Vicky Song makes history as the first Chinese female sailor to circumnavigate the globe, and the Qingdao team finishes 7th in the Clipper Round the World race as they reached St Katharine’s Docks in London on July 13, 2014. Vicky was one of the first to embrace sailing in Qingdao. She became a very important figure in sailing education in Qingdao, known as China’s “Sailing City”. The Qingdao yacht has participated in 5 straight Clipper competitions, and is the longest running entry in the Round the World race.
The race has been instrumental in popularising sailing in Qingdao as well as promoting the city’s name around the world. Many Qingdao ren have been inspired to take up sailing as a result, and quite a few have been aboard a Clipper yacht as part of the race. Learn more about signing up to take part below. Find out more about Vicky (Song Kun) from the Qingdao Daily via the Women of China site.
Applications are being accepted and training is already underway for the tenth edition of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, starting summer 2015.
Guo Chuan, the first Chinese man to sail around the world, and Xu Lijia, winner of the sailing gold at the 2012 London Olympics, were on hand to welcome Vicky to London and help her celebrate the world first achievement. Vicky was honoured in Qingdao on International Women’s Day in 2014. Watch her story here and here.
More on Vicky Song from the Women of China website translation of a Qingdao Daily article:
“Song Kun became the first Chinese woman to sail around the world after arriving at St Katharine’s Docks in London on July 13, 2014. Song, 31, from Qingdao in east China’s Shandong Province, attended the 2013-14 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which started in London on September 1, 2013.
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is an amateur competition and the world’s longest ocean race, covering a total distance of 40,000 miles, 14 ports of call on six continents, and taking nearly a year to complete. Song sailed by Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Singapore, China, the United States, Jamaica, Holland and other countries sailing the Qingdao Yacht during her voyage, which arrived back in London at the end.
Since Guo Chuan competed in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race as the first Chinese citizen back in 2005, more than 30 Chinese citizens have successively realized their dreams of voyaging around the world by competing in the race. Song Kun is the first Chinese sailor to have completed the whole race.
This is the fifth time that the Qingdao Yacht has competed in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Song Kun also attended the Atlantic stretch with the Qingdao Yacht in the 2012-13 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, during which she gained a lot of experience for this year’s race.
The Qingdao Yacht finished the last race in ninth place at 4:21 on July 13 Beijing Time and ranked seventh out of the 12 yachts in the standings of the whole race. Song told a reporter that she is in perfect state both physically and mentally now and will stay in London for several days with her team members to do maintenance work on the Qingdao Yacht. Then she and her members will return to Qingdao on July 24.”
(Source: Qingdao Daily/Translated by Women of China)
More details from the Clipper website:
The Chinese entry competing in the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race arrived back in London yesterday as thousands of spectators lined the Thames eager to get a glimpse of the 12-strong international fleet after it conquered Mother Nature’s toughest conditions.
“Qingdao took part in an impressive Parade of Sail in front of Tower Bridge as tens of thousands of spectators, friends and family cheered on the team as they arrived safely back to St Katharine Docks where it all began 11 months earlier. The Chinese entry also made history when round the world crew member Vicky Song became the first Chinese woman to complete a circumnavigation.
Meanwhile, crowds gathered to see Vicky Song take to the stage as the first Chinese female to sail around the world. The Qingdao official delegation, led by Mr. Ji Gaoshang, Director General of Qingdao Municipal Bureau of Sports, attended the whole Race Finish to celebrate the victory of the teams and expressed a warm welcome and congratulations. He also presented the crew with a special decorative scroll to commemorate their achievement.
In addition, Guo Chuan, the first Chinese man to sail solo around the world, and Lijia Xu, the Chinese Gold Olympic Medalist in sailing in the 2012 London Olympics. Friends and families of Qingdao girls Song Kun and Li Jun were on hand to welcome them home. Overwhelmed by the reception, Vicky fought back tears as she tried to comprehend her huge achievement.
“This is an incredible moment for me and my family. There were times when I thought I wouldn’t be able to complete this incredible challenge – it’s not just about the sailing but also the psychological side of it too. When you live and breathe in a space that is 70 foot in length for so long sharing it with so many people, it really tests you as a person.”
After 40,000 miles Vicky couldn’t wait to speak to the one person who has been her inspiration to never give up during her epic global challenge. Vicky’s mum – who is battling terminal liver cancer back in Qingdao, China – remains her biggest supporter.
Vicky added: “To be stood here now, I can say for certain it was all worth it. It’s been so difficult being so far away from my mum, but she’s also the reason why I am here now – we always say to each other, never give up. I can’t wait to call my mum now and tell her officially – I’ve done it!”
Qingdao finished in seventh place overall, just eight points behind its closest rival Old Pulteney.
The city of Qingdao and the Clipper Race have been in cooperation for 10 years, the longest partnership in the race history. Both parties enjoy great benefits from the cooperation. Mr. Ji Said, “With the continuous hosting of the Clipper Round the World Race, QINGDAO, the brand of Sailing City of China, has been greatly improved in China and around the world. We look forward to welcome the Clipper Race fleet to Qingdao again in the 2015-16 edition.”
Photo credit: Clipper Round the World Race Official Website