WTC Logistics clinched victory in Race 6: The Sanya Tropical Paradise from the Whitsundays, Australia to Subic Bay, Philippines in dramatic fashion. Overtaking Qingdao and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, who finished second and third respectively, in the final 36hrs of racing.
Despite being a race of 3,800 nautical miles, Race 6 saw the first three teams arrive within 2 hours, 37 minutes and 19 seconds of each other. The varied tropical weather was a dominant feature in this race and it was a considerable area of light wind that disrupted the leaderboard in the final few days of racing.
Skippered by Rich Gould, alongside first mate Dan Jones, WTC Logistics will grace the top of the Race 6 podium in what is the team’s highest ranked achievement to date. Speaking upon his arrival, Skipper Rich Gould said: “The last 36 hours you could cut the tension on board with a knife!
“It was a long race with some big tactical decisions. I think some of those decisions we played quite well. There was also an element of luck in it with the windholes, but the guys have been working really really hard to get us to where we finished and of course there is also the couple of points that we picked up with the Scoring Gate. All in all, an excellent result.
Race 6 commenced on the east side of the Great Barrier Reef, following the first Le Mans start of the 2019-20 edition, the fleet headed north as did the temperatures. A first for many, and a second time for the Clipper 2019-20 Race, the teams crossed the equator in fine style, paying tribute to the achievement as seafarers have done for centuries. Welcoming the return of King Neptune and his court where Pollywogs became trusty Shellbacks.
The doldrums brought some unnerving conditions in the shape of squalls in-between becalming sea states. As the teams headed north, the winds built, giving the crews a chance to have a thrilling ride around the Philippines coast before lightwind tactics came into play in the Luzon Strait
Race 6 also was a reflection on the overall leaderboard seeing leaders Qingdao and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam cover each other for the duration. Both securing their fifth podium finishes of the 2019-20 edition to date, meaning that they hold onto their respective places at the top of the overall leaderboard at the halfway point of the circumnavigation.
Skipper of Qingdao, Chris Brooks, said: “It’s [Race 6] been a long race and a lot has been in light or no wind! I’m always interested and intrigued by looking at how to try and make the boat go faster and try and find an advantage, but this race has foiled us in many ways. When there is no wind, you may know where the best place to be is, but you can’t get there.”
The Sanya Tropical Paradise Race was named in honour of 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 in fourth after narrowly missing out on a podium by just 39 minutes and 55 seconds.
The remaining teams are expected to finish Race 6 and arrive at Subic Bay Yacht Club over the next two days, where they will be berthed for the duration of the stopover.