​Race 9 Day 16: Teams travel in time as they cross International Date Line

05 April 2016

The teams have been crossing the International Date Line and travelling back in time a day in the North Pacific Ocean.

The Skippers have written about the significant milestone in their blogs today as they head east at just over the halfway stage of the Seattle Pacific Challenge.

The conditions have been more stable for the majority of the fleet with good boat speeds being made ahead of the next front, due to come through soon. While the wind has been coming from the south west on the aft, conditions have still been too squally for the majority of teams to be able to fly a spinnaker.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire is still leading the fleet, with LMAX Exchange now in second place and ClipperTelemed+ still in third, with Unicef dropping two places into fourth.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire Skipper Dan Smith described the conditions his team had been facing over the last day and talked about what was to come as the teams prepare for the next low.

“The squalls continue, slightly less frequent but more intense making flying a spinnaker impossible for any length of time so we are sticking with the sensible option and making sure we have the right white sails up, adjusting them as the squalls approach.

“Last night I was woken for a watch change and heard a load of cheering. We'd sailed over the International Date Line and our good downwind speed had meant it had happened sooner than I'd expected. We are now very much sailing towards London and not away from it. This essentially means we get to live the day again!

“Although squally with occasional snow/hail showers we are beginning to feel that it is warming up. We will soon be very much between a low pressure to our north and a high to our south and the hope is that the resulting south westerly winds will bring some warmer air up from the tropics. Associated with this will be rain and wind, the wind is welcome being in the right direction and the rain we'll have to deal with. The team are getting tougher all the time and it is nothing they can't handle,” Dan added.

The front that is expected over the next 24 hours will likely deliver 60 to 70 knot gusts, with 40 knots of sustained winds and weakening after a peak at around 0000 UTC on April 6, the Clipper Race’s Meteorologist Simon Rowell said.

“That front still has more though, it looks like a secondary low will spin up and pass through quite rapidly,” Simon added in his daily weather briefing to the Skippers.

“This will be good for progress, but will be a sustained period of very strong winds. The secondary especially will develop very rapidly, probably even faster than the fronts you’ve become used to – it’ll be more like the development speed of the southerly busters that you saw up the east coast of Australia,” Simon concluded.

Following the utter sadness of the last few days, IchorCoal, at the back of the fleet in twelfth place, has today announced that it has decided to get back in the race and give the team something to focus on.

Skipper Darren Ladd explains: “Today the crew of the good ship IchorCoal have agreed to continue racing albeit with a small 'r'. With around 2600 nautical mile, or perhaps another couple of weeks to go, we've decided that for morale and motivational purposes it will be good to have a focus, and for now that focus will be to race to Seattle.

“The nearest two boats ahead are Da Nang – Viet Nam and Visit Seattle. At around 60 nautical miles away they're going to take some catching. Hopefully with a little downwind sailing we can take advantage of our extra 5ft of boat length. We shall see. Good wishes continue to pour in, we all thank you, it means a lot.”

*All positions correct as of 1000 UTC.

See the Race Viewer here.

To read more about the significance of crossing the line, click here.

To find out more about the stopover in Seattle where the fleet will be berthed at the Port of Seattle’s Bell Harbor, click here.

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