Half of the fleet has completed the Ocean Sprint course with IchorCoal setting the fastest time so far of 14 hours 21 minutes, a mere 27 minutes faster than Qingdao which is second fastest. However, with six more teams still to pass through, all is yet to be decided in the PSP Logistics Panama Cup and the following boats will be hoping for more favourable conditions in a bid to win the two bonus points on offer.

Skipper Rich Gould says IchorCoal has worked hard with multiple sail changes throughout the day as it sprinted through the course: “Today has been the busiest day with regard to sail changes since leaving Seattle. The wind lottery did not pay out in our favour last night, which saw us swapping the lightweight for the windseeker. Frustratingly, we appeared to have run out of wind while the other boats at front of the pack managed to keep on going.

“As dawn broke the breeze filled in enough to warrant another sail change, but not back to a kite, the change in the breeze meant we were back on upwind sails. Yankee 1 and staysail to be precise. As almost all of the sailing we have done since leaving Seattle had been under spinnaker it all seemed a bit unfamiliar to have regular headsails up,” he added.

IchorCoal already has one Ocean Sprint title to its name in the race so far, while Mission Performance has two and Skipper Greg Miller has his eye on a third.

“So, we have picked up some wind and the lightweight kite is back up and pulling us in the right direction toward the start of the Ocean Sprint. Hopefully we can make up some miles on GREAT Britain and Qingdao. Our forecast for the Ocean Sprint is looking a lot better than the guys that are going through it at the moment, so with luck we will be able to bolster our points with an extra two. We will see. It’s not over until we have crossed the line!”

The other teams yet to start the sprint are Garmin, which is the only boat to take the gamble of going for the inshore route, Da Nang – Viet Nam furthest west, and GREAT Britain and PSP Logistics which are each currently in front and behind Mission Performance respectively.

“We've had the lightweight spinnaker up for about a five days now and are at the mercy of the wind,” reports PSP Logistics Skipper Max Stunell. “Last night we drifted for six hours as the sail had barely enough pressure to keep it out of the water, if it wasn't for the little bit of current we would have been at a complete standstill. This has allowed Mission Performance to stretch their lead over us as their slightly easterly course paid off.

“Our old foe Visit Seattle is covering good distances to the west and in reality is pretty much exactly the same distance to the first finish gate as us, the Race Viewer is misleading, and they are currently in better wind,” he added.

The Race Viewer calculates the Distance to Finish according to the waypoints that mark the shortest route to Panama, so being further west and a greater distance from the rhumb line than the rest of the boats is why Visit Seattle and Da Nang – Viet Nam have the longest DTF, despite being further south, as Max mentions in his daily report.

Despite expressing his frustration yesterday that the western course was not working out as planned due to a day of light winds that slowed progress, Skipper Huw Fernie’s Visit Seattle team are now making fast course in the sprint, sailing at over 10.5 knots when it polled at 0900 UTC.

The Ocean Sprint times are all provisional until photographic evidence is verified by the Race Office in Panama.

Who will win the Ocean Sprint? Can anyone beat IchorCoal’s time? Stay tuned to the Race Viewer to keep up to date with the PSP Logistics Panama Cup.

*All positions correct as of 1000 UTC

If you are inspired by our crew and would like to take part in the 2017-18 or 2019-20 editions of the Clipper Race, contact our recruitment team to find out more.

To read the latest crew diaries,click here.

In today’s Skipper Blogs many of them talk about reaching the first finishing gate. Yesterday Race Director Justin Taylor explained the Race 10 finish in our daily report. Click here to read more if you missed it the first time round.

Join The Race
Elliot Brown Watches - Official Time Keeper Until Race Start : The Atlantic Homecoming Leg Map + Race Standings