Clipper Racers are now closing in on NYC where they will celebrate both the completion of another long, ocean leg of the 44,000 mile around-the-world race and Summer Sailstice on the docks at Liberty Landing Marina in New Jersey on June 18/19. They will then depart on the 20th, a full moon solstice, for the final ocean leg across the Atlantic.
But, before all of that, they have they have Tropical Storm Colin to deal with.
That's the fleet now off the coast of the Carolinas and the 'dark blotch' is Tropical Storm Colin from the race viewer.
That's the challenge they're facing today but just a day or so ago they were enjoying warm, tropical breezes and took time out to capture some shots of their 2016 Summer Sailstice burgee as they made their way North.
Visit Seattle and Quingdao fly the 2016 Summer Sailstice colors smiling their way into the challenge ahead with Tropical Storm Colin.
The Clipper Race teams picks up the story with racers now thrashing their way towards New York in a storm:
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race crews racing to New York are preparing to battle a Tropical Storm less than 500 nautical miles from the finish line after the last nine months at sea.
Fast-moving Tropical Storm Colin is due to pass over the Clipper 2015-16 Race fleet today, delivering 60 mph winds and sustained gusts of 80 mph, off South Carolina.
The 12 international teams, competing in the world’s longest ocean race, are battening down the hatches in preparation off South Carolina having already raced 37,000 nautical miles round the globe battling the worst Mother Nature can muster since departing London in August 2015.
The teams will be available to interview upon arrival into New York this Thursday and Friday, 9 and 10 June, after their USA Coast to Coast Leg from Seattle via Panama - the penultimate stage of the extreme endurance test which takes almost a year to complete.
Clipper Race Founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, nonstop round the world in 1968/69, said 99 per cent of yachtsmen would never experience these kind of conditions in their lifetime.
“The storm is extremely fast-moving and will deliver very strong winds and a disturbed sea state. However, after 37,000 nautical miles and battling severe Southern Ocean and Pacific storms, the crews are ready for the latest challenge on the odyssey.
“As they are racing hard to the finish line in New York, they don’t have the option to go into a safe port like most yachtsmen would do in these conditions. For them, it is just another day’s work at the office battling the elements,” Sir Robin added.
The crew, many of whom have no previous sailing experience before they start their training, have already encountered everything from massive storms, yacht knockdowns, waterspouts, hurricanes and extreme heat and cold during what is the world’s longest ocean race.
There are 35 US Citizens participating in this year’s Clipper Race overall which concludes in London, UK on July 30.
They include Linda McDavitt, 69, a retired band teacher from Texas, who did pole dancing before the race to get fit before the round the world adventure.
Drake Forney, 24, a construction worker also from Texas, proposed to his girlfriend before he set off on the challenge that has already changed him forever.
Former Miss Universe Great Britain and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here winner, celebrity/model Amy Willerton will join the crew in New York to sail to London via Northern Ireland and The Netherlands. She wants to push her limits and challenge stereotypes of models.
Weight to leeward for light air - but this too will pass!