This marathon race gives crew the most variety. Sailing so far south to north and across the equator means that you’ll face the tropics with the heat and light winds associated, then approaching China you can expect below freexing conditions, up to 60mph headwinds and maybe even snow.
You will start in the the heat of the Southern Hemisphere summer up into the tropics and back across the Equator, a tricky routing challenge through the islands of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
The race can be broken down into three distinct sections. The first is the tough beat north into prevailing winds as you head up the Gold Coast, past the beauty of the Whitsunday Islands and the wildness of the Northern Territories. Section two involves crossing the Equator, with the challenges of the Doldrums and tropical temperatures, and sailing past the remote communities on Papua New Guinea and into the Pacific Ocean for real. As the race finally enters the South China Sea and takes advantage of the north east monsoon winds, the fleet will hoist spinnakers and charge towards a warm welcome in Asia.
After a relaxing stay soaking up the culture it’s back on board for a race of extremes. It starts in tropical heat and light headwinds and then, as you track north, the weather turns colder, the winds come from directly ahead and the sea state kicks up to deliver a real challenge. Thermals are added to the layers of clothing and snow might be even make an appearance as you route east of Taiwan into the East China Sea and point towards the Olympic sailing city of Qingdao.
If you watched the Against the Tide series you will get an idea of the scale of the greeting laid on for your heroic arrival and, wherever you go, autograph hunters will be keen to add your signature to their book. One of the coldest and toughest parts of the race, ends with possibly the warmest welcome.