The idea of Groundhog Day may seem like a fictional concept but in reality, it’s perfectly possible. The crews have been marking the crossing of the International Date Line today (or is that tomorrow?) during the race from Qingdao, China to Seattle, USA, resulting in going back in time 24 hours and gaining another day.
The International Date Line is an imaginary line of longitude on the earth’s surface located at about 180 degrees east (or west) of the Greenwich Meridian which demarcates one calendar day from the next.
On board Visit Seattle, Leg 1 and 6 crew member John Mccaffery from Aberdeenshire, Scotland shares his mythology of crossing the imaginary line demarcating one calendar day from the next in an amusing crew diary about a dragon named Ferghus, watching over the fleet.
He says: “Ferghus was hatched on the remote Scottish archipelago of St Kilda, many hundreds of years ago...As he grew older it came time for Ferghus to leave St Kilda. Dragons are big creatures, needing a big territory, and Ferghus had grown bigger than most. Having spent his youth amongst the sea birds Ferghus had always wondered where they went when they left his windswept islands. When the day came to leave he decided to find out, taking to the wing to follow the Skuas as they headed west, across the great expanse of ocean.”
You can read more about Ferghus the Dragon and Visit Seattle’s passage here.
Garmin Skipper Ash Skett wrote about the significant milestone in his Skipper's blog: "Today we sailed off the edge of the world and went back in time. Fortunately, we reappeared on the other edge of the map and we are now finally, officially, West of Greenwich and behind UTC.
"It's quite a significant milestone for myself and the round the world crew members. We will enjoy counting the longitude down to zero as we make our way home from halfway round the planet," Ash added.
Matt Mitchell, Skipper of ClipperTelemed+, also noted the importance of his team's crossing of the International Date Line and living April 4th 'twice'.
"Today is in fact yesterday for us. We get the 4th April all over again and we are now 12 hours behind UTC, taking off hours every 15 degrees of longitude until we get home.
"It is a milestone, up until then the stern of the boat was getting ever further away from home, and now every mile we make brings our bow closer towards home. It's an odd feeling being exactly the other side of the world from the bonny shores of England, however we are now very firmly on the home stretch," Matt added.
Following our ‘Supporters club’ invite to send your loved one a message whilst crossing the International Date Line, we have collated all the messages and will be sending them to the boats.
Image credit: Brian Carlin.Join The Race