After racing more than half way round the world, Qingdao has arrived home to a triumphant welcome at the brand-new Wanda Yacht Club in West Coast New Area of Qingdao, after securing fifth place in Race 8 of the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race, The Sailing City Qingdao Cup.
Qingdao, Skippered by German Yachtsman Chris Kobusch crossed the finish line 11 nautical miles off the coast of Qingdao at 04:35:42 UTC, with the corrected time of 02:40:42 due to redress, to complete the 1,700 nautical mile race from Sanya in just over ten days.
Qingdao had a rocky start to Race 8, and spent the first few days in tenth place after needing assistance from fellow Clipper Race team Nasdaq. But Qingdao quickly recovered. After jumping three places on Day 4, the team peaked in third place on Day 7. A decision to head west away from the chasing pack paid dividends with Qingdao earning three bonus points for being first across the Scoring Gate but it meant the team was unable to catch the teams in front and secure a podium position.
Skipper Chris: “Race 8 was very interesting, it was a tough start and it was upwind but then it was a nicer finish for the team and it was mostly downwind conditions and the last couple of days coming into our home port of Qingdao was amazing.
“But coming into port with the fireworks and to see all of the people who have come here to support us is incredible.”
Round the World crew member Greg Schey, a 28 year old Doctor from Wales added: “It was disappointing not to get a podium in our home port but everyone was very proud of how hard we work in the race from Sanya to Qingdao.”
All disappointment of missing out on a podium was quickly forgotten when the team arrived to a warm and colourful welcome at the Wanda Yacht Club. Fireworks announced Qingdao’s entry into the marina, with drummers, dancers and hundreds of members of the public then escorting the team to the stage, where members of the Qingdao Organising Committee, including Executive Vice President of Qingdao Olympic Sailing City Development Association/Vice President of Qingdao Major International Sailing Events(Festivals) Organizing Committee, Madam Zang AiMin, who were waiting to congratulate their team.
Madam Zang AiMin congratulates on Qingdao team: "Today is some day that should be remembered, with great anticipation from nine million Qingdao people, Qingdao Yacht has finally arrived home. Over the last 14 years, Qingdao Yacht has sailed round the world for six times, and now in the seventh time with her best performance so far, we hope that our ocean warriors will enjoy their wonderful times in Qingdao's West Coast New Area, welcome home!"
Round the World crew member Rose Todd, a 61 year old Conservation Office from the UK, said: “It is so good to have arrived into the team home port of Qingdao. We are glad to be in, the last few days and this morning, the weather really kicked off and the 30 knots that were meant to kick in did turn up in time to speed us up and get here! It’s so very cold here but the welcome has been so warm!
This is the seventh time the Clipper Race has included Qingdao as a Host Port on its global racing route, with the city the longest serving Host Port Partner of the race. It’s the first time Clipper Race fleet is berthing at the newly constructed Wanda Yacht Club, a state of the art facility in western Qingdao.
E Xianhong and Liu Yulei are the two Ambassadors representing Qingdao in the Asia Pacific Leg 5. The Ambassador program has been running since the Clipper Race first partnered with Qingdao in the 2005-06 edition of the race. It was founded as a way of promoting China’s Sailing City and event hosting capabilities, build on its Olympic legacy, and inspire the Chinese nation by encouraging future sailing participation.
Over the past 13 years, the Qingdao Ambassador programme has been a great success, producing both Guo Chuan and Vicky Song, who became the first ever Chinese woman to circumnavigate the planet when she completed in the Clipper 2013-14 Race.
E Xianhong said: “It was such a proud moment for me to sail into my home city in front of all my family and friends.
“Being a Qingdao Ambassador has been the best experience of my life. I love sailing and I love Qingdao so it is incredible to be able to combine both of my passions.”
He added: “The Qingdao team is now like my family. I couldn’t be happier to sail with my Skipper Chris and all my crew mates."
Qingdao has achieved a podium twice so far, including a third place in the previous race from the Whitsundays, Australia, to Sanya. The result in Qingdao will be enough to keep the team in second place behind Sanya Serenity Coast in the overall Clipper 2017-18 Race Standings, with five races to go.
The full Clipper Race fleet is expected to have arrived by Friday 16 March and will be berthed at the Wanda Yacht Club until Friday 23 March, when the eleven teams will embark on the Mighty Pacific Leg 6, a 5,600 nautical mile race across the North Pacific from Qingdao to Seattle. To follow the progress of the rest of the fleet to Qingdao, keep an eye on the Clipper Race Viewer and the Clipper Race Facebook Live Page. To learn more about the Stopover, visit the Qingdao Host Port Page.Join The Race