Crossing through eight time zones

14 September 2014

The Pacific Ocean is the world’s biggest expanse of water. It covers more than 30 per cent of the planet’s surface and few have crossed it, let alone on board a stripped down racing yacht.

James Scott, a crew member on board Team Garmin, reflected on the 5,800 mile Race 10, from China to the USA ahead of arriving in San Francisco.

“There are many ways of determining our progress across an ocean. It is quite hard to do so by just looking at the charts, as the scale of an ocean routing chart is normally so small the distances involved can be misleading, and a larger scale chart only shows such a small portion of our journey there is no sense of bigger perceptive to it.

“One of my favourite ways to gauge our mileage is as we cross time zones, and the changing time of day that the sun rises and sets at.

“During our Pacific Ocean crossing we have moved through eight time zones - from UTC +8, across the International Date Line, to UTC -8.

“Normally you would have to get on an aeroplane to do this, so it feels like a real achievement! We completed our last time change last night, and are officially on San Francisco time, so it can't be long now!

“The last two time zones have brought with it the unexpected surprise of fairly regular sunshine, not something any of us really expected to see much of. It has most definitely been a welcome pleasure after several weeks of the most remarkable shade of grey that has been so consistent for most of this leg. What has not been so welcome is the wind angle, which has blown mostly from San Francisco, meaning the one place we can't sail straight to is San Francisco.

“This afternoon it is backed around enough to allow us to point 'straight for the waypoint', golden words that seem rarely spoken here on Team Garmin. There is nothing more satisfying than jumping on the helm, bringing up the required course on the instruments, and being able to sail the boat exactly to it. On the subject of instruments, those of you that read our skipper's blogs may be aware that we have some Garmin equipment on board; I think he's mentioned it once or twice. Jolly good it is too.

“Not long to go now, and we are all pretty keen to get there. It's been a long few weeks, more mentally tough than others, even though it hasn't been the longest leg time-wise. Constant sail changes are going on up top, as everyone is aware that every minute out here is another minute we're not onshore with all the wonderful people that are going to be there to meet us. Can't wait!”

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