While this might be the homeward bound leg, there is plenty of racing still to be done. With an Atlantic crossing and an emotional homecoming, this is one of the most sought-after legs on the race. And, with almost 40,000 miles of racing already behind you, there are still valuable racing points to be won. The podium places on the overall race have been decided on the last race of Leg 8 on the last three Clipper Race editions.
The weather might be mixed but the competition is hot, with teams battling it out for the final race points. The first race takes you north and a check of the sea temperature will tell you when your racing yacht is getting a helping push from the Gulf Stream. A further check will tell you when it gives way to the cooler Labrador Current and the mixture in seawater often produces unpredictable fog banks. Your last ocean race across the Atlantic might seem like familiar ground, especially to round the world crew, but don’t take this mighty ocean for granted. You need to stay focussed, race hard - and sail safe. The route will have waypoints to avoid any risk from ice and will take you close to the Flemish Cap, a fishing ground made famous by the book and film, The Perfect Storm.
Then it’s a 2,000-mile blast back towards Europe and one of the warmest welcomes of the whole race in Ireland.
With your odyssey almost over, it’s a great place to gather your thoughts and put your achievements into perspective. But still the challenges come thick and fast. A short and intense race from Ireland back to the finish port, more important race points to collect and a hero’s welcome. More people have climbed Everest than sailed around the world. Circumnavigating members of the Clipper Race crew are about to join that small and elite group. These final miles have all the pressure of extra time in the World Cup final. Although it’s not just the winners who receive a hero’s welcome...