One of the milestone events of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the arrival and welcome into the Chinese sailing city of Qingdao.
Every crew member is promised a hero’s welcome into the sailing venue for the Beijing Olympics which the Clipper Race will visit for the fifth time in its history next year.
Lloyd Cosby, one of the round the world crew members on New York, said: “That was the most phenomenal experience. I’ve never seen so many people for a race welcome; thousands of cameras, bands and adoring fans looking for autographs – one of the best welcomes in the race so far.”
Teacher, Michelle McCann, a round the world crew member on Derry-Londonderry, said: “I feel like such a superstar and have never had so many photographs taken of me in my life.”
While her teammate, John Harkin, added: “We always hear about this welcome in Qingdao, but it has been very overwhelming and really hard to take in. They were calling us heroes and it’s hard to understand what all the fuss is about and that they are all here for us, but it’s a very lovely welcome.”
The Clipper Race fleet will return to Qingdao after racing from Singapore during Leg 5 of the Clipper 13-14 Race, arriving in the Chinese port in February 2014.
An entry representing Qingdao will also compete in the world’s longest yacht race for the fifth consecutive time which makes the Chinese city the longest serving sponsor to date.