First win for Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam

10 December 2023

After an arduous 22 days at sea, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam arrived first into Fremantle, taking the win on Race 4: Marlow Roaring Forties Challenge.

Image: Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam arrives in Fremantle

Crossing the Finish Line at 23:38:56 UTC, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam put up a strong fight until the end as the team has spent the past few weeks jostling with Zhuhai and Dare To Lead in the race for the top spot. But it wouldn’t be ocean racing without a complimentary upwind beat in the final stages that gave the team its last test in the 4,700nm race from Cape Town, South Africa.

This stage of the edition is known for its extreme sailing. The team faced huge swells, challenging weather conditions and freezing temperatures on one of the longest and most testing legs of the circumnavigation.

Image: All smile as Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam arrives in Australia

This is the team’s first podium placing of the edition and it also scooped two extra points earlier in this race when it was second to pass through the Scoring Gate.

On arrival into port, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam Skipper Josh Stickland said “We are very happy with our placing and it was a good performance. We just kept doing what we were doing and it paid off. I’m so proud of the team.

“The last time I did this race, for around 3,000 miles it was upwind. The conditions on this race were more characteristic of the Roaring Forties. The big waves made the boat feel very small. This race was the first time that we got this boat properly planing- our top speeds weren’t amazing but we were consistent and balanced, going consistently 13-14 knots and had some really good surfs.”

Image: Obligatory winners champagne spray

Josh, who skippered Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam in the Clipper 2019-20 Race, has beat his own result by placing first on the race into Fremantle, after coming second on this same race on the previous edition.

Team Partner, Quang Ninh Tourism Department, said “We are extremely appreciative of the great efforts from team Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam. The team may not have had a perfect start because of many different reasons, but Josh and our team have proved that nothing is impossible.

“Congratulations to the team for arriving into Fremantle in first place. We hope that you will get blessings on Race 5 and Race 6 to Newcastle and Airlie Beach, and we look forward to welcoming you to Ha Long Bay in the coming months.”

Paddy Moran, who is circumnavigating on Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam spoke about the race on arrival in port: “It was really good! Conditions were dreamy- it was all downwind. We didn’t sail upwind until yesterday. We were just cruising downwind, surfing waves, it was amazing. The days leading up to the Finish Line, where we saw that we were maintaining then extending our lead, there was a real buzz.”

Image: Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam Race Crew Paddy Moran

The Roaring Forties (40 degrees south of latitude) is one of the most remote places on the planet, where few sailors venture. The intrepid Race Crew on board have faced winds of more than 70 knots, huge sea states and lived in solitude with no other human life for thousands of miles around. This race has been a true adventure, with the intrepid adventurers experiencing Mother Nature at her most raw and unforgiving.

It will now be a tense wait as the remainder of the fleet makes its way into Fremantle. Keep up with the latest on the Race Viewer and across the Clipper Race social media channels.