Race 9 Day 26: Five teams still competing in Seattle Pacific Challenge

15 April 2016

As the five teams still racing in the Seattle Pacific Challenge tick off the miles to the Emerald City, more moderate weather is allowing them to catch their breath for a rare time in this challenging race.

Qingdao is now 153NM from the finish line and on course to finish next and take eighth place, but after a troubled start which had it lying in twelfth early on in the race, making up the places turned out to be a challenge in itself for the team.

Looking ahead to their finish, Bob Beggs says: “Although we have yet to finish the latest forecast from Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon's Met office in St Mawes, Cornwall, it does suggest the worst of the weather the North Pacific can throw at Qingdao is over for a while. Until we start again heading for Panama in a couple of weeks’ time. But before then we will have time to dry out, enjoy a beer or two, do some repairs and explore Seattle, the Emerald city. Bring it on!”

With Da Nang – Viet Nam deciding to retire from the race following a knock-down a few days ago, and IchorCoal in eleventh place currently 265 nautical miles behind its nearest rival, the closest battle for a position remains between Visit Seattle and PSP Logistics for ninth place.

As it works to maintain its lead over PSP Logistics, Visit Seattle Skipper Huw Fernie says the abating weather has enabled the team to hoist spinnakers despite damaging the bowsprit in the huge waves the Pacific threw at them.

“Today has shown us a different side to the Pacific Ocean. It started as we knew it would; a familiar cold, wet and grey which was slowly replaced with blue skies and sunshine. We had been gradually putting up more, and bigger, sails all night which left us at lunch time with only one more move to make. So for half a day now we have been going well under the shadow of our spinnakers.

“Up until today we haven't really had the right opportunity to fly them and even though we had a plan (Thanks Greg & Simon in the Clipper Race Maintenance Team ashore) it always felt a little too risky or short term to give it a go. Now though we have a bit of flatter water, some lighter winds and also the little matter of PSP Logistics and its relentless chipping away at our slim lead.”

Meanwhile seeking to gain any advantage possible and hoping the element of surprise will allow them to do just that, PSP Logistics has elected to go into Stealth Mode for 24 hours, and will be hidden from the Race Viewer until midnight UTC (1700 Seattle time) tonight.

“With the last role of the dice we have entered into Stealth Mode really just to make things a little more exciting for the Seattlites,” says Max Stunell, Skipper of PSP Logistics.

“Visit Seattle Skipper Huw is tenacious having proven on Leg 1 from London to Rio that he can still fend us off without a pointy bit at the front of the boat and as he is some distance in front of us with just under 400 miles to go we have a lot to do. We'll find out on the next schedule if we are managing to gain on him,” Max added.

IchorCoal still has 600 nautical miles to go to the finish but Skipper Darren Ladd is focused, and reflective, as he reports:“The good ship IchorCoal is making good progress. The day is punctuated by watch changeovers and the invariable round of progress related questions. We are getting there and if the wind holds out at its current benevolent level the last few days should allow us to take stock on what has been an epically challenging ocean crossing.

“When you consider the effort and sacrifice that has been put in to crossing the Pacific, it is certainly a sobering reminder of the level of commitment required. I'm not sure that we all, at some point, haven't questioned our motives for doing it. Whether you believe ultimately if it is worth it is a personal decision, I believe most in hindsight will believe it was.”

Garmin's Ocean Sprint time of 20h 39 still stands after PSP Logistics recorded a final time of 28 hours 06 and Visit Seattle achieved 28h 47 minutes. IchorCoal commenced the sprint at 2001 UTC lastnight.


Derry~Londonderry~Doire, Unicef, LMAX Exchange
and GREAT Britain are now all docked at the Bell Harbor Marina and you can re-watch their arrivals using the Periscope App - please note these videos only last for 24 hours so get watching quick!

ClipperTelemed+, Garmin and Mission Performance crossed the finish line off the coast of Washington State in the early hours of the morning and are now motoring to Bell Harbor Marina in the heart of Seattle.

Having managed to hold on to sixth place after a series of incidents in the closing stages of the race, which could have seen Garmin slip further down the standings after leading the race early on, Skipper Ash Skett was full of praise for his crew’s efforts in his latest report.

He says: “The result, although our lowest finish to date, represents an amazing achievement after all the issues that we have had to deal with. I am enormously proud of the guys and I feel privileged to be Skipper of such a fantastic team. When times were tough, everyone got on with the job, were there for the team and gave it their all. I couldn't ask for more than that.

“For me, our arrival here in Seattle represents our biggest achievement yet. Having crossed the world’s largest ocean, right now there is a feeling among us that there is nothing that we can't handle.”

Check out all the arrivals and images via the news section of our website, and on Facebook.

Stay tuned to the Race Viewer for the final miles of Race 9 The Seattle Pacific Challenge.

Click here for the latest ETAs into Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina.

Been inspired by the hardy Clipper Race crew’s achievements? Want to take on the mighty Pacific challenge for yourself? We’re now hiring for the 2017-18 and 2019-20 race editions. Find out more here.

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