Come aboard to experience crossing the equator in Leg 5 of the 2019-2020 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Click on the video image below to watch and don’t forget to click the “thumbs up” button and subscribe to the channel if you are enjoying the videos!

It is now race day 10, days at sea 12 and we are approaching the equator, crossing from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere. There would be another wind hole and wind shift that would slow our progress north.

While sitting becalmed in water 15,000 feet deep, we came across a sea turtle that decided to check out our boat. What an amazing experience to see “Crush” in real life, although we were already well out of the EAC by then.

Finally! We crossed the equator the next day on February 1, 2020 at 0503 local time. Since it was dark out we didn’t see the concessionaires hawking their equator crossing t-shirts and other memorabilia.

The occasion will be etched in our memories as later that day our pollywog crew (term given to sailors who have not crossed the equator) would have to attend King Neptune’s Court. Upon completion of this ceremony they would become a shellback.

The arrival of King Neptune, played by our Round the World crew member and bosun Paul Widdowson.

A maritime tradition for hundreds of years, the equator crossing ceremony is a chance for pollywog’s to confess their “boat” sins. Upon the completion of the confessions, pollywog’s must then have a bite of a special mix made up in the galley. This concoction is then placed on the head of and body of the pollywog. After which, King Neptune reads a decree and pollywogs have successfully become shellbacks.

Our version was lighthearted and all those participating (voluntarily I might add) enjoyed the experience. The event finished with the skipper turning on the fire pump and hosing down all the new shellbacks on the aft deck. This was the quickest way to get clean. What an experience!

If you were wondering if I partook in this ceremony, I am already a shellback. I crossed the equator in 2008 aboard the Training Ship Golden Bear. Let’s just say, what happens on the boat, stays on the boat.

We would continue sailing north as race finish was still some 2,700 nautical miles away.

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Next week we go Bellow Deck! And experience what it is like to be on Mother Watch. You don’t want to miss it!

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