The Whitsundays has delivered a feast for the senses, from the azure blue waters to the stunning natural landscapes of coast and islands, dotted with secluded beaches. Away from yacht preparations crew have enjoyed exploring the region and its wildlife, adventure activities and culinary delights. Now, it is time for Race 6, the first of three races in Leg 5: The Asia Pacific Leg.

Named the ‘Sanya Tropical Paradise’ by Sanya Organising Committee, Race 6, is a 4,380 nautical mile race from the Whitsundays, Australia to Sanya, China. The route will see the teams complete the first Le Mans start of the Clipper 2019-20 Race, cross the equator for a second time and navigate the varied conditions through the Solomon Sea, into the Pacific Ocean and towards the first Chinese stopover.

The fleet is making its way to the east side of the Great Barrier Reef to commence racing. The Le Mans start will set the fleet heading north and as the temperatures begin to soar and crew reach the equator, the breeze may drop. High levels of concentration will be needed as every tweak will affect the boat speed and a team with solid light wind sailing skills will use this to its advantage.

As teams cross the equator they will see the return of King Neptune and his court where pollywogs will soon become trusty shellback. And the fleet’s return into the northern hemisphere is likely to bring some spectacular and dynamic lightning storms, but the amazing crew won’t find the thunderbolt and lightning very, very frightening, as they will be too busy navigating their way through the passing squalls which can offer some much-needed relief from the heat.

The nature lovers amongst them will also enjoy seeing new friends in the shape of sea turtles and other intriguing creatures as marine life continues to thrill.

The scoring gate will once again feature as the first opportunity to gain crucial bonus points for the first three teams to reach it. Set off the most direct Rhumb Line route, the gate is between SG6 West at position 02°00N, 149°30E and SG6 East at position 02°00N, 150°00E. Then, the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint will follow, positioned off the north-eastern coast of the Philippines, between the lines of longitude 130°E and 125°E. The first three teams with the shortest elapsed time between the two designated positions will receive three, two and one bonus point respectively.

Teams will again be able to employ Stealth Mode once during Race 6. Stealth Mode will hide them from the rest of the fleet and is usually when tactically decisions are made. While the boat in Stealth Mode will be hidden from the rest of the fleet and the public, the Clipper Race Office will know the position and still be in constant contact with those on board.

Continuing north, the wind will start to build, and the teams will be looking to pull away as the fleet enters the North East Monsoon. The final rush will be rewarded with a spectacular welcome into the tropical paradise resort of Sanya.

As the final days pass by, the eleven boats will be fighting furiously to win Race 6 as a spectacular welcome into the tropical paradise resort of Sanya, to the award-winning Sanya Serenity Marina, awaits. This impressive marina is the only one in China that has been awarded the highest Global Gold anchor award, the Platinum Level 5 Gold Anchor accreditation.

Located on the southern tip of the breath-taking Hainan island.

Sanya Tropical Paradise Race 6 is expected to take around 26 days with the fleet estimated to arrive into Sanya’s Serenity Marina between 10 - 15 February 2020.

A warm and lively welcome is anticipated, crew will be able to take advantage of more than 25km stunning sandy beaches lined with swaying coconut palms, pristine azure waters and a fabulous choice of activities for those who want to continue with the high-octane action. For those that want to take it easy, then they’ll be able to relax on the beach with some of the local Li Shanlan liquor or a refreshing glass of coconut water.

Catch all the action on the Race Viewer, hear how the Skippers and the crew are faring via their blogs on the website and receive updates via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for email race updates here.

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Until Race Start : The Asia-Pacific Challenge