The PSP Logistics Panama 100 Cup, which is Race 11 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race gets underway on today (Saturday) at 1300 local time in San Francisco (2000 UTC). This very tactical race from the Californian city to Panama will take approximately three weeks to complete. The race sees the teams transit the Panama Canal in its centenary year before starting Race 12 to Jamaica.
Thermal layers give way to sunscreen with the big question facing crews being whether to take the inshore or the 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 unfavourably.
This race down to Panama should be fast, but it’s not over until the finish line is crossed in the Gulf of Panama, as changeable conditions near the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone or Doldrums) could decide the finishing positions in the final stages of the race.
The Race 11 start line will be off the Golden Gate Yacht Club today (Saturday 19 April) with the yacht club kindly offering friends and family members of Clipper Race crew free entry to the club. The yacht club and bar will open from 1130 for a great view of the Parade of Sail between 1100 and 1200 ahead of the 1300 start.
The Clipper Race fleet is expected to arrive in Panama for the transit of the Panama Canal from 10-11 May with Race 12, to Jamaica starting on 14 May.
There is also a chance on Wednesday and Thursday (16 and 17 April) to get up close and personal to a Clipper Race yacht. Free boat tours are available at the South Beach Yacht Club at Pier 40 on both day 1500 until 1900.