The sixth race of the Clipper 2002 series gets underway tomorrow, Wednesday, 12 February 2003 at 12:00 Hawaiian Standard Time (22:00 GMT).
A 3,400 nautical mile race from Hawaii to Japan lies ahead for the eight-strong Clipper fleet; namely Bristol, Cape Town, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Jersey, Liverpool, London and New York.
The newly-built Ko Olina Resort and Marina is a hive of activity as the Clipper crews fettle their yachts in preparation for the start of the third crew leg from Hawaii to Hong Kong, via Yokohama and Shanghai.
Bristol Clipper clinched her first victory on the latest race of Clipper 2002 after a tactically challenging three-week battle across the eastern Pacific Ocean from Galapagos to Hawaii. Jersey Clipper maintain their lead in the overall standings.
The third crew leg of Clipper 2002 covers a distance of approximately 6,000 miles, over some seven weeks, on its way to Hong Kong via Japan and China. The adventure starts with a fast, warm downwind sleigh ride, which can see the yachts exceed 200 miles a day. As the fleet nears Japan, the race becomes tactical and the climate cools but a warm welcome awaits the crews at the Bayside Marina in Yokohama, just a short suburban train ride from Tokyo.
This will be the Clipper fleet's fourth visit to Bayside Marina, the prime marine recreational centre of the Kanazawa Waterfront Area and race organisers, Clipper Ventures Plc, have arranged a high-profile 5-day stopover for crew members and the business associates of the race.
Time is allowed at the Japanese stopover to explore the country and see Mount Fujyama before racing on again to China and a voyage up the Yangtze River.
Clipper 2002 is the only yacht race to travel up the Yangtze, where the fleet of 60-footers motor in convoy to Shanghai. Following a stopover here, hosted by the Metropolitan Marina Club of Shanghai, the race then restarts for the final stretch of this leg, sailing through the Taiwan Strait for Hong Kong and the halfway point of the eleven-month circumnavigation.
After Hong Kong the fleet will then race on to the Philippines, Singapore, Mauritius, Cape Town, Brazil and New York before the final Atlantic crossing to the Channel Island of Jersey. A short sprint back to Liverpool, via Holyhead, will ensure an especially close race finish, with an expected arrival date of 27 September 2003.