Last but certainly not least, we look back at overall Clipper 2017-18 Race winner Sanya Serenity Coast in the eleventh and final race team highlight post.

Sanya Serenity Coast was the newest Chinese Host Port and Team Partner and the team certainly made quite the impression as it burst onto the scene in its debut Clipper Race.

A competitive team from the off, Race 1 from start port, Liverpool, UK, to Punta del Este, Uruguay, saw the Sanya Serenity Coast team claim line honours on the longest single race of the circumnavigation whilst also scooping a bonus race point in the maiden scoring gate.

It will come as no surprise that the Sanya Serenity Coast became a familiar fixture on the Clipper Race podiums. In fact, during the course of the 40,000 nautical mile eleven month long endurance challenge, the team claimed six podium finishes, narrowly missing a further two, and claimed bonus points on five different Scoring Gates and four of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprints.

Sanya Serenity Coast took to the podium again when it placed third in Race 2: The Stormhoek Race to the Cape of Storms from Punta del Este, Uruguay, to Cape Town, South Africa; during Race 4 from Fremantle to Sydney, Australia, when the team led the fleet to clinch first into Wendy’s hometown; during Race 5 when it claimed second place after HotelPlanner.com redress into Hobart; during Race 8 into Qingdao when it took second place; and during Races 8 (Qingdao, China, to Seattle, USA), 9 and 11 (Panama to New York, USA) when it racked up another set of second place positions.

It wasn’t just the racing that set the team apart from others, the international diversity on board, enhanced by the Sanya Ambassador Programme, gave the team the opportunity to immerse themselves in Chinese culture, taking part in national celebrations like Chinese New Year and trying their hands at making dumplings on board.

Documenting the team’s entire experience was Ming Hao (Leg 1,3,4,5,6,7 and 8) and Wanbert (Leg 2), the on board media crew members. Always on hand to capture moments from life at sea, Ming alone took around 500 hours of raw footage, 5,000 photographs, produced 100 videos and wrote 200 blogs during his time on board.

Although a regular team on the podium, the team’s biggest reception was on arrival into its home port, Sanya, China. Arriving in the middle of the night to a hero’s welcome with a spectacular firework display, a Chinese dragon procession and welcome ceremony, Sanya really did pull out all the stops.

The maiden stopover in Sanya was a spectacle in itself and amongst extravagant welcome ceremonies, spectacular prize giving celebrations and a host of cultural and tourism events for the Sanya Serenity Coast team, Sanya showcased its exemplary sailing facilities at its five gold anchor platinum accredited Sanya Serenity Marina and world class sailing conditions when it hosted the first ever in port regatta.

A success on and off the water, the maiden full fleet in-port race, which took place on 1 March in the bay of Sanya, showed that there was huge interest in the race across China when an incredible 567,646 people tuned in live across the region. It was broadcasted live across nineteen online channels.

However it wasn’t all plain sailing for the competitive team which fell victim to redress on three occasions during the 2017-18 edition. After losing out on first place to Greenings on redress during Race 1, the team’s first place in class for Race 5, the Sydney Hobart Race, was soon replaced by HotelPlanner.com, which claimed redress for going to the assistance of another vessel. The team also missed out on a podium spot during Race 6: The Wondrous Whitsundays Race from Hobart to Sydney after infringing on an exclusion zone.

Despite the setbacks, the strong willed Sanya Serenity Coast team was able to clinch the overall lead and through a combination of hard work, determination and experienced leadership, the team was able to hold off the competition. Always on hand to keep the team on its toes, Visit Seattle was never far behind and with just four points separating the teams overall, every second counted. This was proved during the Race 4 Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint when just thirteen seconds separated the two teams.

Speaking in his final crew blog, round the worlder Mike Miller, 49, Finance Director from Windsor, UK, said: “It’s been a great aide memoire, as one looks back on the highs and lows, the scrapes, the scares and the laughter that have been so much of this extraordinary adventure around the world. We have forged a special bond between us all on Sanya Serenity Coast, and, however the results fall in the end, we will miss each other and this incredibly uncomfortable boat no end.”

This close racing kept the Clipper Race Viewer addiction fuelled right until the very end. Only after the teams crossed the Race 13 Finish Line off the coast of Liverpool, UK, had the Sanya Serenity Coast team gained enough of an advantage on the rest of the pack to claim the overall win. A significant moment for the team and the Skipper, Wendy Tuck went on to become the first woman to win a round the world yacht race and the first woman to win the Clipper Race.

Congratulations once again to the crew of Sanya Serenity Coast! Thank you for the gripping racing, the outstanding teamwork and for keeping everyone at home sufficiently addicted to the Clipper Race Viewer!

To re-live the epic Sanya Serenity Coast journey, head to the team's crew diaries page on the Clipper Race website.

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