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Viet Nam tops Race 9 podium as Clipper Race 9

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam has claimed its second win of the Clipper 2019-20 Race after crossing the WTC Logistics Tri-Race finishing line in first place ahead of competitors Punta del Este and Visit Sanya, China which finished in second and third place respectively.

Crossing the finish line at the Race 9 Mandatory Finish Gate at 20.07.22 UTC on Saturday 14 March. The team, led by Skipper Josh Stickland, claimed victory after what had been a very close and competitive race.

He said: “The team are feeling good and rightly so they really got stuck in from the get go, and a big thanks for their patience with me – it was nerve wracking stuff from the end of the Ocean Sprint Gate 6 onwards. The weather conditions could not have been better for the Leg 6 crew to start their adventure. It was the classic triangle course that had all the elements of sailing up wind beam reach down wind and of course a wind hole.

“We are very happy with the second win, but we are only focusing on the next race now it’s the North Pacific and that’s all anyone is thinking about.”

Race 9 was short but sweet and was full of strategy and excitement. Without doubt, it was one of the closest races so far with the majority of the fleet staying within 25nm of each other for the duration of the offshore course. The conditions were generally good with favourable winds which resulted in some energetic and high intensity racing on all points of sail.

Light winds at the northern part of the course saw the fleet compress and saw Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam and second-placed Punta del Este, which finished at 20:29:11 UTC, take advantage of the increased wind speed after rounding the mark and entering the third sprint section.

Skipper of Punta del Este Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez said: “Race 9 was as a race as it should be with speed, good breeze, wind holes, sailing fights at close quarters and lots of change in positions.
“During the third Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint Punta del Este again fought hard with Visit Sanya, China and Unicef knowing that the inevitable frustration that comes with wind holes would impact us at some point. Whilst slowly gaining on Visit Sanya, China the crew were constantly trimming the sails day and night..Marginal gains are everything when racing a matched fleet and mistakes must be kept to a minimum. We did it in the end, holding our breath until the last minute.”

 Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam tops Race 9 podium - Clipper Race Leg 6 © Clipper Race
 Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam tops Race 9 podium – Clipper Race Leg 6 © Clipper Race

The ninth race in the Clipper 2019-20 Race edition, a 750 nautical mile race, named The WTC Logistics Tri-Race was the shortest race of the circumnavigation after the route was amended. The fleet sailed the triangular course out of Subic Bay in the Philippines into the South China sea.

Each team could opt to take part in two out of the three Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprints and Skippers had to declare their intentions within six hours of Race Start.

For the top three fastest teams in each sprint there is the added bonus of being awarded extra points – of which could make all the difference in both this races’ results as well as the overall leaderboard.

Race 9 results and finish times:

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam – 20.07.22 UTC
Punta del Este – 20:29:11 UTC
Visit Sanya, China – 20:47.32 UTC
Seattle – 21:36:28 UTC
Unicef – 21:48:06 UTC
Zhuhai – 22:38:06 UTC
WTC Logistics – 22:42:16 UTC
Go To Bermuda – 22:53:50 UTC
Dare To Lead – 22:55:50 UTC
Qingdao – 23:04:50 UTC
Imagine Your Korea – 02:54:00 UTC

by Emma Harrison

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