Busy day of Sydney arrivals

12 December 2015

The podium may be complete but four other Clipper Race teams have celebrated completing the very same achievement after arriving into Sydney today too. Five teams remain at sea, with headwinds slowing progress as they beat upwind over the final miles. Read more about the final approach into Sydney in today's Daily Update here.

Putting this tough race into perspective, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston says: “The boats and crew have done extremely well considering the very unpleasant conditions they faced on this leg. They rose to it magnificently and showed that they are the equal of any of the professionals that venture into the Southern Ocean.

“I am so proud of them and they should be proud of themselves. They have taken on the worst and shown that they can deal with it and compete at the same time. What a great introduction and preparation for the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race.”

This afternoon, Visit Seattle arrived in, crossing the line at 0435 UTC (1535 local time) in seventh place.

Skipper Huw Fernie said he was very happy to be back in Sydney where he has worked for the Clipper Race previously.

He was also pleased with his team's performance.

“The race turned into a really great one and our best result yet. The first few nights we picked up good speed, had some good tactics and went into first position," he said.

“I was not so well the first few days, and the guys really stepped up. They woke me up to say we were in first, and I just told them to keep doing what they were doing.

“Then we had a bit of a disaster with a racing headsail that took two hours, and a couple of lead boats went past us, and we never really recovered from that to get back in touch with those guys.

“Having sailed in this area before, I decided I wanted to be to the west in the Bass Strait. The two boats behind us were to the east, and we split there. For two days it looked good, and until dinner last night it looked good, then we parked up and didn’t move.

“This is our best result so far and what we have proven here is that bar six hours of light winds that were not forecast, we are in the top half of the fleet, and the team are very happy with the result,“ Huw added.

Huw will compete in his second RSHYR on December 26.

Australian Visit Seattle crew member Luke Dernedde said the mood was good on board following the team's best result yet. “We had a really good start and the first two or three days were really strong. We had Garmin around 100 metres away from us at one stage and it was really exciting as we were doing so well.

“We have all pushed hard and had quite a small crew so we are celebrating our result. It is a little bit disappointing to not be in the top five, but we are where we are and everyone is content,” Luke added.

Unicef crossed the finish line in sixth place, the team's best race position of the series, at 2346 UTC (1146 local). Skipper Martin Clough, who is leading the team for the Australian leg while Jim Prendergast is treated for kidney stones, says: "Hats off to all the team. When we've come into contact with other yachts on this race, we matched them and its given the team the confidence that they can do very well. This was a really tough challenge b I absolutely know they can be a podium team so I'm looking forward to the next two races and seeing what we can do."

Qingdao crossed the finish line in fifth place at 2108 UTC (0808 local). Of his team's strong performance, Skipper Bob Beggs said: "Since I joined the boat in Cape Town I've been working on the fact that the watches have to become cohesive and really work together to help each other and I've seen that really come together in this race. In the last few days we were placed tenth at one point so to pull it back and finish in fifth is a very commendable result."

Round the world Qingdao crew member Caroline Bowen says: "We found our mojo again in the last few days. We had the confidence that we could take the other boats. It was amazing crossing Derry~Londonderry~Doire by just two boat lengths at dusk. We saw IchorCoal, and Unicef too for a couple of days. You really feel alive out there when you see the other boats."

Mission Performance crossed the finish line in fourth place at 1817 UTC (0517 local), the first team to arrive in daylight to Rushcutters Bay, where the CYCA (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia) is based.

Clearly disappointed to miss out on his team’s first podium finish having led the fleet for a large part of this race, Skipper Greg Miller was remaining upbeat and positive as he looked forward, saying: “We are working better as a team than we have done on any other previous legs. We’re getting better results and I can feel everything progression moving in the right direction.

“It is just a matter of time for us now. Though I thought this was our podium leg, I was obviously wrong but the next one will be. We’re all raring to go for the Sydney Hobart now. We’ve got some improvement to do but this is the race where we’re going to do it. Absolutely.”

Mission Performance crew member Lucy Grimstead, from London, joined the race in Rio and is sailing through to the end of this leg in Airlie Beach. She added: “We know we can do it so we’re all hopeful we’re going to build on this momentum and we know we will climb that steep slope to the podium before too long.”

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