Smooth sailing for Kathy Hall

AT THE HELM: Newcastle sailor Kathy Hall in action aboard yacht PSP Logistics during a leg of the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race, which left from London.AS she prepared to sail into the South China Sea on the latest leg of a round-the-world yacht race, Newcastle’s Kathy Hall was just thankful to be off pirate watch.

When the 40,000-mile Clipper Round the World Yacht Race docked in Singapore last week, the 54-year-old grandmother spoke of the relief of getting through the pirate-infested waters off the Philippines.

‘‘Going through the Philippines around Mindanao, where we had to be on pirate watch, was a bit of a concern,’’ she said.

‘‘Thankfully, we got through and it was great to get back on land in Singapore.’’

While the threat of piracy was behind Hall and her crew, she said below-zero temperatures and treacherous seas presented new challenges en route to their next stop at the Chinese city of Qingdao.

‘‘It’s going to be really rough conditions heading up, particularly past Taiwan,’’ she said.

‘‘We’ll be banging about into a headwind and I believe there is massive seas up there, so it will be very interesting.

‘‘We’ve been through the Southern Ocean where we went through a couple of hurricanes, so we’re not unused to difficult conditions, but this will be a little different.’’

Hall is a crew member aboard yacht PSP Logistics, which departed London in September last year and has since sailed more than 40,000kilometres – just over half of the round-the-world voyage.

After reaching China, Hall will face another difficult leg to San Francisco, before crossing the Atlantic Ocean and returning to London in mid-July.

‘‘I’d say the trip across the North Pacific will be our biggest challenge remaining and then after that, it should become a little bit more cruisy, hopefully,’’ she said.

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