Next stop North Pacific- Clipper Race fleet departs Qingdao bound for world’s biggest ocean

27 March 2024

The Qingdao stopover is not only iconic in that it has a long-standing history with the Clipper Race and is famed for giving the fleet the biggest reception, it’s also the start port for the race across the North Pacific. Following a stopover filled with community activities, school visits, and plenty of opportunities for crew to enjoy the amazing culture in Qingdao, it was time to race again, this time taking on the biggest and toughest race of the circumnavigation. There was a tinge of trepidation among the buzzing departure day atmosphere as the teams set their focus on the upcoming race across the Mighty North Pacific.

Image: Skippers Ineke and Nano hug before heading to their boats for the epic ocean crossing

After the final preparations and briefings were completed, the eleven teams of intrepid crew enjoyed a dramatic send off and a final show-stopping display of Qingdao hospitality in the Departure Ceremony. Following speeches and gift exchanges from delegates from the Qingdao Organising Committee, and the Skipper and First Mate of Qingdao, each of the teams paraded to their yachts, with traditional drummers, dragon dancers and cheering making for a memorable send off, getting the adrenaline flowing for the race ahead.

Image: Dragon dancers at the departure ceremony

Managing Director of Clipper Ventures, Laura Ayres, said during the ceremony: “Qingdao’s vibrant culture and deep-rooted passion for sailing have made it the perfect stop on our global journey, and it comes as no surprise that you have earned the reputation as China’s Sailing City. We extend our deepest gratitude for their unwavering commitment to excellence, hosting yet another successful stopover.”

Image: UNICEF slipping lines out of the Marina

Once the team photos were snapped, lines slipped, and the yachts motored out of the iconic Olympic Sailing Centre Marina one by one. On passing the Olympic Rings, it was time for a final firework display before getting into formation for the Parade of Sail, and leaving Qingdao in the distance as the teams started their motor-sail to the Le Mans Start area.

Image: Qingdao leads the Parade of Sail out of the Olympic Sailing Centre Marina

Race 10: The Ultimate Test of Perseverance will get underway at 0800 local time (0000 UTC) on 28 March. Follow our website and social media updates, and of course the Race Viewer to keep up with the action.