Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet are on day seven of race fourteen from Derry-Londonderry to Den Helder. The Chinese entry Qingdao has arrived into the Netherlands after fiercely fighting the 800 mile race from Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland in the penultimate stage of the 40,000-mile Clipper Race.
Qingdao Race 14 - Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2011-12
The Qingdao team arrived in fifth place after being overtaken by New York in the final stages. Singapore, Visit Finland and Gold Coast Australia finished in first, second and third places respectively.
The Clipper Race fleet crossed the finish line on the north coast of the Netherlands after six days at sea. Race 14 had a tough start with rough seas around the Scottish coast before wind holes opened up and a becalmed sea state turned this into a huge tactical game. Winds freshened over the last 24 hours resulting in the fleet finishing within approximately six hours of each other.
Upon arrival into Willemsoord Marina Qingdao skipper Ian Conchie said, 'We are very pleased with our fifth place. It was a great race, hard work and nice to get a good result, which makes it really interesting going into the last race.'
'Coming down through the Dogger Bank in the North Sea we had no idea where anybody else was and didn’t know whether our move going east early would work or not. It wasn’t until we were 20 miles from the finish, when boats started appearing, that we knew our position in the fleet.'
The team was welcomed to Den Helder in traditional Dutch style with a ‘jenever’ drink, herring and Dutch clogs; a colourful festival awaits them over the weekend.
Also happy to get to shore was crew member Kun Song, known to her fellow crew as Vicky. This was the first ocean crossing for the 29-year-old Chinese Club Manager from Qingdao, who joined the yacht in New York in June.
She said, 'We were so happy to get into port in fifth place. We have good results on short races, so I’m pleased we could achieve that again.
'I’m making good friends on board and they have been very encouraging about my sailing. There’s no doubt that the Clipper Race is definitely a start to getting me more on the water.
'Besides sailing, meeting people from all over the world is so cool. If it wasn’t for the Clipper Race, I would have not had the chance to see all these places in the world and teaching them more about the Chinese culture too.'
The Clipper Race fleet will leave Den Helder in the Netherlands next Thursday (19 July) for a final 260-mile sprint, arriving in Southampton on Sunday 22 July after 51 weeks of ocean racing, visiting 15 ports of call on six continents. This will complete the world’s longest ocean race, seeing around 500 people from all walks of life celebrating their remarkable achievement after nearly twelve months at sea.
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race website