Clipper Round the World Heads Toward Panama

With 250 nautical miles to go, The Clipper Round the World Race fleet has cleared the west coast of the United States and is off the Baja California coast, heading toward Panama and the scoring gate for Race 10 of the round the world challenge.

After the chaotic north Pacific Ocean passage, no doubt the crews are enjoying the spinnaker set as they work to maximize light and sporadic winds. And given the weather down there, they must feel more like they’re on a cruise, rather than racing.

RELATED: Clipper Round the World Refits in Seattle

Still, any sailor knows light wind conditions require careful trimming and tactics. So where a stiff breeze lets the crew just set a course and hold on, lighter conditions require thinking.

As of May 8, LMAX Exchange had gone into stealth mode, meaning it had opted to shut off GPS positioning in order to hide from the other boats in an attempt to gain an advantage. Boats are allowed to enter stealth mode once for a determined amount of time during each race.

The funny part is that all the boats are running so close to one another that stealth mode might not do much in the way of advantage.

Once the boats land in Panama, they’ll refit, get some rum and bananas, and then head up through the Caribbean toward New York. And while the wind and waters ahead promise to be relaxing, getting to this point has been anything but.

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Photo credit: Clipper Round the World Race