​Mission Performance and Unicef complete fleet arrivals in Da Nang

18 February 2016

We now have a full house in Da Nang, Vietnam following the arrival of Mission Performance and Unicef in the South East Asian port this morning.

Having been delayed due to weather conditions and sea state, the teams made their way up the Han River and berthed alongside the rest of the fleet where they were greeted by Vietnamese drummers on the pontoon, before parading down to the stage for the champagne ceremony.

Despite damaging its inner forestay during the crossing from The Whitsundays, Australia to Vietnam, Mission Performance managed to construct a makeshift replacement from spinnaker halyards and other equipment in order to carry on racing. Skipper Greg Miller says: “One of our watch leaders was looking at the log yesterday and realised this has actually been longer than the first leg to Rio. It has been long and arduous but despite getting stuck early on in that darned wind hole, and having a potentially race ending situation with our forestay we battled on and never gave up.

“I’m so proud of all the team who kept going, didn’t drop their heads and slowly clawed our way back from twelfth place. After some strong finishes in previous races, it reminded us of the great unpredictability of Mother Nature. Some days she works in your favour, some days not but we showed our strength of character and warrior sprit shone strongly throughout this race,” Greg added, following the team’s eleventh place finish.

As Christian McLeod on board crew Mission Performance found his land legs once again, he said: “It always feels strange to step back on land after being on the boat. You still feel like you are moving and swaying. It takes some getting used to! Everyone here seems very interested to see us and are incredibly friendly.

“It was a long trip and there is no place to hide on the boat, but we have a happy team. We get on very well, everyone works really hard and pulls their weight and there is a great spirit on board so it’s been fun too. Greg has just told us deep cleaning is postponed to tomorrow so we’re excited to explore now. A great start.”

Finishing in tenth place, Skipper Paul Atwood says: “It’s been an interesting race. It has had its tough times but overall it has been great and we had some really high times, as a team we dug deep and it all came together.

“We are very pleased to be here in Da Nang. Thank you so much to everyone who has come out to meet us. We feel very welcomed here and we are looking forward to a great few days in your city.”

Unicef crew member Gary Dawson, who is sailing from Australia to London, says: “Our arrival has been a very cool experience. From the drummers, to the locals all waiting to welcome us to the stage and everyone wanting pictures with us, we all feel really special and a bit famous. Could get used to this! The people here have clearly put a lot of effort into making us feel welcome and it is much appreciated.”

Joining the Race Team on the banks of the Han River this morning to greet the teams was Race Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. He says: “This is our first time bringing the race to both Vietnam and Da Nang and we have been looking forward to this visit with great anticipation. We have been hugely impressed with all that we have seen so far, and we’re thankful for the incredible level of hospitality that has been shown to all the teams and the race staff by everyone we have met.

“We are very much enjoying being the guests of the city and I’m sure the next few days here are going to be very memorable for everyone.”

After more than six months of hard planning, and awaiting its turn, Da Nang has joined London, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Albany, Sydney and Airlie Beach in welcoming the Clipper 2015-16 Race.

Chairman of Da Nang People’s Committee, Mr Huynh Duc Tho, told the crowds who gathered: “Being the first-time Host Port of the Clipper Race, a challenging ocean race, we are very proud and thrilled to welcome you to this vibrant coastal city. We have carefully prepared various activities as well as logistics matters in order to give the crews a comfortable stay and help them better understand the culture and people of Da Nang, Vietnam.

“With your experience and feelings in Da Nang, I hope you will be ambassadors, connecting and introducing Da Nang to your friends and family, so that the world will know more about Da Nang.”

The welcome ceremony marks the beginning of what is set to be an unforgettable stopover in Da Nang, to see what the city has lined up for the Clipper Race crew, see the schedule here.

More images to follow.

News and photos from Da Nang will be updated regularly from the different activities.

Race 8, to Qingdao, China, sets off on Saturday 27 February.

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