It’s been a busy night and morning of arrivals in Airlie Beach as Clipper Race teams continued to arrive thick and fast.

Following the podium places, it was Qingdao that arrived in fourth, narrowly missing out on a spot in the top three, however, with the team achieving its highest race position yet and picking up nine race points. The team had a drag race with Perseverance until the end, finishing minutes ahead of the Dutch team entry.

Image: Qingdao crosses the finish

Skipper Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez said: “It is nice to be here, I have to say. The race was amazing. It had a bit of everything. The current was a bit of a challenge tactically, but we managed to prevail in the end. There was a little intense fight with Perseverance in the last 48 hours which kept the whole team fired up and motivated until the end. It is lovely to be here in Airlie Beach again.

“We did go nuclear! But sometimes tactics work, and tactics don’t, but everyone has a fire in their bellies, that nuclear power- pure hardcore racing!”

Jeronimo will be stepping off the yacht to hand over to new skipper Phillip Quinn. On leaving the team, he said: "It's been great to get back to the race and re-live the whole experience again. Rounding the continent of Australia is quite something. We had a range of conditions, and the team has gone from strength to strength.”

Henry Hallatt, who joined the Qingdao team as an AQP for Race 6 added: “It was so good, a great first race. We were very close as a fleet, so there was extra motivation all the time to keep up with other yachts. We were really gunning for a podium place, and we got close, so we will going extra hard on the next race as we know we can get there. The crew are amazing, and this is a winning boat, so I am excited for what is to come.”

Qingdao round the world ambassador Ziqi Wang said: “It’s been an intense six days. I think we did a really good job, and we made it in fourth place. We had a lot of different conditions in a short leg, but I like it. Now it’s going to be Leg 5 and we are getting closer to China so let’s go- I can’t wait!

Image: Happy smiles for the Qingdao team as they arrive into Airlie Beach

Next to arrive in fifth place was Perseverance, that was just pipped to the post for fourth place by Qingdao.

On arrival, Skipper Ineke Van Der Weijden said: “We had been trying to catch Qingdao for the last 36 hours, getting a little closer and then further, closer then further, keeping them on their toes. Then they almost missed the Finish Line, so we almost got them on the Finish Line, but they figured it out and got across just ahead.

“It was some very exciting racing. If you have boats close by, that’s super cool. We had PSP Logistics near us for a while too, so there were three of us together for around 24 hours. It’s been a good race. It was a highly tactical race, and if you make one mistake it's going to cost you and you don’t have time to make up for it, so that’s difficult. But all good on board, we had a good trip.”

First Mate Joss Creswell added: “It was a mixed bag of tactical calls and non-particularly tough conditions- it was a bit vanilla in terms of weather! There was a lot of straight line drag racing. What was really interesting was the difference in sail plans, and that wasn’t really paying off for either boat.”

Jacqueline Keasley, who is leaving the Perseverance team after sailing halfway around the world said: “I’d like to thank Ineke and Joss for being our guardians and instructors, keeping us safe. It’s been great. It started on 3 September, so it's been a long journey, but great highlights. I think I’ve got used to sailing now!”

Image: Perseverance arriving into Airlie Beach in fifth place

Crossing the finish line next was PSP Logistics at 20:29:38 UTC. Mike Miller said: “Sailing into Airlie Beach never ceases to amaze; it seems more beautiful each time.

Speaking about the line start that cost PSP Logistics a two-hour time penalty, meaning that the team finishes in eighth as well as sixth, Mike said: “It was a very simple mistake. The start line was organized in a series of green buoys and in the heat of excitement, I lined up against the wrong green buoy! However, the start was less stressful as we cruised out of the start of a very narrow channel! It was frustrating that we couldn’t make up those couple of hours and keep ahead, but it is what it is. We had a great race no matter what.

“We were in lockstep with Qingdao and Perseverance throughout the night, but we had some back-to-back kitemares (kite wraps) when a squall came through in the morning. We wrapped one kite, replaced it and then wrapped the next one. Then during that process, the two teams got away from us. But that’s what racing is all about, they did things better than we did.”

Arriving into his home state was Justin Howard, a circumnavigator on PSP Logistics: “It’s great to sail into my home port, I live not too far from here. It’s pretty exciting, I’ve got my family here to see me. I was pretty happy and made sure that everyone got up on deck to have a look and see what it really looks like here- I think they have all fallen in love with the place immediately.”

Fellow Queenslander Dianne McGrath added: “It’s beautiful one day, perfect the next! Last night we experienced everything from beautiful clear skies to squalls, it was crazy but fun. My partner is here which is fantastic, and it's so good to see so many people come down so early in the day to see us in!”

Image: PSP Logistics take sixth place

Next in was Yacht Club Punta del Este, crossing the finish at 20:45:09 UTC. AQP Angus Whitehead said: “It’s a step in the right direction, so we’ll move off the momentum and keep going. We had some major discussions as a team of where we need to go and what needs to happen, and everyone has stepped up!”

Nano Antia, Race Skipper on Yacht Club Punta del Este said: “We were fighting with UNICEF so much, and so it was a really good achievement for the team. It’s really proper racing in a short race like this. You are really comparing speeds, sail plans, gybing. It’s so much more exciting which is why the crew are so excited. We enjoyed sailing with UNICEF, not against them, and this time it was our turn to take the wind from them. I am super proud of Dan and Laura though.”

Image: Yacht Club Punta del Este

Next in was UNICEF, crossing the line at 20:55:28 UTC. Dan Bodey, Race Skipper commented on arrival: “It’s nice to be here! It was a tight finish! It was a short race, we came in just a mile and a half behind Yacht Club Punta del Este. It’s been really interesting seeing different tactics as well. We are super pleased that we escaped the wind hole without getting stuck. We made a bit of a mistake tactically by going offshore, but we left the back three boats well and truly behind and made a big gain on them.”

AQP Laura Hampton added: “It was a good race. We went in the stronger current, and had dreams over sailing over the others, but alas those dreams didn’t happen. It was a really hot and sticky race- Dan managed to avoid getting soaked in all of the rain though! It was a really nice race, we had beautiful spinnaker sailing for the last 24 hours under the Code 2. The team can now pretty much do everything without us now which is great.”

Image: UNICEF team take seventh place

After a lively jostle with Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, it was Dare To Lead who took ninth place, crossing the Finish Line at 06:38:49 UTC. The two teams had a great match race all the way to the line with the ninth-place position being awarded with just half a mile separating the two teams.

Image: Dare To Lead and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam racing closely until the Finish Line

Skipper Ryan Gibson said: “I’m feeling really good, We had a great battle with Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam for the past two days. It got to just a few hundred meters at the end. It really motivated the team a lot and it was such a nice thing to happen, everyone is still buzzing. It feels like we won the race! It's not the position we wanted, we had a few tactical wrong decisions, which just changed everything and got a bit unlucky with the weather. We learnt a lot on this race, the crew learnt a lot on the spinnakers, but it was still a great race and great to race with Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam”.

Image: Dare To Lead coming in ninth place

Sailing into tenth place on Race 6 was Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam crossing the Finish Line at 06:42:47 UTC on day 2 of arrivals (16 January), just four minutes behind Dare To Lead with the the team pushing hard to the very end.

Skipper Josh Stickland said: “It was a difficult race; short races are hard. The helming in the team is getting much stronger now and I can't wait to get them to do it in a longer race. I am looking forward to a rest now.”

Image: Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam in tenth place

Lastly, to complete the fleet it was Bekezela that arrived in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The team took the decision to cease racing and accept eleventh position, enabling Bekezela to motor the rest of the distance to Airlie Beach in order to maximise their time in the stopover.

On arrival, Race Skipper David Hartshorn said: "It terms of position, it was shocking really. We had some unfortunate luck with the weather but didn't do ourselves any favours. It was disappointing after the last few race results, but we are here so it's time to re-group and go from there.

"We went for the offshore option, however the weather just didn't deliver for us, as Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam and Dare To Lead discovered also. Unfortunately the teams that went inshore were in breeze all the way. It was one of those heroes and villains decisions: if it had paid off, we would have been heroes, but sadly it didn't so we are the villains. That's the way it goes unfortunately!"

Image: Bekezela team

AQP Maisie Bristow added: "Everyone has been really good and positive. But we got in and we are ready to keep going. We took a risk going offshore, so maybe next race we will look at our tactics again. But there's been improvements that the whole team have been making on this race which is great."

The eleven Clipper Race yachts are now docked in Coral Sea Marina, ready to celebrate Race 6 prizegiving tonight, and welcome the Leg 5 joiners to their teams. Follow the updates and action via our social media channels.