Clipper RTW – Leg 7: Coast to Coast, Part 1

San Fran to Panama. Roll on some of the best spinnaker sailing of the year. Take a left out of SF, chuck up a spinnaker, keep on going until the wind dies out. So we did.

Initially all togged up as it was still a tad cold, the sailing was great, and lots of smiling was done. An Easter goodie bag was most welcome, and Jim loved wearing the bunny ears so much none of us could persuade him to take them off.

Fantastic sunsets and clear skies provided the backdrop for many an evenings watch, non-stop kite trimming continuing 24/7.

Jim’s birthday a week or so in gave a good excuse for lots of nice cake, and another outing of the bunny ears of course.

It was after this, that the wind started to subside, and life slowed down. The world got warmer, but also much slower.

Small things became important entertainment. Providing shade on deck was a priority, and much time was spent improvising various shelters, while Mike put the umbrella he had picked up in San Fran to good use while spinnaker trimming. Another distraction came in the form of setting fire to various bits of the paper waste from the boat, and racing it into the distance. You know you’re going slow when you get overtaken by the paper you’ve just thrown out behind you…

The hot weather did begin to take it’s toll on some of the systems, with the generator suffering most. A combination of very hot ambient temperature, and a >30ºC water temp meant it was working hard to keep cool enough, and in fact ended up splitting the heat exchanger. Luckily, there isn’t much in the world that epoxy putty can’t fix :)! The engine room fan also went down, for me to lovingly restore back to working order one hot afternoon. And the funniest thing that happened on deck all race was Alan unable to ease the spinnaker sheet, only to discover the source of this trouble was the fact his beloved Crock was wrapped up in the winch. We refused to trim it out of the winch in case it affected the competitive nature of our spinnaker trim.

When the wind finally disappeared off the coast of Costa Rica we motored the final stretch into Panama, and parked up there, awaiting our slot to transit the canal.

Leg 7 - San Francisco to Panama.jpg

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