Race 9 to Qingdao is underway after a Le Mans rolling start off Singapore at 0730 local time today.
The race to China’s Olympic sailing city is one of contrasts. The fleet is still suffering with steamy temperatures, fairly calm seas and light winds, but once it reaches Taiwanese waters it can expect the winds to increase to 30 - 40 knots with a very rough sea state creating demanding headwind conditions.
Temperatures will plummet as the teams enter the Yellow Sea in the Northern Hemisphere winter, thick fog is likely and the yachts will encounter the biggest fishing fleet in the world.
PSP Logistics skipper Chris Hollis describes the first 10 hours of the race: “We had a great start, charging out in third position. It took a few hours for the fleet to fall in to sequence, but I am happy to report that we have held fast and sailed well so far as the fleet is spreading out.
“It is important to set yourself up for the first night and hang in there with the lead bunch, especially in an upwind race, as small gains or losses are normally expanded on in night one.”
Vicky Ellis, skipper of Switzerland, describes her preparations for Race 9.
“The team on Switzerland embarked upon an extensive “slamming-proofing Heidi” programme in Singapore, to prepare our boat (and ourselves!) for the infamous conditions that this race will present.
“Now we are off again and we are currently pelting along under a sunny sky past the Anambas Islands in a good breeze. We are only six hours into Race 9 but it is as tense as ever again. Henri Lloyd and its squeaky bottom seem to be stealing the lead already with GREAT Britain hot on our tail. Qingdao is pushing well.
“It's going to be an exciting race full of twists and turns and whilst its destined to be mostly upwind, life on the high side isn't bad, once you get used to it!”