Clipper Race Departs For Qingdao, China
Published: Monday, 29 February 2016
Following a spectacular departure ceremony in Da Nang, Vietnam, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race continues with Leg 5 toward the Olympic sailing city of Qingdao.
(Dragon Bridge Parade in Da Nang, Vietnam)
Visit Seattle was the first team over the line on Da Nang beach in windy 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 northeast 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.”
The second race of Leg 5 from Da Nang, Vietnam to Qingdao, China is approximately 1,700 nautical-miles, 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 homeport.
Beggs 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.”
With the fleet due to arrive in Qingdao around March 10-13, 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.”
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-feet ocean racing yachts was built.
(Crews depart for Qingdao, China)
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 points. Northern Irish entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire is third and Garmin is fourth.
The Clipper 2015-16 Race left London on August 30, 2015 and will finish back in the British capital on July 30 this year after 11 months racing between six continents.