Clipper Race: Southbound to Panama

Published on April 28th, 2016

Seattle, WA (April 28, 2016) – The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race crews set out today into the North Pacific Ocean to start Race 10, the PSP Logistics Panama Cup.

After motorsailing the 120 nautical miles to the official race start location overnight, the fleet will have a Le Mans start at 1500 local time on Friday April 29 near Tattoosh Island.

The race from Seattle to Panama is 4208 nautical miles long, with the big question to be whether to take the inshore or offshore route. The Californian current flows south, but the helping hand this gives the fleet can be counteracted by heating effects from the North American land mass which might change the winds unfavorably.

The race down to the coast of Mexico should be a fast one but as the breeze becomes lighter, the racing becomes more intense. Conditions near the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone – or Doldrums) could decide the final finishing positions.

The fleet will finish off Panama on the Pacific Ocean side before transiting the 41 nautical miles of the canal, before beginning Race 11 to New York on the Atlantic Ocean side.

“The race will be very changeable, and it’s certainly a long one again,” said Huw Fernie, Skipper of Visit Seattle. “While the first part of the race should be fast, the winds will gets lighter and lighter the closer we get to Panama, which will present some tactical challenges.”

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Background: The 40,000 mile Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race began in London, UK on August 30 for the fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The series is divided into 16 individual races, with the team with the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew.

The ports along the race route are Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; Albany, Sydney, Hobart and Airlie Beach, Australia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Qingdao, China; Seattle, USA; Panama; New York, USA; Derry-Londonderry, Ireland; and Den Helder, Netherlands before returning to London by late July.

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