The significance of the day was not lost on those taking part in Clipper 09-10 as ten yachts lined up on the start line for the short sprint to Jamaica, the crew of Cork, Ireland racing together again as a single nit for the first time since their original boat ran aground in Race 5.
As the Irish team prepared to leave the marina this morning Noreen
Osborne, one of Cork's round the world crew, said, "I haven't slept a
wink. I think it's going to be exciting to get Cork out on the water. It
was a very proud moment when we came into the marina yesterday and saw
her dead ahead of us.
"We've got a full fleet leaving Shelter Bay, which is going to be pretty
awesome. It's been four months since everybody's been together in this
way and I think Cork's going to get a great reception out on the water.
I think everybody'll be a bit emotional on board and the other crews as
well; I think they're excited for us at the same time.
"It's a very different boat, it's going to take us a bit of time to get
used to the lay of the land and the way it works but we'll do our very
best to get out there and sail hard and sail fast. Hannah (Jenner, the
skipper) is really motivated and determined and says a lot of people
start to tire and slacken off at this stage but she wants to keep full
throttle on so everybody, just man up and do whatever needs to be done.
So it's going to be interesting!"
In addition, for the first race on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal
there was a palpable feeling that the 35,000-mile race is on the home
strait. There are still six races, including this one, to be contested
and competition among the fleet for the coveted podium positions and the
valuable points that come with them is stronger than ever.
The teams left the marina in drenching tropical rain and zero wind and
the race start line was set 50 miles from the coast of Panama. At 1831
local time (2331 GMT) Race 9 got underway with a Le Mans start in 15
knots of breeze from the north east.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will arrive in Kinsale around 02
July for an 8 day free festival in Kinsale and then on to Cork City for
3 days of free events from 07-09 July 2010.