, meaning that the entire crew are short on sleep, despite the whir of personal fans on in the bunks. Shade on deck is non-existent, but we all seem to be good at slathering ourselves in suntan lotion, I haven’t resembled a possum yet, progress!

The day watches, well lets just say by the end of each shift, everyone is exhausted and slightly tetchy, tempers fraying especially when we keep going through wind holes. In such light winds, you have to keep trying everything you can to keep moving, so it’s Code 1 down, Windseeker up, main down… and then repeat, several times. (I “may” have uttered numerous expletives to JB when he asked us to get the main back up, 15 minutes after we took it down) By the end of the shift, you are mentally & physically shattered, and you know you aren’t going to get much rest below. Who would have thought we’d look forward to the night watches so much. Don’t panic readers, we’re still mostly laughing & having fun… JoJo’s night-time disco is a regular feature on the watches.

Last night we were treated to a blood moon eclipse. WOW. Starboard watch was fortunate to be on watch when we got the moonrise and the eclipse. The moon was incredibly large during its rise, with a slight red tinge and then once it had risen, we watched the eclipse happen, eerily beautiful. And anyone who knows me knows how excited I get watching bioluminescence, trailing off the back of the boat. Last night we got DISCO BIOLUMINESCENCE, did you know that was a thing? I didn’t! Patches of water around up started pulsing with light for a good half hour, absolutely magical.

We can see Mexico on our port side and are currently coming down the turtle highway (Finding Nemo fans, you will know what I mean) and we’ve seen quite a few of them, quite often bobbing alongside us in the water and who seem to like giving us a wave with a fin. The Boobies are now only perching on our bowsprit, Skipper finally decided he didn’t want a poopy stern so he proceeded to chase them off with the tuna. Bizarrely they haven’t come back but cleaning it down did at least give Skipper something to do and kept him from getting the crew to do yet another sail change.

With that people, time for comedy dinner courtesy of the Brigadier Brian & Cabin Boy Johnny,

Stay safe, JoJo

Week 2!

Well another week has passed and I’ve struggled to find time to blog. Yesterday was Mother Watch so I had my first proper wash and managed to wash my hair, which was bliss, and there’s a few hours before I’m back on watch – we’ve gone from freezing cold in foulies to shorts and tee’s.

We have two watches on board, Port & Starboard. I’m on Port with Vince, James, Kirsten, Brian, Fran and on Starboard you have Brooke, Gill, Richard, Mike, Johnny & Annette. Rob our skipper and JB (Johnny) our first mate switch it up between the two. We’re a little light of a full contingent so a lot less active sail trim than I’m used to, but we’re a boat that at least let’s everyone do everything.

Catering Corps Vince (VP) has promoted Brian to Brigadier Brains, although Catering seems to like wandering around in pants on a daily basis, we haven’t figured out if the snoring or pants is funnier!

Helming is something that I really wanted to get to grips with on the race as back home it’s not something you get to do much of unless you own a boat. After my little crash gybe the other night I was somewhat reticent to get back on the helm, but with the supportive pushing from Brains (who seems to know when to push me), I got back on the helm during the day… average of 16-22knots, building to 33. Back home that would be considered quite a breeze and we wouldn’t really go out, here it’s just a good breeze. It appears that I have a helming monologue – lots of muttering and cursing, Fran has competition!

Seem to of largely cracked the surfing too, depending on the waves and wind (with the surf here you get a lot of random sideways rogue waves) you can round up or down at the bottom of a wave. Figuring out how much of a helm twitch to make to keep you on course, is a skill… but when you get it right, it’s bloody marvellous… I will admit to much cackling and whooping whilst helming that day! Feeling more in control and knowing what to do, meant that Brian decided I needed to get back on. At night. With the code 3 up.

Accidental gybing terrifies me, especially when you have 13 other people on onboard, but with the quiet talking from Brian behind me, helping me to identify stars to helm by, I did it… felt much happier with things and much more confident. I won’t make a race skipper anytime soon, but getting more confident in knowing what to do and when, no matter how intense it is.

We’ve had all sorts of wildlife, finally! Orcas, boobies (brown-footed, blue-footed and another type that I can’t recall) and of course never enough dolphins. There was an amazing display from them last night, leaping in the distance playing as the sun set. We’ve had another halo, amazing sunset and sunrises,  moon rises and sets, and stars… stunning stars, planets and shooting stars… can’t do justice to the colours, nor how much they all make me smile. Almost forgot, the flying squid! Vince wanted to cook one up, but persuaded him to liberate it, shortly afterwards I got hit by one, which Annette discovered the next day… definitely not cooking material that one.

Finally got some wind after the current drift in the last 24 hours which is awesome, down below is still like a cheap sauna however, thank god for the USB fan! We have 5 possible finish gates as it’s looking like due to the wind holes we will get a shortened race. Trying not to think of our position. We’ve got a few more races to do yet before homecoming!

Shenanigans being discussed for when we get to Panama, involving alcohol of course, as long as Vince keeps his clothes on it should be good!

Hope you’re all safe & well back home, JoJo x

Clipper First Week

Hard to believe it’s been just over a week since we set sail… the boat and crew are all getting into a groove. My original intent had been to blog daily, however the sea state hasn’t been conducive to sitting below focused on typing. I need to get better at that, if nothing else to try to remember all the cool stuff…

Weekly summary:
Le Mans start – first over the line, however we kept the Yankee and Staysails up longer than the others, and also didn’t have on deck like rest of fleet, so took us a while to sort that out, and we then dropped right to back of fleet. The first race day was a bit odd as the day watches all got mixed up. We got some good pics and vids (to be uploaded when we get signal again!)

We got the Code 1 up eventually, for all of several hours, at which point it kind of went kaput, ripped from the head all down to the clew, thankfully on the tape line, so it’s now going to dry. That’s when most of the boat started feeling ill. I couldn’t stand up without throwing up due to a very mixed sea state, more like washing machine, so didn’t eat yesterday have just managed small amount of pasta. I couldn’t move from the galley bench, layered up but couldn’t move to the deck, sorry guys. Whacked a seasick patch on before going to sleep so feeling much better now. Overall the sea state settled tons so everyone’s feeling much better, although still not 100%. TMI warning -urine less cola coloured and more treacle now, it appears discussion on your wee colour is normal whilst at sea😂 The team dynamics are a lot better now at sea, which is fab. The very expensive clipper diet is working!


The mixed sea state continued for a few days, and on board we have a 6 day rotation of jobs: bilges, navigation/engineer, heads, deck, mother & cleaning. Of course I got the emptying bilges in the mixed sea state. Which when you’re laying on your stomach, with your head in the bilges trying to get all the water out, not good. It was a case of empty a bilge, throw up, lay down for 5 mins before moving to the next one. We have 8 bilges to empty -fun fun fun. I’m painting a glamorous picture right?


I’ve been doing some helming, with coaching from Brian (thanks Brains)!! Did try at night, but managed to crash the gybe in mixed sea and wind state, got it back, but it’s one of my biggest fears, can’t let that put me off though. JB (our awesome first mate) and I have agreed he’s going to get me back on and do more coaching during the day, big girl pants on. I’m learning a lot more about wind, apparent v true, very cool and James is going to start showing me sail stuff & rope work, whipping ropes etc. Which is all stuff I’m really keen to learn…


Each day is the same, yet at the same time each are very different. We’ve had pods of whales, dolphins during the day and at night, the night dolphins stayed with us for over an hour, playing alongside us in the bioluminescence and squeaking constantly. Fran & I were whistling so clearly we now think we were communicating with the dolphins. Tons of birds here too, a lot of albatrosses, the brown footed variety apparently! (Jess, who’s editing these for me, thinks that birds with a 2 metre wingspan are very scary and shouldn’t be allowed)


We saw a really cool thing the other day, a 22 degree halo. That’s when ice crystals form and you get a rainbow around the sun. It was perfectly formed, and we’ve all got some amazing pictures of it circling the top of the mast.


The wind picked up massively in the last few days. We put up the Code 2 as we have proper North Pacific wind and waves, so we we were rocking an a rolling for a few days, tearing along, eating up the miles. When in the middle of the night/sleep time for me last night we got an “all hands on deck”, when you wake from sleep for them there’s a panic as your getting clothes and life jacket on that it’s a man overboard, thankfully confirmed it was just hands on. We get to deck to find our Code 2 had also decided to attempt swimming, but had also had a tussle with the halyard, spreaders and everything else that it deemed was in its way before swimming. Head had split in two. Took us about an hour to get the damn thing back on board. James is just starting to try to repair code 2 so we can get a kite back up. Unfortunately needs a sail shop repair, from reading some of the other boats, a fair few have damaged kites.


We’re now just past the California border into Mexico. Another few weeks to go, and we know we’re at the back. The tactics to head out and get the better westerly wind before the others didn’t pan out quite as expected, which is frustrating, but we’ve just been told it’s only 70 miles to the boat Zhuhai so, fingers crossed we can keep eating the miles up and close down the gap. (Jess note: since Jojo sent the email, there’s now only 50 miles to Zhuhai, so they’re doing amazing at catching up!)


Time to dash, pot noodles for lunch before heading up to deck for my shift.

Hope you’re all well, luv n hugs
JoJo x

It’s finally happening…

Wow… what a week…

For those of you that have me on Facebook, you‘ll know that I landed in Seattle end of last week…. I signed up for Clipper almost 4 years ago now and thanks to that pesky covid thing, our 19/20 race got postponed… a few false starts, meant that a lot of the original excitement had waned, added onto that the fact that when it did get the go ahead, my original visa had expired… I had managed to get an appointment but then got stuck in St Maarten as I’d caught covid during the Heineken Regatta… sounds wonderful right? Hahaha not when your stuck indoors alone within viewing distance of the beach… due to their regulations, I had to quarantine for a week meaning I would miss my appointment… arghhhh! Thankfully was able to get an appointment in Belfast… where the lovely guys gave me a B1/2 and D crew visa (as I fly in, but out by boat unfortunately an ESTA doesn’t cut it) thankfully for 10 years (heads up if anyone needs someone with a US crew visa, I’m good for a few years now!)

The week started off pretty full on, met up with a few fellow clipper ladies at the airport and shared a cab to our apartments… then got to hang out with Shawna & Jewels for the weekend. I met Shawna at Heineken this year racing on Panacea with Sea to Sky sailing… When we got chatting, we realised we had a mutual friend in Seattle – my original crazy arsed American Sailing Unicorn Lizzy…. An absolutely wonderful crazy funny weekend drinking rather a lot of Prosecco, wine and a disco ball margarita 😂 Best day ever at a drag brunch, and a mad into the early hours boat party on Saga (shout out to Tom & Kersten) and to Shawna & Jewels for driving down from Canada to spend a weekend with a girl only one of them had met a few weeks ago… sailors rock!

The boats were all due in on Sunday… so rather fuzzily rocked up to cheer the guys in from 7.30am… Dan who is the new WTC Logistics skipper, won the race & whilst I was gutted we didn’t get a podium, super chuft for him… spent the entire day on the arm cheering the boats in, shouting myself hoarse and getting an impressive sunburnt aka possum nose…. Will admit to getting a bit emotional when Imagine your Korea came in…

I will admit to being surprised at the team, some I barely recognised… short handed, 36 days at sea, crossing the pacific, meant they were all exhausted and a little broken and a lot of weight had been lost, almost shell shocked… big smiles all round when they had finally docked & had finished with the media faff… was fab to see them all, most of whom I hadn’t seen for 3 years…

And then I guess things started to sink in, this thing was finally going to happen! As I said, it’s been a full of week…. ALOT of maintenance was needed, nothing serious but all fiddly and time consuming… and both Brooke & I have been getting stuck in as much as possible, trying to help out and take some of the load off the guys…. Hopefully we’ve helped more than hindered… Not sure I wanna service nearly 25 lifejackets again though, my nails are screwed… will try an remember to video it next time so you can all see how fiddly and time consuming it is!

Yesterday was refresher training for Brooke, Vince, Mike and myself. Surprisingly seems I remembered alot more of the clipper way of doing things than I thought…. Need to slow down a bit more, remember to focus on winch work (loads on the winches are alot more than I normally have so things have to be done a little differently), marathon not a sprint! But pleased to say we all passed… so we can definitely join the race 😂

Johnny, Fran & Vincent have been doing the victualling… aka buying all the provisions… something I really wanted to get involved in but just way too many others things needing to be done… Helped out with sail repairs with the rep from Hyde sails, learnt lots and today was spent doing the media brief then the boat brief and then a more focused safety brief, before finally starting to work on the jammers… fiddly, time consuming, generating a fair few expletives 😂 we have to take the jammers apart to clean them, so that they grip the ropes, check there isn’t any damage and then reassemble… taking apart is easy… putting back together is super annoying & fiddly.. rather choice words were being uttered by me through the afternoon 😉 but pleased to report that they have all been serviced, put back together an double checked…

I mentioned media briefing… Brooke & I got collared by our skipper Rob (who’s bloody awesome!) saying he’d heard that we were quite media savvy…. Both of us started laughing as we had already figured out we would get asked to be media points… so we get the cameras and the responsibility for ensuring we do AT least 3 boat blogs per week… if you go to clipperroundtherace.com, and go to teams, imagine your Korea you can see the boat blogs we’ll be writing and getting the team to too… hopefully as well as some media…

Brooke and I had plans for a really quiet and early night… however after we finally got off the boat, got my boat email account sorted, had dinner, chucked our stuff into bags, got the final bits of washing on. It’s now 11.25pm, I’m waiting for the drying to finish… writing this… trying to settle the nerves for our docking off tomorrow.

It’s going to take me a few days to get into the sailing groove I suspect, body an sleep management… but I’ll be trying to do a few blogs a week at least… if nothing else as a way to remember everything that’s happened.

So, with that y’all stay safe, don’t do anything I wouldn’t…

About me

Hey,

I guess I should say welcome – if you’re here, well it’s for one of two reasons:

1. You know me & have followed the link

OR

2. You’ve searched, are a little intrigued and have decided to come along and have a read

For those of you who don’t know me, my names Jo (also known as JoJo, Josie, JDubs or Joanne). If you’re interested in personality types, I’m an ENFJ – extreme E (no real surprise there)!!

I’m incredibly sarcastic, I swear too much, I’m a big kid, I wear my heart on my sleeve, I like making people laugh, I’m extremely competitive, I’m always playing music (can usually be found dancing & singing round the house, car and in my chair!!) Oh and most definitely not perfect 😉

I’m a daughter, a big sister, an aunty and a mum (I’m also mumma hoooman to a very needy/affectionate/annoying and sometimes bitey cat!)

I work for a (rather awesome) BPM/CRM Software Company as a Business Architect (check us out at http://www.pega.com) – and no that doesn’t mean I’m an actual “architect” in the traditional sense of the word (nothing quite as tangible as a building).

All it really means is that I act as the bridge between Business & Tech – a bit of a jack of all trades; solution design, analysis (lots of that), project & relationship management, delivery and a bit of training… I get to work with different clients helping them to implement our software – turns out it’s kinda my dream company and job!! 🙂

I guess you could say I’ve had one of those “moments”. I’m just about to turn 39 and hitting the big 4.0 next year  😦  It’s given me the proverbial kick up the arse (amongst other things!!)  Made me look at myself, my life, all of the things I have achieved and all of the things I’ve always wanted to yet always thought were out of my reach or were put on hold for various reasons.

Nothing wrong with being a dreamer (keeps most of us going & sane) but sometimes you gotta make the dream a reality… something, that somehow along the way I’d forgotten.

Maybe this is my mid-life crisis, maybe I’m just reverting or rediscovering the old me. Maybe I just want to do something completely crazy (this definitely beats some of the other crazy fuck it things I’ve done in my life!!) who knows… All I do know is that I want to make this crazy baked idea, my new reality…

Hopefully you’ll enjoy the journey; I know I’m going to 😉

Mwahhhhh x

PS: I’ve been writing this since Sept/Oct – just taken me a while to get it set up properly 😉