​Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam winners of Race 8: Sprint to the City of a Hundred Islands

06 March 2024

It’s third times a charm for Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam as it is named winner of Race 8: Sprint to the City of a Hundred Islands and marking its third win of the Clipper 2023-24 Race. A short, sharp sprint of just 600nm and four days of racing saw Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam play an early tactical wild card as it veered further south as it rounded Hainan Island. This was a risk that paid off as the team made great progress on the leading pack and finished 8nm ahead of its nearest competitor.

Taking the second place on the sprint to Zhuhai was Perseverance, who after an intense race secured its fourth podium of the edition. The team stormed to the top of the leader board at the Prizegiving in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.

The third podium place goes to Dare To Lead who was just 0.21nm behind Perseverance (based on the distance to the centre of the Finish Line on which the results are based). This result for the team led by Ryan Gibson, means a fourth podium position.

Full Race 8 results:

1st Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam 33.70

2nd Perseverance 41.56

3rd Dare To Lead 41.77

4th Yacht Club Punta del Este 42.15

5th Zhuhai 44.75

6th Our Isles and Oceans 45.39

7th UNICEF 45.73

8th Qingdao 46.07

9th Washington, DC 47.26

10th PSP Logistics 52.94

11th Bekezela 61.71

After close monitoring of the fleet’s progress over the past 24 hours, the Clipper Race Committee made the decision to shorten Race 8 due to a large wind hole that had developed between the fleet and the Finish Line, as well as the tidal heights that put a restriction on the fleet’s entry times to the Jiuzhou Zhuhai Marina. The race officially ended at 0000 UTC (0800 LT) today, 6 March.

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam skipper Josh Stickland said: “I’m really proud of the team, this leg they have done so well, and as we say this is a race of who can make the least mistakes, apart from the odd bad cuppa tea! A special mention to Cam who made some excellent calls on times to gybe and course shaping."

Image: Ha Long Bay team place first

Cameron McCracken, AQP on Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam added: “It was a tough race tactically with us benefiting early from a slightly out of whack forecast and taking a more southerly route around Hainan Island.

“It wasn't made comfortable by Perseverance who took a well-deserved second place and pushed us to the very last position report. Even after taking line honours, I'm not sure any number of pennants would get me to gybe up through an entire fishing fleet in light winds again! Tense! The crew really had to step up and did so in abundance so congratulations to them on their well-deserved third win of the race.”

Second place went to Perseverance. Skipper Ineke van der Weijden reported from the Finish Line: “An intense race with a frustrating finish where we saw a decent lead dwindle to nothing in very light winds. We actually don't know at this point how we did in the end, but regardless I am super proud of the team and how hard they worked until the last second.”

Scooping third place and back on the podium was Dare To Lead. Skipper, Ryan Gibson said: “We’re incredibly proud of our team and of the place we’ve finished. The crew never stopped pushing and there was so much inter-watch help with people staying up that little bit extra to help with evolutions, it was really nice to see everyone so united by the goal of doing well.

Image: Dare To Lead at the end of Race 8

“It was extremely tight racing, Yacht Club Punta del Este was less than 200m away from us for most of the night and they weren’t letting up, it was only in the morning when we just about pulled away in a gust but up until that point it was anybody’s guess who could have taken it.

“Now we’re motoring in in convoys, it’s nice to see the whole fleet regrouping and were looking forward to seeing Zhuhai!”

Fourth place went to Yacht Club Punta del Este, narrowly missing out on a spot on the podium. Race Skipper Nano Antia said: “Race 8 is now over, a short sprint of just over 600nm with wind holes, but we are used to that. 

Image: YCPE team at Race 8 Finish

“Our position on this race (4th) is relatively good but at the same time I’m heartbroken as I was wishing to give a podium to the team, especially to those crew who are ending the Race of Their Life in Zhuhai. 

“The last three hours were an incredible match race side by side with Dare To Lead, who overtook us in the last 30 minutes. The team worked hard until the end, even changing the Windseeker for our Code 1 a few moments before the end in an effort to gain just .02 miles and overtake our competitor. Yes, it was that close. Congratulations to all the team who completed the race.” 

Sailing into its home port in fifth place was Zhuhai. Skipper James Finney reported from the boat on its motor into port: “Well that was a close one! The sudden shift in priorities tactically at 0100 this morning made it very interesting, with only a few miles separating 2nd to 9th in the end. Zhuhai, Our Isles and Oceans and UNICEF all played an unbearably tense game of cat and mouse through the fishing fleet in a faltering breeze.

“Going from 9th to 5th in a day is a fantastic effort, and whilst it’s hard not to think of what could have potentially been, this has been a true test of this team’s resilience and spirit which they have shown in abundance. Once again, I’m exceptionally proud of the way everybody carried themselves in the closing stages of this very tricky race into Zhuhai.”

Image: Zhuhai at Race Finish

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