Yorkshire’s race clipper heads for Panama Canal

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THE crew of Welcome to Yorkshire sailed under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco as they began the penultimate leg of the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race.

Ahead lies 5,500 miles of racing from California on the US West Coast to New York on the East via the Panama Canal.

The 10-strong fleet earlier left Jack London Square in Oakland cheered on by hundreds of fans in warm spring sunshine, while family and friends watched from the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

Morale was high on the only English entry in the race.

Skipper Rupert Dean said: “This will be a very different race with lots of different winds. We are still going to be influenced by the lows sweeping across the North Pacific at the moment and the first 72 hours we should have plenty of breeze and then they will start tailing off.

“We just have to see how much we can keep the wind and how far inshore we have to race to keep the breeze, once winds start to drop. I’ve been through to the canal two times before, and it’s an interesting journey that I’m sure the crew will very much enjoy.”

The 40,000-mile race is due to end in Southampton, where it started, on July 22.