The ten-strong international fleet crossed the start line in approximately
ten knots of breeze from the south west, flying their Yankee One headsails
at the start of the 4,400-mile race across the Pacific from China to Hawaii.
Hull & Humber managed to sneak across the line first followed by Liverpool
08, the only boat that approached the line on a port tack. Tens of thousands
of spectators lined the city¹s waterfront to watch the send-off after a
week-long visit that has generated unprecedented media attention. During the
stopover 80,000 Qingdao citizens visited the marina to view the yachts and
many of them returned to see the fleet set sail on Sunday. In sub-zero
temperatures, the ten teams tacked up to the first mark in front of the
Chinese sailing city¹s breakwater, which was crammed with local residents.
The home boat, Qingdao, managed to thrill the crowds by taking the lead as
they headed off towards the island of Chaolian Dao to the east of Qingdao.
Prior to the race restart the skippers of the ten teams competing in Clipper
07-08 were invited to attend a special farewell ceremony at the Olympic
Sailing Centre. Cloaked in the red velvet capes they received when they
arrived, the skippers were led to a large stage flanked by hundreds of
Chinese ceremonial drummers and lion dancers. Amongst the Chinese
dignitaries attending the ceremony was the Mayor of Qingdao, Mr Xia Geng,
who wished them luck on the forthcoming race: Nova Scotia celebrate arriving in Qingdao, China in 9th place of leg 6 in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race.
Today the Clipper fleet sets sail to Hawaii. On behalf of the Qingdao
Municipal Government and the Qingdao people, I would like to extend my best
wishes to the entire fleet and all onboard.
³Your arrival here has enhanced the festive atmosphere of this Olympic city
and enabled our citizens to feel once again the extraordinary charm of this
world-renowned sailing event. Qingdao is willing to be a host port for
future Clipper Races and I sincerely wish all the sailors good health.²
Each skipper was presented with a specially designed team banner before they
paraded under the Arch of Triumph and down to their boats. Skipper of the
homeport team Marcus Cholerton-Brown said:
³From what we have experienced here in Qingdao the city is well set up for
the Olympics. They have used the Clipper Race as a dress rehearsal and
everything has run incredibly smoothly. It promises to be a fantastic event
this summer which I look forward to attending.²
Following an extremely close and challenging upwind race from Singapore to
Qingdao, the next stage of the race to Hawaii is expected to deliver some
strong downwind conditions. Race 7 is the longest race of the Clipper 07-08
and promises some exciting racing as Clipper Chairman Sir Robin
³The next leg across the Pacific is a first for the Clipper Race. We have
visited Hawaii before but not from China. The route provides an interesting
challenge tactically and we will watch with interest how the skippers and
crews handle this one. The overall leader board is very close at the top and
there is everything to strive for.²
The fleet¹s stopover in Qingdao marks the second time the Clipper Race has
visited the city, giving the Olympic Sailing Committee further experience in
hosting large-scale sailing events ahead of organising the sailing events of
the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In order to give something back to Qingdao, Clipper crew members donated
their loose change in local currency to the China Yachting Association to
promote sailing for disadvantaged children in the city. Round the world crew
member on Qingdao, Gary Jessop who lives in Hong Kong, handed over a
donation of 1640 yuan (230 US$) to Wang Baoqui, Chairman of the China
Yachting Association before the fleet set sail.
Speaking at a press conference where he handed over the donation, Gary said:
³We¹ve all had a fantastic time in Qingdao and this is our chance to give
something back by helping to promote sailing to the children of this
Wang Baqui said: ³Thank you to all the Clipper crews for helping the
children of Qingdao. We will use this money to help to involve more children
Berths are now available for the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race.
For more information or to apply, contact +44 (0) 2392 526000 or email[email protected]