Zhuhai sails into Cape Town in third place

09 November 2023

Sailing into into the Mother City in third place was Zhuhai, gaining the team its first podium result of the Clipper 2023-24 Race.

The team, representing the Chinese city of Zhuhai, which the fleet will visit in March 2024, was in the lead pack for much of the race, regularly battling neck and neck with Dare To Lead. On this friendly but competitive rivalry, round-the-worlder on Zhuhai, Claire Thomas, said: “It was always touch and go. We’d get ahead and then Dare To Lead overtook us, it was really exciting. Occasionally we could see them on the horizon. We are so proud. We worked really, really hard. Lots of tough watches, lots of sail changes but WE ARE HERE!”

Image: Happy crew as they arrive into Cape Town securing third place

Today, Zhuhai had the same challenging and windless conditions the first two teams had faced on the last few miles into Cape Town. Table Mountain was in touching distance (or seemed like it) for many hours, but at 18:09:06 UTC the team crossed the finish line – taking a closely fought and coveted third position.

Zhuhai AQP, Mike Davies, was all smiles as he jumped off his boat and onto the pontoon to greet his parents Lian and Michael, who had flown out to see him. On the first podium for the team, Mike said: “I am so, so happy and it’s great to be here. They pushed hard throughout and to see all the big smiles on their faces makes it all worth it.” On Yacht Club Punta del Este hunting down the third place position in the final stages, Mike continued: “We kept making sail changes, kept checking the tracker to see where they were and every mile we were like yes, another little gain. We’d tell the team straight away and it made them go again.”

Chee Wah Lum, Zhuhai circumnavigator spoke of the tight bond the team had on board Leg 2 as it raced from Punta del Este to Cape Town. “Finally, we are here! It was really tough, it was cold, but everyone was really supportive. Even though it was difficult, we really had a good time. We had some moments when the wind was very strong, so it was difficult both below deck and on deck. Everyone just kept together. We have great personalities on board. Everyone is helpful and supports each other, helping each other to get through.”

In a message to the team, Race Partner Jiuzhou Group Holdings said "Although it was a long and challenging race, we have successfully finished in third place. You have demonstrated Team Zhuhai's spirit of determination and devotion, which provides courage and wisdom. In light of all your hard work and efforts, we're extremely happy and proud of everyone of you, no matter what the result is.

"At last I wish you all of you safe sailing, keeping up the good work and striving for better in the unpredictable and challenging races ahead! We look forward to seeing you on the podium!"

Next to arrive will be Yacht Club Punta del Este. At the time of writing, the team is just 7 nautical miles away from the Finish Line but in these low (low) wind conditions, it could be a few hours yet before the winners of Race 2 make the fleet four deep in Cape Town.

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