After an extended and well earned break in Airlie Beach, the Clipper Race fleet will be back racing on Monday with their eyes firmly set on Vietnam in the Da Nang New Discovery of Asia Race.
Teams will travel 4,310 nautical miles through Indonesia and Papua New Guinea in the first of two races in this Asia Pacific Challenge Leg.
First time Host Port and Team Sponsor Da Nang – Viet Nam eagerly awaits the arrival of the fleet between 17 – 21 February, and preparations are well underway as excitement builds in Vietnam’s third largest city. Eager to increase tourism and trade in the city and throughout the country, the People’s Committee in Da Nang explain what it means to them to host the Clipper Race:
“This is the first time Da Nang, Vietnam has been a Host Port in the Clipper Race. It is a wonderful experience for the people of Da Nang because we are going out to the race’s global network and encouraging others to come and discover what an exciting destination Da Nang has become.
“We have decided to name Race 7 The Da Nang New Discovery of Asia Race because we hope it matches the positive experience that Clipper Race crew and supporters will have in the city throughout the stopover next month.
The People’s Committee added: “We are very proud that Da Nang was voted the Top Destination on the Rise by Tripadvisor in 2015. Therefore, we believe that we have chosen a suitable name which also compliments the adventurous nature of the Clipper Race, and we extend our dearest invitation to everyone to come and explore the beauty of Da Nang.”
With half of the Clipper 2015-16 Race legs now complete, this race to Da Nang is of particular significance to Skipper Wendy Tuck and the Da Nang – Viet Nam crew. Summing up the feelings of her team ahead of the departure for Vietnam, Wendy says: “This is the race we have been waiting for since we left London. For me personally, it is going to be emotional leaving my home country of Australia but it’s equally as exciting to be heading to our home port of Da Nang in Vietnam.
“Throughout our journey so far, we have had ambassadors, delegates and representatives from Vietnam visit us in almost every port. The enthusiasm of the Vietnamese people for the Clipper Race and support they have given our team is spurring us on to continue our recent b performances. We hope to do them proud in The Da Nang New Discovery of Asia Race and throughout our stay in the city when we are looking forward to learning about the culture and experience all it has to offer.”
Joining the Da Nang – Viet Nam crew in Airlie Beach is Nguyen Tran Minh An, a 27 year old Tug Boat driver from Cẩm LệDistrict in the city. Despite spending his life working on the water around the city, Minh An had never sailed until he was selected to by the Da Nang People’s Committee to be their ambassador in the Clipper Race.
Minh An, who completed his four weeks of training in Sydney, says he is excited to be back in Australia to start his race: ““I feel very happy and excited to be finally joining the Clipper Race here in Australia. I’ve just met my team and my Skipper Wendy Tuck who have already made me feel very welcome. I’m proud to be representing my city on the Da Nang – Viet Nam team and I hope I can teach all the crew and my Skipper and team many good things about my home and my country.
“When we arrive, the people in Da Nang and my family will make everyone feel really welcome,” Minh An (pictured with team mates Bridget Keevil and Suzanne Tomkinson) continues. “Everyone there is really looking forward to hosting the whole Clipper Race fleet so it will be a great experience.”
With a tough beat north into prevailing winds as they depart and head up the Queensland coast and the wildness of the Northern Territories, the Clipper Race fleet will cross the Equator for the second time since leaving London.
This race will test the navigation skills of the teams as they try to work out the best route through the remote communities in Papua New Guinea and into the Pacific Ocean for the first time. With the Scoring Gate situated at position 02° 41.00S /152 52.00E and 02° 41.00S /152 52.500E,teams will have to decide whether the bonus points on offer are worth the gamble, while the Ocean Sprint between the lines of latitude 121E and 116E and will again mean two extra points for the fastest boat through this course.
On the approach to Vietnam, the fleet will take advantage of the north east monsoon winds. Spinnakers will be hoisted as the teams charge towards an impressive, highly anticipated welcome in Da Nang where a series of celebrations and festivals are planned for the crew.
The Da Nang New Discovery of Asia Race starts in Australia on 18 January with the fleet is expected to arrive in Da Nang between between 17 – 21 February 2016 as part of the Asia-Pacific leg. The Clipper Race fleet and more than 200 crew will stay in the city until they are due to depart on 27 February.