The prizes have been awarded in the official 71st Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR) prizegiving ceremony where the distinctive orange shirts of Da Nang – Viet Nam were on proud display and stood out amongst the hundreds of Skippers and crew packed into the auditorium.

The event was held at the Grand Chancellor Hotel, Hobart, in the company of the Premier and Governor of Tasmania as well as other senior dignitaries and yachting legends.

Tributes were paid to the Clipper Race teams for the spirit and seamanship they demonstrated in all completing one of the hardest Sydney Hobarts in many years which saw nearly a third of the fleet, including many of the professional teams and super maxis retiring in the challenging storm which hit the fleet on its first night.

Clipper Race founder and Chairman Sir Robin-Knox Johnston said it was a huge achievement, not to be underestimated: “I think it reflects both the high quality of their training and the robust nature of the Clipper 70 design that all the boats finished without major damage or injury when so many professionals had to pull out.”

Pennants and trophies were presented to the Clipper Race podium finishers, who also had their own division within the RSHYR, by the Premier of Tasmania, The Hon Will Hodgman MHA.

LMAX Exchange and GREAT Britain took third and second places respectively, but the biggest cheers by far were reserved for our Sydney-based skipper Wendo Tuck and her bright orange team of Da Nang – Viet Nam.

Not only did Wendo and the team hold onto their lead in a very competitive Race 5 of our global series, but was 22nd over the line in the RSHYR out of the 77 remaining finishers and was placed 9th overall after handicap in the IRC Division 2 Class.

Wendo’s team were also awarded the Stormhoek Social Spirit Award, decided by public vote; the second consecutive time they have received the accolade.

Sue Fontannez of Stormhoek said the race’s Official Wine Partner had been inspired by the grit and courage of all the Clipper Race crews during the RSHYR, showing their true colours against the best. However, Da Nang Viet Nam had received a very high number of votes which reflected Wendo’s ability to create a winning team.

Sue said: “Congratulations and well deserved, Wendo, the crew and the supporters that share this well-deserved Stormhoek Social Spirit Award. A good way to finish the year in good spirit!”

And Wendy, the first Australian female Skipper in the history of the Clipper Race, was also awarded the Jane Tate Memorial Trophy for being the first female Skipper over the RSHYR finish line.

Only one other female Skipper finished the race, Lisa Blair of Climate Action Now, who competed in the Clipper 2011-12 Race with the winning team.

Mr. Huynh Duc Tho, Chairman of the Da Nang People's Committee, sent a message of congratulations to Wendy and the team.

"Congratulations to Skipper Wendy Tuck and all of the Da Nang - Viet Nam crew members on winning Race 5 from Sydney to Hobart in the Clipper 2015-16 Race series!

“The leaders and people of Da Nang are very proud and happy with your success. It shows that your efforts, optimism and team spirit have paid off. It is even more meaningful as the race started in Sydney, the hometown of our talented female Skipper.

“On behalf of Da Nang City, once again may I extend my congratulations to Wendy and our crew members. I hope team Da Nang - Viet Nam keep up your momentum, especially when the fleet is coming closer to Da Nang City," he added.

All the division winners received their trophies at the event, with Paul Clitheroe’s Balance being awarded the first IRC overall CYCA Trophy and Tattersalls Cup amongst other prizes for his team’s handicap win.

Race 6, the Henri Lloyd Hobart to Whitsundays Race, starts tomorrow (Saturday 2 January 2016) at 1100 local time (0000 UTC). The boats will slip lines at 0900 from Constitution Dock.

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