The Chinese entry Qingdao crossed the finish line in Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro at 0433 UTC (0133 local) to secure second place and the team’s first eleven points in the race’s 5,200 nautical mile opening leg from London.
Arriving into Marina da Gloria in the early hours, Skipper Igor Gotlibovych said: “I’m very happy. Coming second is a great achievement. The team really pulled together, never slowing down, never giving up, always focusing on boat speed and in the end it showed in the result.
“I’m not especially pleased with some of the tactical
decisions I made personally but I have no reason to doubt the performance of my
crew in any way. We know what we are capable of now and will build on this
performance further throughout the rest of the race. Our time will come.”
Qingdao steadily improved its position as the race went on. After duelling with Garmin in the early and middle stages of the race the Qingdao team, which represents China’s ‘Sailing City’ and the venue for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, moved up to second place on Day 18 and kept ahead of chasing boats including GREAT Britain ever since.
Leg 1 crew member Peter Soddy from Oxford, England, says: “What a journey we’ve been on. 27 days at sea and we experienced pretty much everything, from strong winds to no winds, high sea states, and big surfs with lots of heeling. It’s been fantastic. I would definitely do it all over again.”
As part of its sponsorship the city of Qingdao offers local sailors the chance to train and each take part in a leg of the race with the aim of inspiring increased sailing participation in China.
Shenxi Chi one of the Qingdao sponsored crew members for Race 1 summarised his experience as he said: “It has been a great honour to sail on the Qingdao yacht which represents my home town. We are really pleased with how we’ve done as a team and everyone back home is very happy with us too.
“I enjoyed the whole race, every day, every second. We had a fantastic crew and a fantastic skipper and a very excited aroma in the air. It was totally amazing.”
As the Qingdao team berthed in Rio, Chinese Clipper Race veteran Guo Chuan arrived into his home port after taking the racing trimaran Qingdao China non-stop successfully through the Arctic Ocean Northeast Passage from Murmansk to Bering Straits, for the very first time in history. Guo Chuan was the first Chinese crew member aboard Qingdao’s first entry in the Clipper Race in 2005-06.
Today is also the traditional Chinese Moon Cake Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival, when families get together to celebrate. Qingdao’s well deserved second place on the podium for Race 1 of this edition of the Clipper Rae combined with Guo Chuan's arrival into Qingdao is something to celebrate at this time. Igor said: “The crew of Qingdao would like to congratulate Guo Chuan on his record breaking achievement as he arrives at our ‘home’ port today and wish everyone best wishes for the Moon Cake Festival.”
For the crew of Qingdao Moon Cake took the form of Pizza washed down with cold beers in the early hours of Sunday morning at overlooking Guanabara Bay. After 27 days at sea this was a welcome ‘feast’ and a genuine celebration of the team’s achievements, Rio style.
GREAT Britain and Derry~Londonderry~Doire are currently battling it out fiercely for the final podium position with less than 20 miles to go to the finish line at the time of posting this report.
You can track the progress of the rest of the fleet via the Clipper Race Viewer at www.clipperroundtheworld.com/raceviewerJoin The Race