13th May 2022

Seattle to Panama - race update

After a busy but enjoyable stop in Seattle, we left again on the 30th April, motoring up the Puget Sound, to our race start point just off the Washington coast.

The race began on the 2nd May, since then we've travelled just over 1000 miles down the US west coast, and into Mexican waters. Team Zhuhai have taken a conservative approach so far, which has left us toward the back of the fleet, but with no damage to our light-wind sails, unlike many of our competitors. As the wind drops as we go south, we hope to be able to capitalise and pull some places back.

We are all enjoying the warming temperatures - my thermals have finally come off in the last couple of days, and tomorrow will be a first outing for my new Croc-widely regarded as the best footwear for warm legs by Clipper Race Crew. We know conditions on board will become increasingly hot, so cool feet are essential.

This leg is known for its wildlife, and we've seen several whales and lots of sunbathing seals, floating on their backs in the sunshine! One of the most spectacular sights is bio-luminescence (or phosphorescence), where millions of tiny organisms glow at night. In the Philippines we got used to seeing displays of sparkling lights in the wake of the boat as we passed. Here we sailed through patches so dense that the sea glowed. Given sailing at night is usually very dark, to sail through a glowing sea is a magical experience.

We are now well set for the rest of the week, with beautifully consistent winds, and we have manoeuvred ourselves to a favourable wind angle- time will tell if that, together with having access to our full range of sails, will be enough for us to catch up with the front runners; either way the  race looks set for an exciting(if slower) finish, as we try to pick our path through the light wind weather patterns off Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica.

I'm still raising money for Centrepoint, so if you are happy to make a contribution via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bgclipperrace that would be amazing.

I'll send another update on the race once we're past the finish line, thanks for all your support.

PS. thanks for all of your supportive messages on Facebook and LinkedIn.  I'm sorry I haven't been more responsive, time in Seattle was very short but I do hope to catch up when I'm in Panama.

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