After a route change due to the coronavirus WTC Logistics won its first podium in the Clipper Round the World Race after finishing Race 6: The Sanya Tropical Paradise in dramatic fashion.
The team won the race from the Whitsundays, Australia to Subic Bay, Philippines after overtaking Qingdao and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, who finished second and third respectively, in the final 36 hours of racing. Despite being a race of 3,800nm, the first three teams eventually arrived within two hours, 37 minutes and 19 seconds of each other.
The varied tropical weather was a dominant feature in this race and it was a considerable area of light wind that disrupted the leaderboard in the final few days of racing.
WTC Logistics skipper Rich Gould said: “The last 36 hours you could cut the tension on board with a knife!
“It was a long race with some big tactical decisions. I think some of those decisions we played quite well. There was also an element of luck in it with the windholes, but the guys have been working really hard to get us to where we finished and, of course, there is also the couple of points that we picked up with the Scoring Gate. All in all, an excellent result.”
Behind WTC Logistics, Qingdao and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam both secured their fifth podium finishes of the 2019-20 edition, meaning they hold on to their respective places at the top of the overall leaderboard at the halfway point of the circumnavigation.
Skipper of Qingdao, Chris Brooks, said: “It has been a long race and a lot has been in light or no wind! I am always interested and intrigued by looking at how to try and make the boat go faster and try and find an advantage, but this race has foiled us in many ways. When there is no wind, you may know where the best place to be is, but you cannot get there.
”The Sanya Tropical Paradise Race was named in honour of Sanya as its original route was scheduled to stop in the stunning destination on Hainan Island. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, however, the visit to Sanya was postponed, but the Visit Sanya, China team brought the city’s spirit with them as they arrived into Subic Bay Marina in the Philippines in fourth after narrowly missing out on a podium by just 39 minutes and 55 seconds.
Late February saw the fleet depart from the Subic Bay Yacht Club in the Philippines for Race 7: The Lakewood Hills, Zhuhai Race. The race covered a route of 1,600nm, concluding back at Subic Bay Yacht Club in early March.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in China and subsequent quarantine imposed on travel from the country, the Clipper 2019-20 Race route has been amended. Race 7 and 8, the two remaining races of Leg 5: The Asia-Pacific Leg, have been combined to form one longer race of 8-10 days.