UNICEF places third in Race 7

18 February 2024

Day 1 of the fleet’s arrival into Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam continued with UNICEF taking third place and securing its second podium finish of the circumnavigation. The big blue boat crossed the Finish Line at 03:07:24 UTC (10:07:04 LT) on 18 February, just over two hours after first placed Qingdao, and just 1 hour, 28 minutes and 59 seconds behind second placed Zhuhai. For three teams to have placed so close together after 22 days of racing and over 4000nm sailed shows the grit and determination of these three teams to achieve a podium finish.

Image: UNICEF team photo

UNICEF Skipper, Dan Bodey, AQP Laura Hampton and the crew fought a valiant battle on the ocean racetrack, only to losing out of the second-place spot at the closing stages – with a frustrating wind hole at the end causing a tense end to its Race 7.

UNICEF was one of only two yachts which went for the Scoring Gate earlier in Race 7, with several teams giving up the hunt for Bonus Points for the north easterly trades. On the 5 February, UNICEF took the full three points on offer, just edging out Perseverance who crossed the gate less than three minutes later. These coveted points will be added to the nine race points received today for third place. In the following two days, UNICEF yoyoed from first to forth place, trading positions with Qingdao and Zhuhai, but in the end wasn’t quite able to hang on to the lead until the end.

UNICEF Skipper Dan Bodey said on arriving into port: “What a way to finish, we had a really tough battle with Qingdao and Zhuhai. The winds just shut down on all of us, so we were drifting around at three to four knots, drastically trying to get to the finish first. Unfortunately for us, Zhuhai managed to get a better line, and get in before us. It's been a good race, and we are super happy to be here with third place and being first through the Scoring Gate we’ve had a phenomenal time.

Image: UNICEF arriving in Ha Long Bay

“The whole crew, all the way from Race Start in Airlie Beach, the morale, everyone has been working really well together. You can see the round the worlders come and bring the leggers up to speed and pass their own knowledge on which has been really nice”.

UNICEF AQP Laura Hampton added: “It's been a pretty busy race, going from light winds to a crazy battle with Perseverance in the Ocean Sprint, and then we had a crazy turbo boost of around 50 knots of wind, but unfortunately, we lost the light wind battle with Zhuhai. But we are glad to be back on the podium, we haven't been here since we left the Northern Hemisphere.”

Image: UNICEF team

Andy Todd, Head of Corporate Partnerships at UNICEF UK, shared his joy for the team saying: “Congratulations to the UNICEF team for its remarkable achievement of securing third place in this race! Your unwavering dedication and collaboration were incredible to follow. It was a great team effort and thank you for all you have done to raise vital funds that will go towards improving the lives of children across the world. Here’s to the next race - well done UNICEF!”

Arrivals will continue tomorrow with Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam the next team to arrive for its homecoming welcome.