Clipper yachts depart Seattle
THE Clipper Around the World race tracker has the fleet stationary in Seattle harbour ... for now.
Later today the fleet will slip their lines and set their sails for the start of Leg 7, which will see the crews arrive in Panama before embarking on the final leg that will see the fleet home to London after 40,000 nautical miles and 11 months at sea.
The stopover in Seattle allowed crews to shake off the horrendous crossing on the North Pacific Ocean, which claimed the life of Sarah Young and caused Da nang Vietnam to retire from the final race in Leg 6.
Australian skipper Wendy Tuck, when arriving via motor sail at Seattle, was relieved to get her feet back on terra firma.
“It feels fantastic to be here. We always knew it would be a tough and long leg. For the first two weeks, we were still awfully close with the other teams, and then it just comes down to crew work. Then, people started getting torn muscles and other injuries, and we had to put the brakes on a little bit and started dropping back in the fleet,” she said.
Race 10 will head back out into the vast Pacific Ocean en route to Panama.
While the fleet leave the city of Seattle, the talk will be of tactics – inshore or offshore? The inshore current can give a decent ride but, with the land close by, fickle winds affected by night and day temperatures can provide an unpredictable breeze. Further offshore, the current can’t help you but more consistent winds can. A poor tactical decision could cost you the race, even at this early stage.
Central America typically brings high temperatures and light winds and will be a real test of the yachtsman’s racing skill but also will provide respite from the unforgiving North Pacific Ocean.
CLIPPER FOUNDER: Sir Robert Knox Johnston is the founder of the Clipper Around the World yacht race.