Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Transit of Panama Canal underway

Derry-Londonderry during the 11-12 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
Abner Kingman/onEdition
In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the first group of yachts began their transit of the Panama Canal this morning. Gold Coast Australia, Welcome to Yorkshire, Visit Finland and Geraldton Western Australia left the marina at 0500 local time to begin their transit.

Upon leaving the marina skipper of Gold Coast Australia, Richard Hewson, reflected on the race so far and how he came to apply for the position of skipper.

'In February 2010 I was transiting through the Panama Canal in a Swan 68 called Titania heading towards the Pacific, we had been sitting in the locks for a number of hours and I began to read a certain yachting magazine from cover to cover for the umpteenth time.

'It was here I came across an advert in the back. ‘Skippers Wanted for Round the World Yacht Race’. After about half an hour of consideration my CV was in the out box en route to Clipper Ventures. Six months later I was on a plane from Australia to England and ready to sail my skipper trial for the Clipper Race.

'For me the transit through the canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic is a major mile stone for it was here that I decided to apply for the job and to realise a dream of sailing around the world. A dream I have had since I can remember.

'Now 35,000 miles and nine months after race start we are nearing the closing stages of a very successful campaign and race around the world. Today the dream almost seems like a reality as we pass into an ocean that holds the pathway to our final port, Southampton.'

Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, New York and Qingdao are expected to begin their transit of the Panama Canal tomorrow morning, leaving the marina at 0600 local time (1100 UTC).

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race website