LAT 11 08.0N
LON 78 56.0W
RACE START TIME 2330 UTC
ETA 0600Z 27 MAY 2012
WEATHER WIND 160@10 SEA MOD SWELL NE 2m CLOUD 5/8 Cl Ci BARO 1004
The Clipper Fleet RV was set and the yachts re grouped 130nm NE of Panama for the start of race 11 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race from Panama to New York.
Gold Coast Australia was given position of re grouping the yachts and controlling the start, and the time for the start was set at sunset 2330 UTC.
As the sun neared the horizon, Gold Coast Australia fired the 10 minute gun and the yachts lined up for a Le Mans start, which basically lines all the yachts up on a line of bearing sailing a specific course. After the start yachts must maintain their course for ten minutes before changing course or their sail plan and Gold Coast Australia worked hard to maximise speed with their Yankee 1, Staysail and Mainsail.
The team of Gold Coast Australia had a magnificent start and good speed off the line. The boat appeared to accelerate faster than the other yachts around her and we focused on sail trim to optimise our speed as we worked hard to get ahead of the fleet and into clear wind before nightfall. For the next 600nm Gold Coast will be sailing hard and working at being the first yacht to the Windward passage where tactics will no doubt separate the fleet.
This will be an interesting and very tactical race as we face a full range of wind conditions, currents around the islands, and the infamous Gulf Stream. There are no set rules for this race as there are no other races in the world that sail on this course so the navigators will have a lot of considerations to make with very little historic data.
Gold Coast Australia is looking forward to the rest of the race and after a long stopover in Panama waiting for parts for our engine we are well rested and motivated to sail hard and hopefully maintain the success of previous races.