Race 11 has been an exceptionally close contest, with a nail biting wait over the past few days for the final results. This elapsed time race saw the fleet frontrunners neck and neck over the stage’s multiple Finish Gates and Qingdao making fast progress after starting the race later than the rest of the teams.

Now that all teams have crossed Finish Gate 3, the Clipper Race team has calculated each yacht’s elapsed time result and can announce that Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam has taken first place in Race 11: Seattle Pacific Challenge.

Close behind was Punta del Este scooping second place, followed by GoToBermuda in third position.

The results were incredibly close, with just over an hour separating the top two spots, despite it being a 3078nm slog from the Le Mans Start line to Finish Gate 3. Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam nabbed the top position, completing the race in 431 hours:18 minutes:53 seconds. Hot on its heels, Punta del Este logged an elapsed time of 432 hours:39 minutes:17 seconds. Third placed GoToBermuda, which had also been in the leading pack for the whole race finished the race in an impressive 433 hours: 5 minutes:27 seconds.

Mr Pham Ngoc Thuy, Director of Quang Ninh Department of Tourism, congratulated Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam on the win: “It is amazing! Congratulations to the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam racing team for taking the first place in Race 11. Right from the start of the 2019-20 race, you have always brought us the best experiences and the best achievements also. Quang Ninh Province admires the team's confidence and performance skills. We would like to express our congratulations and deep thanks to the entire racing team, especially the talented Skipper Josh Stickland. We know that this success does not come to you overnight, but you must have worked very hard, determined to be united and this is what makes it even more special.

“The 2019-20 race is still on. We hope you all take good care of your health to prepare for the next journey. We are sure that our Ha Long Bay – Vietnam racing team will always shine bright. Congratulations to you all!”

After a race of fickle and sometimes no wind, searing temperatures and incredible tactics, the fleet put on a great show for those watching at home with numerous battles for the Finish Gates, and immensely close racing. The first stage of Leg 7: The USA Coast-to-Coast Leg has been a mix of chilly temperatures as the fleet left Seattle, warming up immensely as the fleet progressed south along the west coast of the USA and Mexico.

Says Deputy Race Director, Dale Smyth: “This race is a really interesting one. When it's good downwind sailing, the fleet is all evenly matched but as they get more and more into the fickle stuff, it becomes pretty interesting and tactical. But incredibly on the race in hand, we had three or four, sometimes five boats that were really neck and neck through Finish Gate 1, 2 and finally on Finish Gate 3. The positions chopped and changed - a very tight race, right to the end.

“Congratulations to Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam for consistently striving in fickle winds and for the team’s persistence that paid off and secured them the top podium position. The teams all gave us an exciting race to watch and kept us on the edge of our seats until the closing hours.

“Having competed in this stage of the edition myself, I know how relentless it can be, with the Mexican coastline seeming endless. The teams have to cope with tricky conditions and searing heat so a big well done to all the fleet.”

Yacht Club Punta del Este Commodore, Juan Etcheverrito said: “As this edition of the Clipper Race is coming closer to an end, we, here at Yacht Club Punta del Este are so amazed by the performance of our yellow beauty always exploring tactics and being on the limit, despite the cold, the heat, the tiredness… over and over again they keep making our land staying so exciting!”

The Race Committee made the call to end the race on Mandatory Finish Gate 3, just off the coast of Guatemala. Race 11 differs from other stages of the circumnavigation as it has five Mandatory Finish Gates which the yachts must cross. These virtual gates are present on the latter section of the race course as the stretch past Central America to Panama is notorious for fickle wind due to the doldrums or ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone). The fleet also has to make its designated transit time which needs to be booked in advance of the fleet’s arrival into Flamenco Bay Marina.

The full results for Race 11: Seattle Pacific Challenge are as follows:

Elapsed time

Position Team Hrs:Mins:Secs

1 Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam 431:18:53

2 Punta del Este 432:39:17

3 GoToBermuda 433:05:27

4 WTC Logistics 433:18:51

5 Unicef 438:54:00

6 Visit Sanya, China 442:11:38

7 Zhuhai 449:05:00

8 Dare to Lead 454:22:35

9 Qingdao 457:22:20

10 Seattle 515:32:15

11 Imagine your Korea 517:07:47


Once the teams crossed Finish Gate 3 they are permitted to motor-sail toward Panama, in time for the scheduled Panama Canal crossing. Each team will be making a pit-stop in Costa Rica to refuel. To see the team’s ETAs into Flamenco Island Marina please click here.

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