​Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam bags North Pacific victory

22 April 2024

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam has claimed its fourth win on the Clipper 2023-24 Race, proudly sailing across the Finish Line in first place after the longest and toughest race on the circuit.

The team finished its North Pacific Crossing in 25 days, 19 hours, 26 minutes and 11 seconds, with the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam crew completing the hardest and most epic ocean crossing of the circumnavigation with a convincing almost-150 mile lead. What’s more, the team will double the eleven points scooped up for first place, having played its lucrative Joker on this race. The team also adds a further three points to its take home after a Scoring Gate win, meaning a certain shake up of the top spots on the overall Race Standings.

This victory comes as another in a stream of great results for the team. No other boat has won more than one race on this edition, whilst this will be the fourth top spot for the Vietnamese team entry, led by Race Skipper Bob Beggs and AQP Cameron McCracken.

Racing across the North Pacific is something that few sailors undertake. Spending almost 26 days at sea, this race has been a true test of perseverance and grit, as the crew on board endured freezing temperatures, big low-pressure systems, and the challenges of living on board a stripped back 70-foot racing yacht for a lengthy time, under tough conditions.

Image: On board Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam in the North Pacific

Since the beginning of Race 10, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam established an exceptional lead, ticking off the miles until the team stormed over 250 nautical miles ahead of the rest of the fleet and blitzing through the Scoring Gate in first place, gaining those valuable bonus points.

In the final stages of the race, having so far sustained a convincing lead, fickle weather closed the gap between Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam and the chasing pack of Qingdao, UNICEF and Perseverance to 45 miles, making for a nail biting few days as the teams played their Stealth Mode tactics. However, despite it looking like it could be a close finish, the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam managed to navigate the lighter winds in its favour and sailed over the Finish Line in first place earlier today, over 150 miles ahead of its closes competitor.

Image: Race 10: The Ultimate Test of Perseverance

Reporting from the Finish Line, Skipper Bob Beggs said: “What an absolute pleasure and honour to race across the mighty North Pacific Ocean (in winter) with such a focused and determined team. This race provides many challenges, and the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team met them all with courage and always with cheery smiles, great attitude and purpose.

“My thanks to Josh Stickland for developing a strong group of individuals into an efficient racing team. Also thank you to Cameron McCracken, First Mate, for holding my hand and keeping the racing spirit alive.”

AQP Cameron McCracken said: “I said in my last blog how proud I am of the crew, and I couldn't be happier. They all thoroughly deserve this hard-fought win and to be able to put ourselves in the right place to do that for them was the best thing in the world. On top of that, to lead from start to finish is amazing, especially on such a long leg, but I think my nerves might be wrecked because of it!”

The team is now motoring toward the Emerald City of Seattle, where they can expect a warm welcome from the city, friends and family tomorrow (23 April) when they dock in Bell Harbor Marina. Follow our social channels and website for all the arrivals action.

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