SAILORS taking part in the Clipper round the World Yacht Race will be arriving into San Francisco tomorrow after spending more than three weeks at sea.
The 12-yacht flottilla will see dry land for the first time in 25 days after a voyage across the Pacific Ocean which has seen some of the worst sailing conditions ever in the race's history.
One sailor, Andrew Walker, was thrown from his yacht, Derry~Londonderry~Doire during the 5,600-mile leg from Qingdao in China to San Francisco last Thursday when he was 2,000 miles from San Francisco.
Team Great Britain is expected to be the first to arrive under the Golden Gate bridge late Wednesday morning Pacific time, eight hours behind British summer time.
It will be followed by the other crews including One DLL who are skippered by Cowes-based sailor Ollie Cotterell who said the journey has been a “pot dodging good time” at less than 400 miles from the iconic San Francisco landmark. He said: “I have however been looking at the competition and with 300 plus miles to go, variable weather forecast and under a 100 miles to the lead boats there may still be some opportunity for some gains to be had.
“As always we will concentrate on looking after Big Blue (the nickname for our boat) and keeping her up to speed and hope she looks after us.
“So we have seen the first signs of civilisation. We saw our first ship since leaving the coast of Japan. A whopping 335 metres long doing 25 knots and lots and lots of fishing pots.
“The fishing pots are black and impossible to see at night. It is a good thing they disappear at night then!
“We are also encountering a lot more debris recently. We nearly hit a large propane tank but for the quick reaction of the helm... you always need to keep your wits about you!”
They are expected to arrive early on Thursday morning behind Invest Africa, Henri Lloyd, the Qingdao but ahead of Old Pulteney and the other teams.