The City of Qingdao has sent a message of congratulations to their team today, currently battling the 'Roaring Forties' in the Southern Ocean.
Not only are they leading Race 4 and have today picked up three extra points by reaching the scoring gate first, but this also puts them in serious contention to challenge for a podium position in the overall rankings.
The day was made even more special for Qingdao based round-the-world crew member, Vicky Song, who celebrated her birthday today, when officials organised a surprise Satphone call with her mum who is currently in hospital.
Mr. Liu Yu, Executive Secretary General of Qingdao Major International Sailing Events (Festivals) Organizing Committee said: “It is a special day for the 8.5 million people in Qingdao today. The Qingdao yacht is fighting its way in the Clipper Race to get into a podium position at the moment; and local Qingdao girl Vicky Song is also having her 31st birthday. We would like to give our highest regards to all the Qingdao crew and Happy Birthday to Vicky Song!
“The fearless and fighting attitude of the yacht demonstrates the enterprising spirit of Qingdao people and presents to the world its strong will to build a better maritime city. It’s believed that the international recognition and reputation of the Sailing City of Qingdao, as the way to promote maritime culture and blue economy, is surely to be enhanced by the Qingdao yacht sailing round the globe in the Clipper Race.
“We expect the Qingdao yacht to further its glory, and we are looking forward to welcoming it home next year!”
Vicky Song will become the first Chinese woman to circumnavigate the planet in an ocean race, when she completes the eleven month marathon on the finish line in London on 12 July 2014.
On celebrating her 31st birthday today, Vicky commented: “Being in the lead is the best birthday gift I could receive. This is a very hard challenge. Although we are amateur sailors, we are racing in the same tough conditions as the professionals. Only this week we battled violent storms and hurricane force gusts of wind in mountainous seas to maintain our lead.”
Founder and Chairman of the Clipper Race, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, sent a personal message to Qingdao, saying: “Congratulations to Qingdao and to Vicky. The Qingdao team deserves its current lead – they have earned if through hard teamwork and good seamanship."
The latest edition of the Clipper Race will reach Qingdao in early March 2014.
At the moment Qingdao is just three points behind a podium position and has a strong lead in the current race which has seen it pick up an extra three points this morning by crossing the scoring gate in the Southern Ocean first - another birthday ‘gift’ for Vicky.