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Irish Skipper Departs In All-China Clipper Yacht Race From Sanya To Qingdao

5th March 2018, Skippered by Irish Yachtsman Conall Morrison, who was recently named the Irish Sailor for December by, got off to a solid start to the 1,700 nautical mile race to Qingdao., Skippered by Irish Yachtsman Conall Morrison, who was recently named the Irish Sailor for December by, got off to a solid start to the 1,700 nautical mile race to Qingdao.

The final section of the Asia-Pacific Leg 5, officially known as Race 8: The Sailing City Qingdao Cup, has got underway following the inaugural Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Stopover in Sanya, China.

Sanya, which made its debut on the Clipper 2017-18 Race route, lived up to its reputation for putting on a spectacular show with a final departure ceremony for the Clipper Race fleet that included three performances, including the lion dance, and a speech from Sanya’s Deputy Mayor, Mayor Xu. She said: “Sanya’s tropical climate and clean, warm waters make it the perfect place to host large international yacht races like the Clipper Race and these events will help the popularity of sailing flourish.

“The Sanya Government has spared no efforts to ensure the Clipper Race partnership is a big success and we look forward to welcoming the Clipper Race back in the future!”

After slipping lines at Sanya Serenity Marina, the only Asian Marina to hold the Marina Industries Platinum Five Gold Anchor status, and the highest possible level of accreditation, teams geared up for the race start in a steady breeze in front of Sanya’s iconic Phoenix Island., Skippered by Irish Yachtsman Conall Morrison, who was recently named the Irish Sailor for December by, got off to a solid start to the 1,700 nautical mile race to Qingdao.

Speaking shortly before Race Start, Conall said: “I’m really looking forward to this race to Qingdao though the crew probably doesn’t enjoy upwind conditions the best, so there are a few changes we’ve made from the last race, which was largely downwind light conditions, to accommodate that.”

After completing a short inshore route, which passed the Nanshan statue, the Clipper Race fleet raced away from Sanya and will navigate the Kuroshio Current as it heads north, where the scorching heat will be replaced by freezing conditions.

ClipperRace Director Mark Light said: “The majority of Race 8 is likely to be upwind conditions, certainly as they race off the East coast of Taiwan, and there is the North flowing warm Kuroshio current as well.

“The predominant north-easterly winds combined with the Kuroshio Current heading in the opposite direction, there will be wind over tide and that can create quite heavy seas and short but sharp waves.

“As the teams head further north, the heavy weather tends to be replaced by fog and that will provide a different challenge for the fleet.”

The race to Qingdao is expected to take between ten to twelve days, with the fleet expected to arrive into the Wanda Yacht Club between the 13 and 16 of March.

This will be the seventh time the Clipper Race has included Qingdao on its global racing route, with the city the longest serving partner of the race. For the first time, Clipper Race crews will berth at the newly constructed Wanda Yacht Club, a state of the art facility in western Qingdao which demonstrates how the sailing industry continues to expand in China’s Sailing City in the ten years since hosting the Beijing Olympic Games Sailing Events.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is unique in that it is the only event on the planet which trains non-professional sailors to become ocean racers. Approximately 40 per cent of crew members have never sailed before they sign up. 40,000 nautical miles in length, the circumnavigation is divided into eight legs.

Around 200 people representing 22 different nationalities and all walks of life are taking part in the race to Qingdao, including four Irish crew on board

Since the Clipper 2017-18 Race began on August 20, 2017 in Liverpool, Roseann and her team have crossed three oceans and taken part in seven races, the highlight being a win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Clipper 70 Class, which doubled as Race 5.

Following the Qingdao Stopover, the Clipper Race fleet will depart again on March 23 for the Mighty Pacific Leg 6, a 5,600 nautical mile race across the world’s biggest and remote ocean to Seattle. From there, the teams will race on to Panama, New York, Derry-Londonderry, and Liverpool, where the Clipper 2017-18 Race will finish on July 28 2018.

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