Clipper Race: Qingdao wins in Fremantle

Published on December 7th, 2019

(December 7, 2019; Day 20) – After the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race witnessed a three-week game of cat and mouse across the Southern latitudes between the two leading teams, it was Qingdao which clinched a narrow victory. The team, flying the flag for China’s sailing city, pipped closest rival Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam to the Race 4 finish line in Fremantle, Australia, crossing the finish line today at 18:41:35 UTC.

“It’s been an epic journey,” Qingdao Skipper Chris Brooks said. “Above anything else the weather has been challenging, just keeping positive when there is nothing but rain and grey skies. But it’s been amazing, so brilliant to come in first.”

Completing the 4,750 nautical mile course from Cape Town, South Africa, to Fremantle, Western Australia, the eleven teams, racing identical yachts, faced wind speeds of over 50mph (80km/h), freezing cold temperatures and waves as tall as apartment blocks in their bid to win the third leg.

In the final days of their race, the frontrunners Qingdao and Ha Long Bay Viet Nam, hunkered down to play their last strategic moves around incoming weather systems. Crossing the finish line just a little over an hour behind Qingdao, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam claimed a well-earnt second place on the Race 4 podium, crossing the line at 19:54:07 UTC.

Upon arrival, Skipper Josh Stickland said: “We said at the beginning we’d head east, we stayed with the pressure and fronts and it paid off. Well done to Qingdao and Imagine your Korea. They pushed us, we all pushed each other through the whole race. I have a great team to be with. Overall, it was a great race.”

The race for the final podium spot went to Imagine your Korea which, under the lead of Clipper Race Skipper Dan Smith, enjoyed its first podium result of the 40,000 mile circumnavigation so far, crossing the line today at 20:50:55 UTC.

For the arrival ETAs in Fremantle… click here.


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The 11 teams set off on November 17 for the Leg 3/Race 4 of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race, which takes the fleet 4750nm from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Australia. The majority of the fleet is due to arrive in Cape Town between December 9 and 14.

Delayed: After starting, Unicef diverted course on November 22 to Durban for crew member Andrew Toms to disembark and receive medical treatment for a suspected appendicitis, with the team returning to the race on November 27.

Collision: Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China were in Cape Town for repair after an incident at the start of Race 4 resulted in significant damage. Their race finally got underway on November 28, with a review of the facts finding Sanya, China to be at fault after a clear breach of the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) 10 ‘On Opposite Tacks’. Details.

About the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race:
The Clipper Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69. His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing; it is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors.

Held biennially, the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race gets underway September 1 for the fleet of eleven identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. This 12th edition has attracted 688 crew representing 43 nationalities for the 41,000+ nm course. The race finishes on August 8.

The course is divided into 8 legs and 15 individual races, with some of the crew in for the entire circumnavigation while others will do individual legs. The team having the best cumulative score over the entire course will win the Clipper Race Trophy.

The Clipper 2019-20 Race Route:
The fleet departs from London, UK to Portimão, Portugal; across the Atlantic to Punta del Este, Uruguay; the South Atlantic to Cape Town, South Africa; across the Southern Ocean’s Roaring Forties to Fremantle, Western Australia; around to the Whitsundays on the east coast of Australia, back into the Northern Hemisphere to China where teams will race to Qingdao, via Sanya and Zhuhai; across the mighty North Pacific to Seattle, USA; to New York via the famous Panama Canal; to Bermuda and then it’s a final Atlantic crossing to Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland; before arriving back to London as fully proven ocean racers.

Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race



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