After 19 tough days at sea racing around the coast of Australia, the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team, skippered by Josh Stickland, has secured line honours in the fifth race of the global circumnavigation. The team, crewed by 16 non-professionals, took the lead on Christmas Eve and crossed the finish line in the Whitsundays at 09:23:49 UTC on 10 January.
Skipper Josh Stickland says: “It’s been a long old race this one. At the start we had a two day beat into 20-25 knots, then a lovely low pressure system zoomed us down to the bottom of Tassie, where we were met with wind hole after wind hole, then at the end we enjoyed the trades (bar the direction). It’s been a real test for me personally. I was finding decisions to be very high stake and fortunately most have paid off.”
Race 5: the Whitsundays, Heart of the Great Barrier Reef, has seen crew battling a full variety of conditions on the 3,415 nautical mile race. The teams have experienced the rolling swells, infamous huge waves and freezing temperatures of the Southern Ocean to the upwind beat, rising temperatures and variable weather systems heading north from Tasmania. The leaderboard has consistently shifted as different tactics have played out and the East Australian Current played its part in making this one of the most strategic races of the circumnavigation to date.
Race 5 is being run on elapsed time, following three teams; Punta del Este, Visit Sanya, China and Unicef departing Fremantle exactly 48h hours after the first eight. If 48 hours passes, and these teams are still racing then Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam’s first race victory in the 2019-20 edition will be secured. All race points will be critical as the team currently sits in second place on the overall leaderboard.
This, the third time the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race route has stopped in the Whitsundays, will see the return of the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival with public events taking place throughout the stopover, including the return of the White on Whitehaven, Wine & Dine Events, crocodile safaris, and Rodeo by the Reef.