And they are off......
The fleet was joined by support vessels from various Seattle yacht clubs which formed a flotilla.
After then motorsailing the 120 nautical miles to the official race start location, the fleet had a Le Mans start at 1500 local time on Friday 29 April near Tattoosh Island. Thermal layers give way to sunscreen on the first part of the American Coast-to-Coast penultimate leg which ends in New York.
The race to Panama is 4208 nautical miles long.
The big question is whether to take the inshore or offshore route. The Californian Current flows south, but the helping hand this gives the fleet can be counteracted by heating effects from the North American land mass which might change the winds unfavourably.
The race down to the coast of Mexico should be a fast one but as the breeze becomes lighter, the racing becomes more intense. Conditions near the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone - or Doldrums) could decide the final finishing positions.
The fleet will finish off Panama on the Pacific Ocean side before transiting the 41 nautical miles of the canal, before beginning Race 11 to New York on the Atlantic Ocean side.
Huw Fernie, Skipper of Visit Seattle, said: “We have had an amazing time in our home port, and have been made to feel so welcome, so we are a little sad to leave, but have great memories of the city.
“The next race will be very changeable, and it’s certainly a long one again. While the first part of the race should be fast, the winds will gets lighter and lighter the closer we get to Panama, which will present some tactical challenges,” Huw added.
Because of its shipping and trade links Team Sponsor and Official Logistics Partner PSP Logistics is sponsoring the race to Panama.
Frank Dixie, managing director of PSP Logistics explained more: “As Official Logistics Partner for the race for the fourth-time running, as well as a Team Sponsor for the second time, we are proud of our position within the Clipper Race and thrilled to name Race 10, the PSP Logistics Panama Cup.
“The PSP Logistics Panama Cup covers 4,701 nautical miles from Seattle to Panama, passing through one of the engineering wonders of the world, the Panama Canal.
“The Panama Canal is one of the highlights of the race, with all ten Clipper Race editions utilising the route during their circumnavigations. It doubled its capacity last year, following a $5.25billion expansion project, and is one of the busiest waters in the world, linking trade and transport between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
“Our involvement in the Clipper Race over the years, both as Official Logistics Partner and Team Sponsor, has resulted in some fantastic opportunities and several new clients for PSP Logistics. We have been able to build our profile on a global platform while supporting something very important to us.
“It’s for this reason, plus our passionate support of the sport of sailing, that we are proud to be so heavily involved once again. We wish all the teams a safe journey.”
Watch the Race 10 Elliot Brown preview video with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston here.
To follow all the Race 10 PSP Logistics Panama Cup action on the Race Viewer, click here.