LEADING: Sanya Serenity Coast leads the Clipper fleet.
LEADING: Sanya Serenity Coast leads the Clipper fleet.

Sanya Serenity Coast is blitzing the Clipper fleet

SINCE leaving the blue water wonderland of the Whitsunday in February the Clipper Round the World racers have clocked some ocean miles and have now just threaded their way through the Panama Canal.

Although the Clipper Race fleet spent the majority of the race to Panama in close quarters, it only took minutes for a split to emerge in Race 11: Nasdaq Race to New York - the second stage of the USA Coast-to-Coast Leg and the penultimate Leg of the 40,000 nautical mile, 11-month circumnavigation.

The race to New York is expected to take about 12 days, arriving at Liberty Landing Marina between June 14-16.

But to get there, the fleet will need to navigate its way through fickle winds and a complex arrangement of islands and reefs in the Caribbean, before trying to utilise the Gulf Stream to gain some extra speed in the final stretch to the finish line.

Nasdaq was the first to break away, opting for an easterly tack to avoid the wind hole settled close to the Le Mans start off the Atlantic coast of Panama.

Skipper Rob Graham said: "Nasdaq tacked eastwards holding course during the Le Mans start was up.

"We got a little worried when nobody followed but soon had PSP Logistics on our tail.”

In the overall standings Sanya Serenity Coast, skippered by Australian Wendy Tuck, has a convincing lead of 13 points.

Tuck and her crew have dominated the ocean sprint throughout the ocean odyssey and now have a total of eight wins up their sleeve.

Qingdao is currently placed second and Visit Seattle rounds out the top three yachts as the fleet heads to New York.