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World largest Clipper Race sailors to race in Ha Long Bay 

 Monday, February 19,2024

AsemconnectVietnam - The iconic Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is coming to Ha Long Bay, Vietnam’s northeastern province of Quang Ninh, for the first time in its history on February 21 with the dramatic arrival of the world's largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts.

 The UNESCO world heritage bay has been selected as one of the ports on the competition's epic 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation which gathers over 700 crew members.

The 2023-24 race began in late summer 2023. The route is divided into eight legs and 16 individual races including six ocean crossings. Sailors can choose to complete the full circumnavigation or select one or multiple legs.

Yachts left the Coral Sea Marina Resort in Queensland, Australia on February 14 and are due to arrive at Ha Long Bay on February 21 before departing for Jiuzhou Port in Guangdong, China on March 2.

Entitled Endless Discovery in Ha Long Bay, the Vietnamese destination is on the fifth leg within the Asia-Pacific Challenge, where sailors will take part in the race and different activities during the 10-day event.

Among participants, skipper Josh Stickland will guide team Ha Long Bay – Vietnam into its home port amidst the stunning backdrop of Ha Long Bay.

A clipper was named “Ha Long Bay – Vietnam” at a ceremony held in London following a cooperation agreement between the Quang Ninh provincial People's Committee and Clipper Ventures on August 29, 2019.

The host crew gathers about 60 members of different nationalities from 27 to 73 years old. They will take turns to compete in different legs.
“We're reaching the midway point, and it's been five years in the making for me to get to Vietnam. So, I just hope we finish in a good position and do the partner justice," Stickland said.

“As a team we have had a lot of ups and downs which has shown in our results, the team have grown and become self-sufficient at running the boat, which is all I can ask for. I’m really happy with where they are and how they are managing the boat, so hopefully we can show that in the results."

After four legs, Ha Long Bay – Vietnam placed sixth with 40 points.

Supporters and tourists can follow the event by visiting the Clipper Race Fanzone, where they can learn about this incredible adventure and how they can get involved.

The fanzone will also feature the Quang Ninh Tourism and Agriculture Products Exhibition, where visitors can discover the rich culture and natural beauty of this province, sample local delicacies such as seafood, honey, tea and wine, as well as learn about the various travel programmes that Quang Ninh offers.

They are also suggested to bring family to step on board a Clipper 70 stripped down ocean racing yacht; and take an above and below deck tour with the crew that will call these yachts home for the next seven months.

On deck, they can test their skills on one of the eleven winches that hoist the sails up the 29m mast and explore the Nav Station, galley, bunks and stowage to see where the 20 race crew members live when off watch.

On land, visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture, join in a spectacular dance display, witness the vibrant colours, rhythms and traditions of this beautiful region, as well as learn about the provincial history and people.

The Clipper Race was first organised in 1996 in the UK. Since then, almost 6,000 race crew from all walks of life and more than 60 nations have trained and raced in the race.

The Clipper Race is the only competition in the world where the organisers supply a fleet of identical racing yachts, each with a fully qualified skipper and first mate to safely guide the crew. Crews complete four levels of intense ocean racer training before they compete.

It is considered one of the biggest challenges of the natural world and an endurance test like no other./.

Source: VNA

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