Leg 4, Race 5 - 18th January – The finish!

As predicted, around 3am we crossed the official finish line to Race 5. Technically in 6th position but with Finland behind having stopped to transfer Cork's skipper onto Qingdao at what was now becoming known as “Cork Island”, we were pretty sure we'd end up in 7th. Our worst result so far and no points from the scoring gate either. We are all a bit disappointed, however we know we raced hard, worked the boat hard and learned a huge amount – particularly about light wind sailing and how to get the most out of our kites. As and when we come across those conditions again we'll be more on top of our game.

Once across the finish line we sailed hard up through the Singapore straights, with bright lights from the hundreds of boats there either side mingling with the distant glow that told us land was not far away. We arrived in to Nongsa Marina in the dark, but still to a great welcome from some of the other crew that were around, the Clipper team and the locals who presented us with garlands of orchids which we proudly wore around our neck as we took our first swigs of the long awaited ice-cold beer!
The marina is in a completely idyllic setting in a small bay surrounded by tropical forest and small, crescent shaped sandy beaches – all lit by a warm welcome of orange light. The glow was reflected on my inside as I tried to take in the magic of the setting and the fact that I had now sailed well over 10,000 miles to be here. After the official photos, we were all ushered to the bar – which was right by the outdoor pool, guarded by palm trees and tropical shrubbery.
Despite the fact it was indeed around 5am, some of the other crews that had got in before us were still there partying and we joined in with great H&H gusto.  There followed several hours of arrival beers, slightly dodgy games of pool and then the party seemed to culminate in a mass jump into the pool in our underwear (no-one had swimmers on), where sensible games ensued like “let's build a human pyramid” (everyone knows this is easy – especially after 4 or 5 beers!)!  Around 8.30 – after breakfast  people started sloping of to either get a couple of hours kip before the deep-clean or to go and sort hotel rooms out. I decided in my very sober state (not) that a walk along the beach would be a very good idea. However the day was already hot, so I found a comfortable rock on which to sit and admire the view of the island... and woke up an hour and a half later wondering where the hell I was!!!