Another podium for Qingdao - winner of Race 11: #SailConnected with SENA

22 May 2024

After 19 days of racing and 2,800nm, today at 16:06:24 UTC, Qingdao crossed the finish line to win Race 11: #SailConnected with SENA by the narrowest of margins. After a tight battle with Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, the Chinese team entry was able to creep ahead after swapping between first and second place, to keep hold of a lead until the finish.

Image: Race Viewer as Qingdao crossed Mandatory Finish Gate 2

This is the second time that Qingdao has topped the leaderboard in the circumnavigation so far, and is its third consecutive podium finish.

Says Race Skipper Phil Quinn, reporting from the Finish Line: “Hi to all from the finish of Race 11, Seattle to Panama. So we’ve just finished Race 11 after an epic battle with Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam. A lot of hard work went into winning this race. The crew have been brilliant at keeping the boat moving through the light winds. Hats off to them.

“Thanks to Bob, Cam and the crew of Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam for a fantastic race and keeping us on our toes every second of the way.”

Image: Brendan Wilde at the helm on Race 11

The decision was made by the Clipper Race Committee this morning, on 22 May, that Race 11: #SailConnected with SENA, would end at Mandatory Finish Gate 2. This race offers a unique challenge on the circuit, as there are six Mandatory Finish Gates in place along the race route in the run up to the Finish Line. These are in place due to the fickle and ever-lightening breeze as the fleet sails south into the doldrums. Any of the Mandatory Finish Gates could have been selected as a finish line by the Race Committee. This is so the fleet doesn’t end up getting stuck in zero wind and can make its transit through the Panama Canal.

Mark Light, Clipper Race Director, explained: “The decision when to finish Race 11 is always tricky with balancing weather forecasts, distances to go, fuel and motoring capabilities, as well as looking ahead to the likely Panama Canal transit dates and our overall Race Schedule.”

Predominantly a downwind race, teams have been flying spinnakers around the clock. Experiencing the rolling swells in the North Pacific after leaving Seattle, to the more sedate sea states when the wind started to drop and temperatures started to rise as they progressed further south the crews experienced a huge variety of conditions. A leg also known for its wildlife demonstrations, it has not disappointed with orca sightings, frequent dolphin displays, spectacular bird visits and even the odd flying fish and squid to keep the Race Crew alert.

Tactically a tricky race, avid watchers of the Race Viewer will have seen the almost daily fluctuations of positions as each team navigated south. As racing continues, second place onward, with what is looking like a tight battle for third, is all still to be decided. Will the inshore routing tactic pay off for the easterly group or will Washington, DC and Bekezela make moves up the leaderboard despite looking to be in an area of lighter wind?

Once all teams have finished they will motor sail towards Panama, a refuel pitstop is being planned in Costa Rica on the way. The fleet is expected to arrive in Flamenco Marina, Panama between 29 May - 1 June where preparations will be made for the canal crossing ahead of the start of Race 12 to Washington, DC.

Keep the refresh button ready for the Race Viewer as it's going to be a busy final 24 hours of Race 11.

Join The Race