Unicef and Visit Seattle capped off a busy night of arrivals in Sanya, with the two teams taking out fifth and sixth place in Race 7: The Forever Tropical Paradise Race.
Skipper Bob Beggs guided his Unicef team across the line at 03:10:17 local time on the morning of Friday 23 February (19:10:17 UTC on Thursday 22 February) to complete the 4,300 nautical mile race from the Whitsundays in Australia to Sanya in just shy of 24 days.
Whilst the scorching heat made life difficult at times, particularly those attempting to sleep down below, much of the three weeks was spent downwind, though the champagne sailing wasn’t to everyone’s taste.
“Bit flat for my liking, we didn’t spend many days on heel,” says 18-year-old British crew member Cam McCracken.
“I would have liked a bit more of the conditions we saw on Race 6 but it was ultimately a great race and it’s great to arrive here in Sanya.
“Sanya looks really modern, like the Monte Carlo of Asia, looks really lovely.”
Unicef at times dropped down the rankings, and was at one stage in eighth position. But as Australian round the world crew member John Young explains, the team fought hard to get back into the top half of the fleet and enjoyed the tough battle with Visit Seattle to the line: “We saw them a long way behind and good on them, wow did they catch up a lot of miles. We were looking over our shoulder but also trying to catch those in front, they were a little bit out of reach for us but we’ve got the next race so we will get them.”
Visit Seattle sacrificed a top placing after deciding to split from the rest of the fleet and go for the Scoring Gate. Whilst the move did pay off with three bonus points, it did result in the team falling from fourth to eighth. However, a strong fightback in the closing stages of the race saw Visit Seattle make up significant ground on the leading pack and secure a mid-fleet finish.
Skipper Nikki Henderson says: “Race 7 was long, we did not think we would be arriving with the rest fleet so that’s pretty cool. The last few days have been kind to us.
“At one point we were 300nm miles behind Qingdao which was leading at the time. Even though you have got the bonus points, is really tough to arrive a few days behind everyone else so we are really chuffed to arrive the same day.”
Round the world crew member Simon Dubois adds: “It’s been so busy, we have managed to catch up so much on the last couple of days. The crew has been working so hard, we never gave up although we were a bit further back. All goes to show It’s not over until its really over. So proud of the crew and Nikki for making a great call at the end.”
The final five teams are due to arrive in quick succession from midmorning local time. Weather permitting, all arrivals will be broadcast on the Clipper Race Facebook Live Page.
For more information about the inaugural Clipper Race Stopover in Sanya, please visit en.sanyatour.comJoin The Race