Leg 7 begins under the eyes of the American media and Race 10 heads out into the vast Pacific Ocean once more.
While California and the Baja slip by, the talk will be of tactics; inshore or offshore? The inshore current can give a decent ride but, with the land close by, fickle winds affected by night and day temperature can provide an unpredictable breeze. Further offshore, the current can’t help you but more consistent winds can.
Whatever the decision, the charge south will be a swift one. And just to make life more difficult, the further south you go, the more fluky the breeze gets. Ocean racing is like a lengthy game of chess and often the final results only become clear on the last couple of days. With boats sometimes finishing within a few minutes of each other, it’s never over ‘til it’s over. Then from the finish line off Panama City, stand by for one of the engineering wonders of the world: the Panama Canal.
You rise through the locks on the Pacific side up to Gatun freshwater lake , fed from the surrounding rain forests. Then it’s down the locks on the other side and the waters of the Atlantic welcome the race fleet again.
The next race takes your north through the blue water sailing playground of the Caribbean and toward Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and the island of Cozumel. You'll be among the first ever Clipper Race crew to race into a region famous for its seaside resorts, scuba diving and snorkelling in the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park, nautical and archaeological tourism.
The following race will once again test you. Stand by for tropical heat, trade winds and squalls. You can expect the challenges to come from every quarter of the compass all the way up to New York and, as you draw closer, don’t be surprised if thunderstorms make a regular appearance over the horizon. But, as you sail past the Statue of Liberty and moor close to Ground Zero, you will probably be the only people in the city who have arrive from the west coast by sea.