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Sailing - 18. April 2008.

Uniquely Singapore steal honours in Race 8 from Hawaii to Santa Cruz

Uniquely Singapore, has managed to steal line honours from Nova Scotia by crossing the finish line at 05:16 local (12:16 GMT) Wednesday morning at the end of Race 8 from Hawaii to Santa Cruz in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race. In a nail biting finish in light airs the Singaporean team managed to overtake Nova Scotia, the team representing the east coast province of Canada crossing less than an hour later at 05:51 local (12:51 GMT).

The crew of Uniquely Singapore arrive victorious in Santa Cruz, USA as the winners of Race 8 in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race/photo Terry Way onEdition

The victory for Uniquely Singapore, sponsored by Keppel Corporation with Singapore Tourism Board as Race Partner, marks their first win of the Clipper 07-08 Race series and their first podium position of the race so far.
Skipper Mark Preedy and his crew were clearly elated as they pulled alongside. “I’m over the moon!” exclaimed a delighted Mark. “It seemed like a lot of the crew had settled for second place at the end there until we started to see the lights of Nova Scotia on the final approach. So we kept going as we knew we had a good chance of getting closer and we kept pushing hard. We were the northerly boat so we had an advantage and when the wind died it was a bit of a free for all. They chose to fly the spinnaker whilst we went for the windseeker and the wind came round the right way for us and we took them just before the line.”

Uniquely Singapore crew member Xinmei Zheng upon arrival in Santa Cruz. The crew of Uniquely Singapore arrived victorious in Santa Cruz, USA as the winners of Race 8 in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race/photo Terry Way onEdition

A tactical decision to head north paid off for Singaporean team as they achieved more favourable wind angles and avoided the wind holes that beset the rest of the fleet further south.

Uniquely Singapore crew member Xinmei Zheng said, “I’m really, really happy that we finished this because we were actually lagging behind Nova Scotia for a while. It was really at the last minute that we pushed through and not giving up is really the point because we were just inching and it was light winds and we inched our way in. It was great, really great!”

The crew of Nova Scotia celebrate arriving in Santa Cruz, USA in 2nd place of Race 8 in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race/photo Terry Way onEdition

Uniquely Singapore was the first of the ten internationally-sponsored yachts competing in the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race to arrive in Santa Cruz at the end of the latest 2,080-mile stage from Honolulu. They were closely followed into Santa Cruz Harbour by second placed Nova Scotia and both teams were greeted by a group of local volunteers and representatives from the Santa Cruz Yacht Club, who welcomed the crews and skippers to the Californian port.
The majority of the fleet are expected to arrive over the next couple of days with the US entry, New York, expected to take the final podium position and arrive in Santa Cruz Harbour later today. Durban 2010 and Beyond and westernaustralia2011.com will complete the fleet by arriving in Santa Cruz early next week. The two southern hemisphere teams were delayed leaving Hawaii due to essential mast refit work as a result the dramatic dismasting of both yachts during Race 7 from Qingdao, China.

Clipper 07-08 is the sixth edition of the biennial Clipper Race and the Santa Cruz stopover marks the first time the race has visited a port on the west coast of the United States. During the teams’ short visit the fleet is being hosted by the Santa Cruz Yacht Club who will also host the prizegiving ceremony on Monday 21 April.

SCYC Commodore Bret Grippenstraw said, “It was great to see the boats arrive this morning and we’re really excited about being involved in the stopover. It’s a great thing for Santa Cruz and the harbour and we’re really happy to have the Clipper yachts here.”

The Clipper Race is the only round the world yacht race for non-professional sailors and the amateur crews, representing 27 different nationalities across the ten teams, are each led by a professional skipper. As well as performing the routine maintenance required to keep their ocean racing yachts in top performance condition and shopping for food for the next race, the crews will also have some time to enjoy the sights, sounds and flavours of California during the stopover.

The Californian stopover of Clipper 07-08 has also been timed to coincide with the Strictly Sail Pacific boat show, which begins today at Jack London Square, Oakland, California. The Clipper Race will be exhibiting at the show today and this coming weekend and Crew Recruitment Manager David Cusworth will be on hand explain how prospective crew members can get onboard and take on the challenge of a lifetime. To find out more about the race and how to become a crew member on Clipper 09-10 please contact David Cusworth on +1 (831) 239 5116, or email [email protected]
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