Regarded by many as one of the hardest features of the circumnavigation, the fleet left Qingdao for The Seattle Pacific Challenge from China to Seattle, United States, on Sunday. This is a month-long 5400 nautical mile challenge – the lengthiest race of the series.
This is really a challenging race in the mighty Pacific and there are times when the closest humans to the participating teams are those who stay on the International Space Station. Pacific, known for being the deepest ocean, is also known for huge rolling waves, cold temperatures and storms, suggesting that the racing crew may have to seal with ice and show.
Race Director Justin Taylor told the Greece yacht charter website that possibly fog and definitely China’s fishing fleets are in store from the very first day along with forecasted light as well as variable winds as the crew leaves Qingdao.
The first important milestone would be off Japan’s southern tip. This is the time when tactics come in to play again as Skippers are faced with the age-old dilemma: take the shortest or great circle route and risk headwinds or take the southern route that is longer but with following wind.
He added that the team members will also have to contest with searching for the strongest part of the favorable Japan Current. Depending on the direction of the wind, the sea state might be very tough if it is northerly, along with steep waves which have no backs to them, suggesting that the yachts would be airborne as they drop out of them.