Le Mans Start for PSP Logistics Panama Cup

30 April 2016

UPDATE: PSP Logistics Panama Cup started at 0320 UTC (2020 local time) with a Le Mans start procedure.

Ash Skett, skipper of Garmin, reported: "All went smoothly and it was a clean start on the first attempt. Wind was about 15 knots from the West."

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The Le Mans start of Race 10: The PSP Logistics Panama Cup from Seattle has been delayed to await ClipperTelemed+ to complete a repair to a short section of mast track. The yacht has gone into a small inlet to complete the work in calm water.

Justin Taylor, Race Director, explained: “The reason is that ClipperTelemed+ has damaged a 12 inch section of their mast track and needs to return to the shelter of Neah Bay to finish the repair. All the crew are fine and well.

ClipperTelemed+ should arrive in Neah Bay at 0145UTC and take 1 hour to complete the repair. It will then take 1 hour to motor back out to the rest of the fleet.

“I have instructed the other yachts to follow ClipperTelemed+ at a slower speed in order to close the distance to it once it has completed their repair.

“I anticipate that the race will start a few miles north of Tatoosh Island which is at the entrance of the Straight of Juan de Fuca on the south side.

The rest of the fleet will rendezvous with ClipperTelemed+ for the Le Mans start, anticipated at 0345 UTC/2045 Local time,” Justin added.

An update will be published once the race has started.

The Le Mans start requires all the boats to line up. If the Duty Skipper suspects that an unfair advantage is being obtained by any boat they will halt the start process and re-start the sequence.

The procedure uses the standard Clipper Race start countdown of 10 min, 4 min, 1 min, Start.

Prior to the 10 minute signal all boats have their mainsails hoisted. Headsails hanked on, halyards and sheets attached, but NOT hoisted.

All boats motor slowly (speed set by the Duty Skipper), approximately 2 to 3 boat lengths apart in a line abreast on a pre-arranged heading. This heading is usually towards the finish.

Once the fleet is in a line abreast, the lead skipper signals the 10 minute gun via VHF on a pre-arranged channel. Engines shall be used to ensure that the boats are lined up accordingly (either reverse or forward).

At the 4 minute signal, all crew shall be aft of the forward coffee grinder. At the one minute signal, engines are to be turned off. Mainsails are trimmed to ensure the fleet stays in line. If the fleet drift out of line, the Duty Skipper can stop the sequence and start the process again.

At the start gun, the crew can move forward and the headsails can be hoisted. All boats must hold the agreed course and separation for the first 10 minutes after the start gun.

The upcoming Le Mans start follows a departure ceremony yesterday at Bell Harbor, Seattle, where big crowds had gathered by the marina to say their emotional goodbyes and wave off the teams. The US Navy band had played for each of the teams as they boarded their yachts.

A fireboat also saluted the teams for the Parade of Sail of Race 10, the PSP Logistics Panama Cup, following the race’s successful stopover in the city.

Ahead of the start, IchorCoal Skipper Rich Gould:The crew have got the boat in great shape and everyone is looking ahead now to getting out there and start heading south. We have our new leggers and we are looking forward to getting the kites out for some downwind weather and be in the mix with the rest of the fleet.

“The further south we go, the lighter and lighter the wind will get and then we’ll be under lightweight kite and windseeker as we get close to Panama. It will be a challenge to keep the boat going but it will be rewarding when it’s moving well.”

Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew member Olive Moynihan said going through the Panama Canal was going to be a highlight of the race.

“It is so exciting for anyone to do, especially in a Clipper 70, which is quite small compared to the huge vessels you get transiting around you. It will be fascinating to see how big it is and how it works and how small we are in the grand scheme of things.

“I would like to helm on this race and get stuck in with sail trim and I look forward to working with the crew in these areas to improve my skills. Skipper Dan is well ahead of the game and it’s a long time offshore on this race but we are looking forward to seeing how far we can push ourselves.

“My husband did the last race and he has been giving me tips on the race from his experience!”

For a full gallery of images of the departure,click here.

To read more about Race 10 to Panama,click here.

To follow all the action on the Race Viewer,click here.

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