Follow the fortunes of IPC publisher-turned-journalist Jessica Daw as she completes in the Salvador–New York leg of The Times Clipper Race 2000

Months of anxious waiting have come to an end, well almost?

I arrived in Salvador at lunchtime on Friday expecting to meet all the crew of Liverpool Clipper and to get on board straight away. But there are only seven identical yachts (bar their branding) where there should be eight, berthed in the state run Centro Nautico.

Liverpool Clipper is currently out of the water having some routine maintenance on the rudder bearing. Colin de Mowbray, Race Director for The Times Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, told me that all the yachts will have similar work done after the race but there was an opportunity to work on Liverpool during the Brazilian stopover.

As I write on Saturday morning she remains out of the water but with all the provisions due to arrive this afternoon, she will have to go back in soon. Previously named Antiope during the ’98 race, in which she came second, Liverpool Clipper is the yacht which saw me safely through the training last April in the Canaries – it feels like a good omen to be allocated to this yacht for the 3,000-plus miles to New York.

So I have yet to look over the boat but I have been well looked over by all of the crew!

It seems that the arrival of a Yachting World journalist came as a surprise to all but the skipper of Liverpool Clipper. It soon became clear that their enthusiasm to welcome me has more to do with the fact the with a total of 13 on board, we will be able luxuriate in a three watch system rather than two which means longer periods for sleeping for everyone.

As a legger with no boat to familiarise myself with and, as a result, a crew that have scattered, there’s little to do but hang about the marina or take in the sites and sounds of Salvador. It is said that the city has 365 churches, one for every day of the year. Most of the interesting buildings are situated in Pelourinho, the Old Town, which is easily reached from the Centro Nautico by taking the Elevador – a rather run down looking lift which links the lower parts of town with Pelourinho situated on the top of the escarpment.

For what amounts to a few pence you can ride the elevator, taking care not to attract the attention of the many petty thieves who prey on unsuspecting tourists.

But with my impending adventure always front of mind, it’s hard to absorb much of what is obviously a colourful and culturally varied city and at any other time would keep me fascinated for several weeks. However my thoughts keep turning to the matter at hand: How will I manage during this leg of the race, with little experience of ocean racing and facing three weeks of living in close proximity to 12 complete strangers?

Time will tell.

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