Chinese Clipper entry Qingdao gets the red carpet treatment in home port

After a difficult 22 days at sea the crew of the Qingdao has received a hero’s welcome at their home port – despite crossing the finishing line last at Fushan Bay.

Huge crowds lined the harbour on Saturday 25 February to welcome the team as they completed the Singapore to China stretch on Leg 5 of the round-the-world yacht race.

“The first clue that something was happening was when we could hear the drumming from all the way outside the harbour wall,” said Qingdao skipper Ian Conchie.

“We couldn’t even see the pontoon that we had to moor on, because there were so many people on it, it was almost under water. The reception was just amazing.”

Departing from Singapore at the beginning of Race 8, Qingdao opted for a more westerly route than the rest of the fleet, along with Welcome to Yorkshire, who managed to overtake the Chinese entry at the last hurdle.

“Whatever we did on this race – nothing seemed to work for us. Looking at the weather files that came through, we were making good decisions, but then the weather just didn’t appear,” said Ian.

“It’s a real shame we couldn’t keep fighting Welcome to Yorkshire all the way to the end, but after the damage we inflicted to the boat coming up through the Luzon Straits, I had a few concerns about the rigging, so I had to back off the speed quite a severe amount, just to make sure we got the boat and crew here safely, undamaged and ready for the next leg crossing the mighty Pacific.”

Race 8 has been a challenge for all Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race entries that have been arriving in port since Wednesday.

De Lage Landen took lead position for the first time, despite crossing the finish line 23 minutes after Geraldton Western Australia, after the Race Committee granted a 7-hour redress in recognition of the help the Dutch boat had provided to Gold Coast Australia during a medical emergency.

The overall leaderboard now sees Singapore moving up one place to fourth position and Geraldton Western Australia in sixth place.
The Clipper 11-12 fleet will be hosted in Qingdao until 4 March, when they will set off from China on the longest stage of the 40,000-mile race, across the Pacific Ocean to California, USA.

Overall standings after Race 8

1 Gold Coast Australia              83 points

2 Visit Finland                          59 points

3 De Lage Landen                    57 points

4 Singapore                             46 points

5 New York                              44 points

6 Geraldton Western Australia   43 points

7 Derry-Londonderry                 40 points

8 Welcome to Yorkshire            39 points

9 Qingdao                                35 points

10 Edinburgh Inspiring Capital   17 points