The Challenge of A Lifetime Raced By People Like You

The Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race is coming to Qingdao with the fleet of internationally sponsored 68-foot ocean racing yachts expected to arrive between February 19 and 22. They will be berthed at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center for the duration of the stopover and will set sail again on March 2.

Race Six, the leg from Singapore to Qingdao, is now underway, and as of this post (01:00 am, Feb. 12) the Qingdao yacht is in 4th place for the current race, 8th place overall (Spirit of Australia is the overall leader, with Team Finland a close second). To check up on the yachts’ current positions and latest race standings, see the Race Viewer on the official Clipper Round The World website. The yachts’ positions will be plotted every three hours as they race across the world’s oceans. You can see the winds they’re expecting to encounter, get expert commentary from the Race Office and replay the race so far. Also on the site are crew diary posts as well as video and photo galleries of the race and ports called, history and background on the race, and how to sign up and take part. Check out the Qingdao team crew profile page and you may just see some QINGDAO(nese) friends of yours.

Read the Qingdao crew diaries to read more info about conditions on the yacht and the sea.

Race Office Commentary for Race 6, Singapore to Qingdao:
Brace yourself – it’s about to get a whole lot colder! Race 6 will be one of massive temperature extremes. In Singapore, located almost on the Equator, the weather is warm and humid. The monsoon season is well underway and the winds will generally be steady from the north east. This means many days of upwind sailing in high temperatures and no possibility of opening hatches as the waves will be sending spray all over the deck. And then to keep things interesting, in the first part of the race a sudden squall can develop out of nowhere bringing with it torrential rain, zero visibility and massive increases in wind strength and direction. Get caught out with too much sail up and it will be sewing machines in sweat shop conditions in order to get things sorted.

As the fleet heads further north, the heat remains until the yachts are level with Taiwan and the entrance to the Yellow Sea. Now firmly back in the northern hemisphere, the thermometer will fall suddenly in a matter of hours. Crew will go from wearing shorts and T-shirts on one watch to everything they own on the next watch as they try to keep warm.

Winds are likely to stay in the north and get stronger, bringing with them a significant wind chill. And, as the boats are trying to steer 360 on their compass, it means beating in the breeze and tacking up the race course. The crews must get used to life at an angle as the yachts heel hard over and, with a relatively shallow sea and the strong north flowing Japan current, the waves kick up to deliver a short, sharp painful sea state. Those who have sailed in a strong winter breeze up a grey English Channel in early February will have a good idea of just how tough conditions will be on board. Beating means lots of spray and, with night time temperatures dropping below zero, every item of clothing in the crews’ wardrobe will quickly be worn.

As the yachts continue north, leaving Taiwan on their port beam, the crews will be on permanent look out for shipping and for the massive Chinese fishing fleet that occupies the Yellow Sea. This is a busy part of the ocean with numerous small freighters plying their way to and from Shanghai and a good radar and on-deck watch is essential.

February 13 is Chinese New Year but, while those on shore celebrate, the crews will be at sea continuing with their battle north. As the fleet nears Qingdao the crews need to brace themselves for the most incredible welcome as they, too, join the party. Qingdao knows a thing or two about putting on major sporting events having won the rights to host the sailing events of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the crews can expect a welcome of Olympian proportions. The Clipper fleet will be berthed in the sailing facilities built for the Games and the chill in the air will be quickly forgotten as thousands of supporters cheer them in.

Sign up to take part: Clipper 11-12, it will be the world’s longest round the world yacht race – and it’s the only global event raced by people like YOU. We’ve added an eighth leg that will take the race to New Zealand and the east coast of Australia for the first time – and the new Australasian leg delivers another Great Cape for those taking part.

Relevant Links:
Race Viewer
Clipper Round The World Official Website
Qingdao Crew Profiles
More Sailing News on Clipper Round The World Race

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