As the Clipper Race fleet approaches Qingdao in China, a special event was held in the city today to honour local crew member Vicky Song on International Women’s Day as she continues her quest to become the first female Chinese sailor to circumnavigate the globe during the Clipper 2013-14 Race.
The event which was organised by Madam Lin, the Chairman of Qingdao Sports Federation was attended by local business leaders, including a group of women entrepreneurs who have raised money to support cancer treatment for Vicky’s mother.
At the event, William Ward, CEO of Clipper Ventures, paid a personal tribute to Vicky who will be reunited with her mother for the first time since starting her Clipper Race challenge six months ago, when she arrives in Qingdao in the next few days:
“Vicky has experienced storms, hurricane force winds and being becalmed by no wind at all; extreme heat and freezing cold. By the time the Qingdao yacht returns to London in July, it will have sailed over 40,000 miles in the world’s longest ocean race.
“On completion, Vicky Song will become the first Chinese woman to sail around the world. A huge achievement for Vicky; for Qingdao and for China.
“It has been tough and I know at times it has been very hard for her. Thankfully we have been able to keep Vicky in touch with her mum via the boat’s satellite phone.
“Despite her illness Vicky’s mum has been a huge source of encouragement for her through their long distance conversations. Each is fighting their own personal battles: Vicky against the sea, and her mum against cancer.
“Both have vowed to each other to never give up. A fighting spirit which must be admired. I can think of no better role models on International Women’s Day.
“And that extends to local women in Qingdao, The Union of Roses, and the many other people and organisations who have donated money to aid in the treatment of Vicky’s mum. I know it has been a great source of strength and comfort to Vicky that the people of Qingdao are supporting her mum so well at this difficult time.
“I would like to add our thanks on behalf of the entire Clipper Race for the way you have helped Vicky to continue to strive towards achieving her dream of sailing around the world. I would also like to pay tribute to the courage demonstrated by Vicky and her mother.
“It’s something we have come to experience in the Clipper Race, how the crew who take on this great challenge of sailing across oceans, and around the world, grow as people.
“They learn so much about themselves, and that even when they feel almost beaten by the harsh conditions; they find the strength, from somewhere, to battle on to the finish.”
The Clipper Race fleet is expected to arrive in Qingdao over the next few days and will depart for Race 10 on Sunday 16 March for the tough Pacific Ocean crossing to San Francisco.