Charlie's Voyage - Not your standard finish
After low winds, whale encounters, and sneaky stealth mode, Team Dare To Lead have taken first place in Race 10 of the Clipper Round the World Race.
Welcome to week three of Race 10, if you've not already heard then where have you been? I'm pleased to inform you that we, the Dare To Lead team, are in fact the winners of Race 10 from Seattle to Panama!!
Over the horizon, a breath of fresh wind
We had made the decision to go into Stealth Mode due to the lack of wind in the hopes that the other boats (plus you guys at home) wouldn't see how awful we were actually doing! However, our luck soon changed as over the horizon came a breath of fresh wind that initially came out in force but over the hours would tease us causing the crew to prey under their breath for the wind to, “just stay a little longer” or “just a little stronger”.
Our hearts raced the moment that Visit Seattle popped up on our AIS with a CPA of just 2nm, at the time they were in second place closing in on Qingdao and for all we knew could have taken them by that point. They were making extremely slow progress...less than 1knot. Seeing that they were not making any better heading on the current tack they tacked back leaving us alone again. This had given us the injection that we needed, we knew from then that we were more than likely faring better than the fleet at this point. Our excitement rose, could it be that we were once again on track for a podium finish and not just a podium but a potential first too?!
Just get us across the line!
In the early hours we crossed the mandatory finish gate but we were yet to receive conformation from Clipper Race Office that this gate would in fact become the finish line due to the fleet being becalmed. It was an agonising wait as by this point the wind having done its duty to “just get us across the line” had departed leaving us once again wallowing and alone. If the race was to carry on it was still anyone's game the fleet now had the opportunity to catch us up.
Dare To Lead take first place!
Thankfully for Dare To Lead the email from Race Office came through late morning confirming Gate 2 had become the finish line and Dare To Lead had taken first place! Cheers arose from below filling the entire boat and the rest of the day was our time to bask in the sunshine and glory. Quite literally. Our next instructions were to await the rest of the fleet because we would be motoring in groups down to a refuel stop in Costa Rica. By evening we saw the outline of Visit Seattle coming into focus from over the horizon, congratulations to them for second place.
Social hour with Visit Seattle
Since then we have been paired with Visit Seattle as we each take our turn to tow the other. The reasoning behind this is to ensure that we get the most mileage out of the remaining fuel across the boats and therefore make it to the refuel without mishap.
Every day around mid-afternoon we swap the tow around, this has become our social hour. It is wonderful to be able to spend some time catching up with the crew from Visit Seattle, stories are shared and ways to keep us all entertained are thought of, a popular option has been pub quizzes. The crew of Visit Seattle were very jealous to hear of our magical whale encounter, their green crew tops almost matching their faces as we eagerly informed them we were within touching distance for quite some time, while both whale and us enjoyed a show of beauty. We are yet to confirm which species of whale, some say juvenile humpback, fin or even a juvenile blue whale. I'm rather sceptical of it being a blue whale, my bet is on a juvenile humpback, I shall have to wait until I hit land to find out.
Onward to the Panama Canal
The last 24 hours have consisted of both Visit Seattle and us constantly checking our fuel tanks and watching how much we are consuming under engine. This morning we broke away from the tow in an attempt to save our little fuel and sail for a few hours making use of the little breeze that had come our way, it was slow progress and unfortunately, as you will have come to learn along with us, the wind is fickle by nature, soon dying out. However, the marina is only a day or so away once we have filled our tanks it will be onwards to Panama. Having never been through the canal I'm looking forward to it greatly.
This blog was written by Charlie Garratt, Clipper 2017/18 Crew Member and 3Si Ocean Safety Ambassador.