Clipper Race: Qingdao wins Race 7
Published on March 4th, 2020
(March 4, 2020; Day 10) – Qingdao retains its place at the top of the overall leaderboard with its fourth win of the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race.
Qingdao held off stiff competition, crossing the Race 7 finish line first today at 19:05:37UTC, ahead of Unicef which crossed at 19:44:26UTC to take second place. Qingdao also collected six bonus points from the Scoring Gates.
As a result of the slower progress made by the fleet along the western Philippines, Race 7 concluded at Mandatory Finish Gate 2 with all teams declaring their times while crossing the gate.
Having led from the front Chris Brooks, Skipper of Qingdao said: “It feels absolutely amazing to top the podium for a fourth time. It’s hard to find words to describe it, I am so happy to have been able to lead a fantastic team, and nice to be able to pull it out again.”
Brooks noted how the pressure from second placed Unicef was a blessing and a curse: “It definitely keeps the team focused but do we make more mistakes under pressure? I think potentially yes but in this race we’ve managed to hold it together.
“It certainly adds a huge amount of pressure to see a boat behind you and you know that one mistake and it could all be over in terms of achieving the top spot. They were fantastic competition, it’s so nice to have another boat to give you that challenge, keeps you really concentrating.”
A return to the podium after a disappointing Race 6 has invigorated the Unicef crew. The team will add 10 race points plus four bonus points to its total.
“We finished eleventh in the last race, so to come back strong here just proves that we can do it,” said Unicef skipper Ian Wiggin. “We were unlucky in the last one, but our self-belief is well deserved, and we should be confident going forward.
“The boat is running well, the equipment is being looked after and the team is really working well together trying to tune the boat and to pushing each other, it’s a really nice place to live. We’ve got some big legs coming up so to have that attitude and focus on the boat is very encouraging for us.”
The 1600nm Race 7 started downwind with the fleet in close quarters with each team hoping to make the most out of each gust in the Luzon Strait and it was the inshore route which paid off. Once clear of the island, the wind was on the nose as the teams had a hard beat towards the northern part of the course off Taiwan.
Midway through the race, the fleet was spread from east to west before converging to round the western most Japanese Ryukyu Islands. By this point Qingdao and Unicef had carved out a lead and with the increased wind in the second half the chasing pack could not close the gap.
Race 7 included two scoring gates; virtual gates where the first yacht to pass through gets three bonus points, second receiving two and third awarded one.
The wind and weather conditions contrived to present the opportunity for the leading teams to pass through the Scoring Gate East and then gybe, head due west and then pass through the Scoring gate West, thereby scooping up even more bonus points. Qingdao adds six, Unicef collects four and Visit Sanya, China picks up two points to add to their overall tallies.
With the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint results to be revealed tomorrow, more points could still be added to these victorious teams’ results.
Completing the podium, Imagine your Korea secured third place, crossing the finish line at 00:04:38UTC, making it a hat-trick for podium positions across the race edition.
Taking ten days, Race 7 concludes Leg 5 after the Clipper 2019-20 Race route was amended following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The fleet will be berthed in Subic Bay Yacht Club while the route for Race 9 and 10 is assessed in light of the health situation.
Course change: The fifth leg was to be divided into three races (6, 7, 8), with the first race to finish in Sanya, China. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, a course change was enacted and the fleet finished in Subic Bay, Philippines. Additionally, Races 7 and 8 were combined to avoid the Race 8 finish port of Zhuhai, China.
Starting on February 25, the course for Race 7 now takes the fleet north from the Philippines, across the Luzon Strait and around the western most cluster of the Japanese Ryukyu Islands before returning to Subic Bay for the finish. The combined race is expected to take 8-10 days.
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