After making their way through the famous Panama Canal the ten identical 68-foot yachts competing in the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race started the 2,100 mile stage to New York Monday night.
The fleet left San Francisco Bay in this US coast-to-coast leg on April 14. It has made its way through the famous Panama Canal over the last week and is now truly back in its home strait on the Atlantic Ocean, having already conquered nearly 35,000 miles at sea.
The start line was set 60 miles from the coast of Panama. At 2330 UTC Race 11 got underway, as nominated lead skipper Richard Hewson from Gold Coast Australia set a “Le Mans” start. Here all ten Clipper Race entries line up alongside each other and crew race to hoist their headsails in the fastest possible time.
While Welcome to Yorkshire managed to hoist and fully power up the Yankee 1 and staysail in 1 minute 37 seconds, Qingdao suffered from a winch jam at the wrong moment. Both Australian entries had a tussle with Gold Coast Australia currently ahead of Geraldton Western Australia.
Tasmanian Richard Hewson said, “As the sun neared the horizon, Gold Coast Australia fired the ten minute gun and the yachts lined up for a Le Mans start, which basically lines all the yachts up on a bearing, sailing a specific course. After the start, yachts must maintain their course for ten minutes before changing their sail plan. Our boat appeared to accelerate faster than the other yachts around her and we focused on sail trim to optimize our speed as we worked hard to get ahead of the fleet and into clear wind before nightfall.”
The Clipper Race fleet is now on a one-sided upwind battle north, leaving Jamaica on the port side before heading into lighter winds near the Windward Passage which marks the exit from the Caribbean Sea into the Atlantic Ocean.
For the latest news and to track the fleet, go to www.clipperroundtheworld.com.