With the International Date Line crossed, the next hurdle for the fleet, which is still remarkably compressed after 3,000nm of racing and has converged yet again just south of the rhumb line, will be a physical one in the form of the biggest low pressure system of the race so far, due to pass over the fleet in the coming 24 hours.
With gusts of over 50 knots expected, the teams have a healthy respect for the weather system heading its way and whilst it will be fascinating to watch how the different team tactics play out, focus is likely to shift away from full-power racing during the heavy weather.
Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck, who has previously skippered a Clipper Race team across North Pacific, knows all too well about getting the balance right between pushing hard and knowing when to hold back. She says: “We could have gone faster last night but it was the old trade off of risk versus speed, and we are playing the long game.
“In the next 24-30 hours, we will have our first big blow of the North Pacific, it will be good to have the first one done and dusted. We are ready, now just have to stay out of a wind hole before it arrives and not cross 45 degrees, which is our virtual beach.”
GREAT Britain Skipper David Hartshorn is also no stranger to the North Pacific and adds: “Having been this way before, I fully respect the weather a North Pacific low can bring, so treading lightly and with large respect is the order of the next few days.”
Keep track of the fleet to see how the biggest low low-pressure system affects the fleet over the coming 24 hours via the Clipper Race Viewer and hear more from the Skippers and crew on the Team Pages.
The fleet was originally expected to finish Race 9: The Race to the Emerald City and arrive into Bell Harbor Marina between Saturday 14 and Thursday 19 of April, but conditions in the early part of the race means the boats are now expected between Thursday 19 and Saturday 21 April.