Round the world race reaches South Africa

My Clipper Race crew have enjoyed a fantastic week in Cape Town. The weather has been mostly sunny, the locals always seem to have a smile on their faces and we came second in the Halloween team costume competition (our best result of the race so far). Plus the local restaurants always seem to serve up meals that leave you wanting more but don't cost the Earth.

But this is a city with a contrast - during a bus tour of Cape Town, we passed through the infamous District 6. That's the area where thousands of people were forcibly removed from their homes in the 1970s. The eviction was so controversial that hardly any new buildings have been put up there since and the district remains a grassy wasteland - a reminder of what happened in South African under the apartheid regime

The view of Cape Town from Table Mountain Credit: Chris Paxton

On the other hand, the view from Table Mountain is fantastic and we've had some pleasant times enjoying the beach and the sights - the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is home to a group of seals who like to play in the water or stroll on the pontoons.

A seal on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Credit: Chris Paxton

But the crews have also been hard at work, preparing the boats for the next leg of the race to Australia. The race organisers have dubbed it the Southern Ocean sleigh ride so I have made sure my thermal clothing is close to hand. But the Southern Ocean is also likely to be rougher than anything we've had before so we've taken precautions - and I'm not talking about extra sea sickness tablets. New metal handholds have been added to our kitchen so we have something to grip when the boat starts bouncing. We've also added netting to stop mugs of hot drinks flying around and put special grip tape on the floor where people are likely to slip. Objects that are loose need to be secured - I spent a few minutes velcroing a computer mouse to a desk to prevent it flying around. It feels like this race is a step-up from anything we've experienced before.

Working on the bow Credit: Chris Paxton
Repairing the sails Credit: Chris Paxton

It will take us around three weeks to get from South Africa to our destination Albany in Australia. We will then spend several weeks Down Under as the following four races all involve Australian ports.

But we have to get there first - hopefully without too much damage and some extra points to move Team Switzerland up the race leaderboard. We're currently tenth out of 12 at the moment but there are plenty of points at stake between now and the New Year.

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