Clipper Race: From Vietnam to China
Published on February 27th, 2016
(February 27, 2016) – The eighth contest in the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race has gotten underway as The Sailing City • Qingdao Cup started today from Vietnam’s coastal city Da Nang, following an impressive send-off ceremony.
Visit Seattle was the first team over the line on Da Nang beach in blustery conditions, though was quickly overtaken. By the first mark LMAX Exchange was in the lead, followed by GREAT Britain, Mission Performance and Derry~Londonderry~Doire, and this order remained throughout the three mark round-the-can start before the fleet headed north-east to China.
The Sailing City • Qingdao Cup has the potential to be the most challenging of the 14-race global series so far as the teams face a long beat into the wind. Clipper Race Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston explains: “This is going to be a bash. You go up north of here and level with Taiwan and you’ll be getting waves without anything behind them so the boat slams down.
“That’s when you get winds and tides working against each other, but the winds tend to come from the north, right across northern Russia and Mongolia so they are very, very cold. There will be sleet and snow, crew really do need all the warm clothing they can find.”
Race 8 from Da Nang, Vietnam to Qingdao, China is approximately 1700nM, but given the weather, tide and sea state conditions that lie in wait, the teams could end up recording a much higher mileage as they tack their way upwind and zig-zag against head winds and challenging currents.
This race has particular significance to accomplished Qingdao Skipper Bob Beggs, 58, and his team, who are looking forward to racing to their home port. Bob says: “I have never been to China before and I cannot think of a better way to arrive than sailing into Qingdao, celebrated for its role in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, on board a Qingdao sponsored yacht with crew members from the city.
“This is the race that we are most excited about as a crew and we are going out to win it. We have a strong team who are determined to do the city and themselves proud.”
Crew member Steve Smith, 57, who raced into Qingdao previously with OneDLL during the 2013-14 race, said: “I’m looking forward to going back to Qingdao. Coming into Da Nang was fantastic but arriving into Qingdao is on a different scale entirely. It is just such a huge welcome and the people there are fantastic.
“I don’t think the guys on the team quite know what is ahead. I’m glad I am on the Qingdao boat and I’m looking forward to the welcome, it was a big reason why I chose to do this leg.
On the challenging race ahead, Steve commented from his experience: “I think I still have the bruises from the 2013-14 race. It is very bumpy and it is uphill, that is the only way to describe it. But it is a shorter race. It is a case of getting your head down and working hard and it will be tacking all the way.”
With the fleet due to arrive in Qingdao from around 10-13 March, the city sent the following message to their team and the Clipper Race crew as a whole:
“We’re very proud that The Sailing City • Qingdao Cup is the first time that Qingdao is naming a race from an internationally renowned racing event.
“During the upcoming Qingdao stopover, to welcome and treat our Clipper Race ocean warriors, we will host a number of exciting events including special welcome ceremonies for each team, a first-class prize-giving ceremony, a local school visit and cultural tours. We have even organized a football tournament that crew can partake in along with Clipper Race staff. By participating in these events and activities, you’ll be able to experience some of the genuine Chinese culture, traditions and local folkways.
“We wish Qingdao and all the other teams fair winds and a safe journey on this home-coming race. We look forward to welcoming you all to our city!”
The host of the sailing events in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is famed for its spectacular welcome for the Clipper Race fleet which is well rehearsed by the longest standing Team Sponsor and Host Port. This is the Clipper Race’s sixth visit to Qingdao where the current fleet of matched 70 foot ocean racing yachts was built.
The Clipper Race fleet has already travelled over 23,000 nautical miles in the 40,000nM global series which forms the world’s longest ocean race.
In the overall race leaderboard, LMAX Exchange leads second place GREAT Britain by six point. Northern Irish entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire is third and Garmin is fourth.
To see the overall Clipper 2015-16 Race table go to http://clipperroundtheworld.com/race/standings
Report by event media.
Background: The 40,000 mile Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race began in London, UK on August 30 for the fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The series is divided into 16 individual races, with the team with the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew.
The fleet departed on January 18 from Whitsundays, Australia for the two-part 6,985 mile course that stops in Da Nang, Vietnam before restarting on February 27 and continuing to Qingdao, China.
The ports along the race route are Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; Albany, Sydney, Hobart and Airlie Beach, Australia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Qingdao, China; Seattle, USA; Panama; New York, USA; Derry-Londonderry, Ireland; and Den Helder, Netherlands before returning to London by late July.