‘Home team’ treated to tour of their city

23 February 2016

Since arriving in Da Nang, Vietnam Skipper Wendy Tuck and her crew have been treated like superstars, as the people of the city embrace the team sailing around the world in their name.

To give the Da Nang – Viet Nam crew a better understanding of the city and culture they are representing, the People’s Committee of Da Nang sent them on a day trip of some of the highlights of Vietnam’s third largest city.

From the tranquillity of the pagodas on Son Tra Peninsula to sampling local cuisine in a leafy restaurant decorated with Vietnamese hanging fans lanterns, the crew was guided around landmarks and educated on the city’s history.

Kirsty Mohun-Smith, 45, from the UK who is doing Legs 3, 4, 5 & 8 says: “The highlights for me were the Champ Museum and the Son Tra Peninsula where the big Buddha statue is.

“We saw loads of pagodas throughout the day and many caves, as well. The whole day was really, really good. The guide we had was perfect, spoke excellent English and gave us lots of information on Vietnamese customs.

“The funniest thing was that wherever we went we were treated like film stars. Loads of people were taking pictures of us, including Vietnamese TV and newspapers. Of course, we had Minh An with us, the Da Nang – Viet Nam ambassador who sailed with us on Leg 5, and he is like a superstar here so that was really quite funny.

“It was a perfect day and really generous of the city to do it and take us to places we might not necessarily have got to on our own.”

After the team’s visit to the Bodhisattva of Mercy, a 67 metre high statue that overlooks Da Nang Beach, Minh An presented Skipper Wendy with a miniature replica of the Lady Buddha. Aboard the specially branded Da Nang – Viet Nam bus, the Da Nang native thanked his Skipper: “Wendy, I am very proud to be able to show you around the city that is my home. I was supported one hundred per cent on board throughout the race and it is an experience that will stay with me forever. Thank you Wendy and all of my teammates for making me feel so welcome in this very special event. This Lady Buddha is my small way of saying thank you.”

After the tour, British round the world crew member Lara Sword, 33, talked about one of the other places they visited: “It was really informative and everyone was absolutely lovely. We went to the Cham Sculpture Museum which was really cool. It has sculptures from as far back as the seventh century and some of the exhibitions celebrate the Hindu communities here. There was a big focus on female fertility which was interesting.”

Before returning to the boats to adorn their traditional ‘Ai Doi’ clothing ahead of the prize-giving ceremony, which was specially tailored for each crew member and hand-made within 48 hours in nearby Hoi An, the bus stopped alongside the Dragon Bridge where the city had installed a model Da Nang – Viet Nam yacht.

Swedish crew member Kat Svedjefalt, 40, who is also half way through her circumnavigation of the Clipper 2015-16 Race adds: “It’s crazy, you walk down the street and it’s like we are celebrities. We are on the billboards which I just can’t get used to, but it’s wonderful. I never realised that it would be like this. All the other ports we have been to so far have been great but here you really feel like the people want you to be here.”

There are many events still taking place in Da Nang, including open boat tours on Tuesday and Wednesday.

For an up to date list on the stopover schedule, click here.

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