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China success as Clipper Round the World Yacht Race arrives in Asia

14 FEBRUARY 2020

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, crewed by non professional sailors has arrived into Asia with two Chinese teams, Qingdao and Visit Sanya, China taking two of the top four places. 

Race 6, named the Sanya Tropical Paradise Race, was won by the WTC Logistics team, but hot on its heels, in second place, was Qingdao, the team named after China’s sailing city. 

Qingdao, Skippered by British sailor Chris Brooks, is the team to beat in this global circumnavigation as there has only been one race where it hasn’t earned a podium position and has also previously won three races in a row. Qingdao battled back from a mid fleet position, never letting up until the final moments of the race, and overcame several windholes which threatened to hinder its placing.

Qingdao Major International Sailing Events (Festivals) Organising Committee sent a message to the team: “Congratulations to the Qingdao team, Skipper Chris and all the crew on getting another podium, which reinforces the team’s lead in overall standing. We would also like to thank Skipper Chris and the crew for their efforts, which have brought warmth to Qingdao in the spring. We look forward to Qingdao team’s more achievements in the following races!”

Visit Sanya, China took fourth place, narrowly missing third by just 39 minutes and 55 seconds, which is even more incredible seeing as the teams had raced over 3,800 miles from Australia. Race 6 was named in honour of Visit Sanya as its original route was scheduled to stop in the stunning destination on Hainan Island. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the visit to Sanya was postponed, however the team brought the city’s spirit with them as they arrived into Subic Bay Marina in the Philippines. 

Skipper Seumas Kellock said upon arrival: “The last 24 hours nail-biting. We were neck and neck with WTC Logistics for a while, and then we split off and out of the blue Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam and we battled with them, sadly losing out to both of them. The race has been a mixture of highs and lows; the first ten days light winds just trying to make the boat move in the right direction. Then the middle part was good strong trade winds, trucking along 260/270nm a day.” 

He continued: “This was our homecoming race, we celebrated Chinese New Year, and Guan Xi, our Round the World On Board Reporter taught the crew sayings and the crew loved it. It’s been fantastic on board.” 

The Sanya Organising Committee echoed the joy of the crew, saying: “After both peaceful moments and great disturbances in Race 6, the team crossed the equator and back to the Northern Hemisphere. They are not afraid of winds and rains, or any kind of difficulties, and showed the Sanya spirit and never gave up. All the Sanya citizens are proud. All the crew members and Skipper Seumas faced testing conditions, and made efforts to sail safe and fast.” 

The third Chinese team in the Clipper Race, Zhuhai, is sailing towards Subic Bay and is expected to arrive tomorrow. Zhuhai who is making its Clipper Race debut in the 2019-20 edition, is currently being skippered by Australian Wendy Tuck, who won the overall Clipper Race in the last edition, making her the first woman to ever win a round the world yacht race. 

Wendy, who is representing Zhuhai, the Chinese city of romance and islands, is keeping positive that there is still a good competition for the places still for the taking in this race, with every point counting. Wendy says: “There is still a lot of racing to be done to the finish line and we are concentrating on speed and sailing well.”

The Clipper Race is undoubtedly one of the greatest ocean adventures and renowned as the toughest endurance challenges on the planet. Founded in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who this month celebrated 50 years since becoming the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world, it is the only event of its kind for non-professional sailors. 

Taking almost a year to complete, it consists of eleven teams, each made up of a Skipper, Mate, and a crew who come from all over the globe and many different walks of life, competing against each other on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts. Fewer people have sailed around the world than climbed Mount Everest, and with 40 percent of crew having no previous sailing experience before signing up – the achievement is all the more incredible. 

The twelfth consecutive edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race shows sailing in China is going from strength to strength, with a record number of Chinese crew and teams taking part in the global ocean adventure.

For the first time in the 23 year history of the Clipper Race, there are three Chinese teams, with the cities of Qingdao, Sanya and Zhuhai competing against eight other teams as they race 40,000 nautical miles around the planet. 

The previous edition of the Clipper Race was a huge triumph for the Chinese entrants. Sanya capped off a memorable debut by claiming the overall win, with Skipper Wendy Tuck making history as the first female skipper to ever win a round the world yacht race. The Qingdao team continued the Chinese success by finishing third.