The crews of the fleet of the Clipper Round the World Race have set off for the longest stretch of their adventure, sailing from Qingdao, China, to Seattle, Washington.

The 6,000 mile passage will last more than a month with the sailors experiencing nothing but ocean for the duration. In fact, Race 9 will take many of them to their limits and beyond, as the boats fight certain storms, waves that could top 90 feet, and frigid winds that will bring ice and snow.

Along the way the boats will hit another milestone, when at 3,000 miles and 15 day in, they will cross the International Date Line, crossing from the Eastern to the Western Hemisphere. which means the crews will live the same day in the calendar twice, earning the right to have a Golden Dragon Tattoo.

Okay, so that sounds a little like a seafarer’s tale, but it’s true. In fact, I crossed the Date Line back in 1995, so I guess that means I could get such a tattoo. (Of course, if you try and get the Golden Dragon Tattoo without having crossed the line, King Neptune will strike you down. Honest.)

To put into perspective the remote and dangerous nature of the challenge, there will be times during the passage when the closest humans to the teams will be the astronauts on the International Space Station, passing overhead some 300 miles above.

And that, to be certain is what we call bragging rights. The fleet is due to arrive in Seattle between April 15 and 20.

For our complete coverage of the Clipper Round the World Race click here.

For more on the race and to follow action visit ClipperRoundtheWorld.com