Qingdao arrives home in a blaze of glory

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Qingdao arrived into China’s ‘sailing City’ today in a blaze of glory, as hundreds of spectators, well-wishers and media lined the quayside eager to get a glimpse of the crew, including local ‘celebrity’ Vicky Song, who is vying to become the first Chinese woman to circumnavigate the globe during the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race. Four further yachts also arrived during the day making nine teams in total.

On arrival Vicky Song said, “I really couldn’t believe the welcome we received. So many friends, old and new turned out to be here to see us arrive into our home port. It was truly overwhelming to see this kind of a turn out.”

Emotions were running high as Vicky, 31, from Qingdao was reunited with her mother, who is suffering from advanced liver cancer, having last seen her prior to the race start in London over six months ago in.

“When I saw my mum I just jumped in the air because I was so excited to see her here. It has been tough for me to be apart from her as an only child. However, she made it here today at the marina to meet me and I am so happy to see her. I’m really looking forward to having dinner with her tonight, so we can have some proper mother and daughter time together.” Vicky added.

Referring to her mother’s health Vicky added, “We’re both fighters; she is fighting against cancer and I’m fighting the sea, to become the first Chinese woman to circumnavigate the globe. She’s tough and I am too. The most important thing is we support each other.”

Qingdao arrived into the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center at mid-day local time. Skipper Gareth Glover, already a Clipper Race veteran after skippering the New York entry in the 2011-12 race, was cool under pressure as hundreds of photographers and fans competed for his team’s attention.

“As the Qingdao skipper this time around we got a lot of media attention especially as so many people have been following us; it feels so much bigger to us as the home boat, as we are the ones in the limelight this time around. The reception has been amazing, just like last time during the Clipper 2011-12 Race but much bigger with all the media media attention.”

The Qingdao skipper reflected on the trials and tribulations of what has been described as the most challenging leg of the Clipper Race route: “This was a tough race, I mean really tough.

“We were doing really well out of Singapore, I think we were second or third and we had devised some really good tactics, so much so that I was pretty confident that we were going to pull into first place, just before the race was called.”

With the team in high spirits, Gareth was eager to heap praise on his crew: “Everyone on the boat is here to race and they do a really good job. Everyone has been safe on board there has been no real injuries since the start of the race. It’s a credit to the crew and demonstrates their seamanship skills.”

Qingdao’s elapsed time for Race 9.1 was 6 days 14 hours 50minutes. Their final ranking, along with the rest of the fleet will be confirmed on Friday, 14 March.

Four other boats arrived into Qingdao today in spectacular style. Switzerland, Team Garmin, Henri Lloyd and Old Pulteney were all greeted with fireworks alongside the impressive Olympic rings in China’s sailing capital. To read the comments of their skippers on arrival please click here.