Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet continue on day 21 of race 8 from Singapore to Qingdao. It has been another day of celebration in China’s sailing city, Qingdao, as Welcome to Yorkshire crossed the finish line in Fushan Bay at 0203 UTC. The team was greeted by more dancers, drummers and fireworks as they stepped ashore at the end of the gruelling race from Singapore.
'What an awesome welcome. I’d seen the receptions the crews had got in previous races, but when you actually receive it yourself, it feels much more intense,' said skipper, Rupert Dean.
'I’m very proud to be representing Welcome to Yorkshire here and we’re looking forward to a thoroughly deserved break for myself and my crew.
'It’s been a very tough race. We had a strategy from the off and that was to stick more westerly than the rest of the pack. We were expecting as we left Singapore that the boats to the east would run into light winds. Unfortunately for us, they didn’t, so we had to play quite a lot of catch-up from there on and we had quite a tough trip along the east coast of Taiwan. We managed to claw back some sort of result as we managed to pass Qingdao. I feel a little bit guilty in a way for ruining their party, but that is just ocean racing for you – it’s a war out there!
'We worked really hard and the crew have pulled together very well – they’ve done Yorkshire proud and we are very relieved to be here in Qingdao. We know we are capable of a better result – we have the abilities, we just have to get a new opportunity and prove to the world what we can do in the next legs ahead.'
With 30 miles to go to the finish line, the last of the ten 68-foot yachts competing in the world’s longest ocean race, Qingdao, will be welcomed to the Olympic Sailing Center tomorrow. As the home boat, the welcome will be extra special. It will also be an unforgettable weekend for skipper, Ian Conchie, who celebrates his 40th birthday today.
And what a way to spend it.
'The crew woke me with breakfast and a chorus of happy birthday, chocolates and a card which has made my day and I am about to tuck into a Kit Kat cake they’ve made, complete with 40 spelled out in white Kit Kat bars!' reveals Ian.
'It’s been another interesting night. The wind was up and down between 20 and 35 knots, needing lots of sail changes to try and keep us moving as best we can. With the sea state and the wind we are still being cautious with our sail plan as we don't want to over stress the mast and rigging after finding the slack we reported yesterday. So far it’s all good and after chatting to the maintenance team it should be a simple retune to sort it.
'This morning unfortunately the wind dropped right off and left us drifting around with the sails flogging back and forth but we are under way again now beating towards Qingdao.'
In the meantime the teams who are already in port have been deep cleaning their yachts and carrying out the routine maintenance that is required to keep the yachts in prime racing condition.
The Clipper 11-12 fleet will be hosted by Qingdao until 4 March, when they will set off from China on the longest stage of the 40,000-mile race, across the Pacific Ocean to California, USA. Positions at 1200 UTC, Friday 24 February Boat DTF*
1 De Lage Landen Finished 1651 21 February (elapsed time adjusted for redress)
2 Geraldton Western Australia Finished 2328 21 February
3 Gold Coast Australia Finished 0143 22 February
4 Singapore Finished 0427 22 February
5 Visit Finland Finished 0834 22 February
6 Derry-Londonderry Finished 1015 22 February
7 New York Finished 1230 22 February
8 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital Finished 1415 22 February
9 Welcome to Yorkshire Finished 0203 24 February
10 Qingdao 30nm (DTL** +30nm)
*DTF = Distance to Finish, **DTL = Distance to Leader. Full positions are updated every three hours and can be found at online
. Clipper Round the World Yacht Race website