After an unforgettable stopover in Da Nang, the Clipper Race crew is turning its attention to Qingdao, China where an exciting and eventful visit awaits at the end of Race 8, The Sailing City • Qingdao Cup.

The Olympic sailing city is famed for putting on a spectacular welcome for the fleet arrivals which is well rehearsed by our longest standing Team Sponsor and Host Port. This is the Clipper Race’s sixth visit to Qingdao where the current fleet of matched 70 foot racing yachts was built.

With over 23,000 nautical miles already travelled, the shortest route from Da Nang to Qingdao is approximately 1700 nM, but given the weather, tide and sea state conditions that lie in wait, the teams could end up recording a much higher mileage as they tack their way upwind.

This race has particular significance to Skipper Bob Beggs and his Qingdao team, who are looking forward to racing to their home port. Bob says: “I have never been to China before and I cannot think of a better way to arrive than sailing into Qingdao, celebrated for its role in the Beijing 2008 Games, on board a Qingdao sponsored yacht with crew members from the city. This is the race that we are most excited about as a crew and we are going out to win it. We have a strong team who are determined to do the city and themselves proud.”

The Sailing City • Qingdao Cup has the potential to be the most challenging of the 14-race series so far as the teams face a long beat, as Sir Robin Knox-Johnston explains: “This is going to be a bash. You go up north of here and level with Taiwan and you’ll be getting waves without anything behind them so the boat slams down. That’s when you get winds and tides working against each other, but the winds tend to come from the north, right across northern Russia and Mongolia so they are very, very cold. There will be sleet and snow, crew really do need all the warm clothing they can find.

“I remember a couple of races back, a chap coming up to me in Qingdao and he was a bit weather beaten. He said, “That was the toughest thing I’ve ever done but I feel like a real sailor now.” I thought, “You certainly are”.”

The Ocean Sprint course has been set between the lines of longitude 22N and 25N, which on the map is close to the full length of Taiwan.

As is usually the case, the Scoring Gate is slightly off the rhumb line, meaning teams will have to decide if they are prepared to sacrifice their race position for a chance to take the extra points on offer. For Race 8, the gate is positioned between 29 00.000 N / 123 30.000 E and 29 00.000 E / 124 00.000 E.

With the fleet due to arrive in a fortnight’s time, Qingdao sends a welcome message to their team and the Clipper Race crew as a whole:

“We’re very proud that The Sailing City • Qingdao Cup is the first time that Qingdao is naming a race from an internationally renowned racing event.

“During the upcoming Qingdao stopover, to welcome and treat our Clipper Race ocean warriors, we will host a number of exciting events including special welcome ceremonies for each team, a first-class prize-giving ceremony, a local school visit and cultural tours. We have even organized a football tournament that crew can partake in along with Clipper Race staff. By participating in these events and activities, you’ll be able to experience some of the genuine Chinese culture, traditions and local folkways.

“We would also like to encourage and welcome all Clipper Race crew to capture exciting and memorable moments during Qingdao stopover by either taking photos, or composing short text stories to share these with us, which will certainly help the world get to know Qingdao from a diverse perspective.

“And last, but not least, we wish Qingdao and all other teams fair winds and a safe journey on this home-coming race. We look forward to welcoming you all in Qingdao!”

The Sailing City • Qingdao Cup starts with an inshore race off Da Nang Beach and the fleet is expected to arrive in Qingdao between 10 and 13 March. Arrival ceremonies will be held during daylight hours to ensure all teams receive the very best welcome to China.

The outline of departure day programme from Da Nang tomorrow (Saturday 27 February) is:

1000 Departure ceremony begins

1100 First yacht slips lines

1200 Parade of sail begins

1615 Race Start

To find out more about Qingdao click here.

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