Qingdao to California
Ten months, 35,000 miles of ocean racing and around 400 people facing the challenge of a lifetime. When the starting gun goes off for the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race on 13 September 2009 the fleet of ten sleek, stripped down 68-foot yachts will embark on a full circumnavigation of the globe.
This fifth leg is the longest individual race of Clipper 09-10 and the crews will be at sea for approximately 35 days. Five weeks living and working in the same 68-foot space as 17 other people as they race across the Pacific Ocean, the biggest expanse of water on the planet.
The day the Clipper 07-08 fleet left Qingdao it snowed. It will be a chilly start to Leg 5 and, in addition to the possibility of snow and ice, fog and fishing boats are a certainty. As the boats race towards the south of Japan they will remain quite tightly bunched but, as you enter the Pacific, tactics once again come into play as skippers and crews are faced with the old dilemma; shortest, warmest route risking light airs, or stay north where it will be colder but the winds stronger.
The real race track:
Racing against 77,000+ virtual racers simulating the real race is my fantasy boat, Vigilance. I am now in 1,533rd place.
The highest I have sailed was 936th. My personal goal in this leg is to finish in three digits - under 1,000.
I had to resort to auto helm this morning in order to spend the day running a real race for my real yacht club.
The hemorrhage of 600 places has been catastrophic.
Vigilance's track is shown in violet. The other track is Spirit of California. The positions of a very small fraction of the other 77,000 boats are also displayed.