The Visit Seattle team has set off on Race 8 of the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race after an amazing stopover in Sanya, China. Having left the tropical paradise on Sunday, the team is racing approximately 1,600 nautical miles north to Qingdao, in China, where temperatures are expected to plummet.
It’s not just the drop in temperature that will challenge however; the northerly route offers mostly upwind conditions and choppy seas. The fleet will make their way around Taiwan and through the East China Sea on what is expected to be an uncomfortable ride.
For Visit Seattle Skipper Nikki Henderson, this will be the last race before embarking on the Mighty Pacific Leg 6 to her team home port but it won’t be a gentle one for the crew of Visit Seattle. Nikki says: “Race 8 sounds pretty intense, beating upwind and getting colder and colder every day.
“The team will probably find the weather conditions a challenge and I will be playing a big role in team morale and keeping everyone upbeat.”
However, the good news is that at approximately 1,600 nm in length, this is one of the shorter races of the series, expected to take around ten days to complete.
Weather conditions aside, one of the biggest challenges the teams will face during this leg is navigating the world’s largest fishing fleet. Finally, heavy fog and commercial shipping will challenge crew as they head across the Yellow Sea and into Qingdao.
The light wind lottery at the start of the race has created some early winners and losers but the Visit Seattle team has started well with Skipper Nikki saying: “We had a great start – if slightly hair raising on the line (very glad I wasn’t wearing a heart rate monitor for this one … and by the color of a few of the other Skipper’s faces, I think the feeling is probably mutual) – we sailed well and rounded the mark by the Guanyin statue (Sanya) in second place. The crew worked super well. Definitely a competitive atmosphere onboard for this one.”
Report and images courtesy of Clipper Round the World Race.