GOODBYE SHANGHAI, B&Q READY TO SAIL FOR TAIWAN…
* Before reaching the start line, Ellen and her crew will face another hazardous journey along the YANGTZE RIVER: “They say ‘ignorance is bliss’ but having arrived here on Monday, we know what’s in store – it will be another tense journey for everyone…”
* LEG 5 out of 10, signifying the HALFWAY STAGE of the 4505-mile Asian Record circuit, as Ellen and the team go for record number 6 – 580 miles from Shanghai to Taipei
New records established so far:
1. Yokohama-Jeju Island 5d 11h 10m 51s (906nm)?
2. Jeju Island-Dalian 1d 15h 57m 28s (418nm) ?
3. The Manchu Record (Yokoham - Dalian) 7d 3h 18m 19s (1324nm)?
4. The Marco Polo Record (Dalian – Qingdao) 1d 0h 2m 53s (265nm)?
5. The Cotton Record (Qingdao – Shanghai) 1d 5h 25m 33s (308nm)
Shanghai has lived up to its reputation in every way – its big, bustling and booming! “Just coming up the Yangtze River, the scale of everything was huge – massive barges, dry docks, travel hoists that can lift ships, high-rise towers – all revealing the scale of this city and its industry. We have been here four days and the city never sleeps – it is bustling place with an endless energy,” said Ellen. Since arriving at China’s largest city and financial heartland, the team have had little respite after the toughest leg of the tour so far from the north-eastern port of Qingdao in dense fog and heavy shipping. On land, Ellen and the team have faced a mass of media interest, attended a 400-guest charity gala dinner and tomorrow Ellen is set to visit Shanghai’s B&Q store, the first B&Q store to open in China in 1999, as well as giving a talk at a local school. Today, the team took a well-deserved day off – the first ‘lay’ day of the eight-week circuit that began on 25th March.
After this five-day stopover, B&Q is scheduled to leave Shanghai this Sunday (16/04/06) on Leg 5 to Taipei, Taiwan – the finish of the next 580-mile leg signifies the halfway stage of the Asian Record Circuit - as the crew aim to establish record number six out of a possible 12. The latest record attempt is named ‘The Old Tea Record’ in memory of the Clipper ships that sailed south between mainland China and Taiwan laden with tea and other ‘exotic’ Oriental products. This route took the ships from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean homeward bound for Europe.
Following B&Q’s 21-hour long hazardous journey from the mouth of the Yangtze River to the dock in Shanghai earlier this week, Ellen and the crew will be hoping for an uncomplicated exit to the start line on Sunday. “We will literally release our mooring lines bit by bit until we are clear of the dock, then let go! The pilot boats will be there to guide us out again. It should be slightly less stressful compared to the way in but you can’t help but feel tense when there is that much traffic around the boat. Once offshore we hope to be clear of the busy waters but sailing here is so unfamiliar, and one thing we’ve learnt is to expect the unexpected!”
Once across the start line on Sunday, B&Q will take a SSE course towards the Japanese island of Ishigaki that lies approximately 140 miles east of Taiwan, where the crew must stop to clear customs before entering Taiwanese waters. Since Taiwan claimed independence after the Communist victory in mainland China in 1949, an uneasy relationship has existed. A repercussion of this is that there is no direct navigational route between mainland China and Taiwan, and all shipping must clear customs in Japanese waters before entering Taiwan. The boat’s Project Manager, Oli Allard, is flying to the island to join the customs boat that will rendezvous with the trimaran and transfer the necessary paperwork. It is hoped this transaction will take less than two hours. [The time required to stop to clear customs will be deducted from the elapsed time on this leg.]
Commanders’ Weather have indicated that weather conditions are looking good for this leg, providing reaching conditions to Ishigaki and more downwind to Taiwan. However, the team will wait for the final weather update before revising their target time, currently standing at three days, 48-24hrs before departure. April has the highest recorded wind speeds of the year in Taipei and, although averages are around 10 knots, the highest recorded speed is 50 knots!
On arrival, B&Q wiil be docked at Pisha Harbour, east of Keelung port on the north coast of Taiwan.
16-18 April ?Leg 5: Shanghai to Taipei
19-20 April ?Stopover: Taipei
21-23 April ?Leg 6: Taipei to Hong Kong
24-30 April ?Stopover: Hong Kong
1-7 May ?Leg 7: Hong Kong to Sanya (Hainan Island)
Leg 8: Sanya to Nha Trang, Vietnam
Leg 9: Nha Trang to Terengganu, Malaysia
8- 11 May ?Stopover: Terengganu
11-12 May ?Leg 10: Terengganu to Singapore
13-17 May ?Stopover: Singapore
The trimaran will return to the UK onboard a CMA-CGM container ship departing Singapore on 23rd May. (The above itinerary may be subject to change due to weather conditions in the locality, and logistical requirements)