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Clipper 2023-24 Race: Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam wins 5,500nm race across North Pacific

by Karla Graves 24 Apr 19:20 BST

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam has claimed its fourth win on the Clipper 2023-24 Race, taking first place in the longest, and one of the toughest races on the circuit, Race 10: Ultimate Test of Perseverance - the 5,580nm North Pacific crossing.

The Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team, finished in 25 days, 19 hours, 26 minutes and 11 seconds, with the crew completing the hardest and most epic ocean crossing of the circumnavigation with a convincing 100+ mile lead over second placed Qingdao and third placed Zhuhai.

This victory comes as another in a stream of great results for the team. No other boat has won more than one race on this edition, whilst this will be the fourth top spot for the Vietnamese team entry, led by Race Skipper Bob Beggs and AQP Cameron McCracken. What's more, the team will double the eleven points scooped up for first place, having played its lucrative Joker card on this race. The team also adds a further three points to its take home after a Scoring Gate win, meaning a certain shake up of the top spots on the overall Race Standings.

Reporting from the Finish Line, Race Skipper Bob Beggs said: "What an absolute pleasure and honour to race across the mighty North Pacific Ocean (in winter) with such a focused and determined team. This race provides many challenges, and the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team met them all with courage and always with cheery smiles, great attitude and purpose."

Racing across the North Pacific is something that few sailors undertake. Spending almost 26 days at sea, this race has been a true test of perseverance and grit, as the crew on board endured freezing temperatures, big low-pressure systems, and the challenges of living on board a stripped back 70-foot racing yacht for a lengthy time, and under such tough conditions.

One of the many proud faces on board the victorious team was Scottish circumnavigator Vicki Leslie. Reflecting on the huge achievement of crossing the North Pacific, she said: "The biggest highlight was turning forty during the race, and on our fastest race day! We did something like 345 miles in 24 hours!

"This was the big one. If I had only done one leg, it would have been this one. It was really daunting because it is so iconic and one that everyone wants to win, and we are really lucky we did win! We led the whole way since the Le Mans start. It was amazing, but stressful because they are always chasing, and you are always making sure you get the decisions right."

Securing second place, and its third podium place of the race, was Qingdao which completed the race in 26 days, 18 hours, 10 minutes and 54 seconds. Henry Hallatt, AQP on board Qingdao said: "We are all massively proud of the position and how the race went in general - there will be plenty of celebrations!"

And taking the third place podium spot, Zhuhai beat the closest competitor by a mere 5 minutes to finish the race in 27 days, 9 hours, and 43 minutes. From on board Skipper, James Finney, reported: "Well that must have been one of the more stressful finishes of the race so far and a true testament to the competitiveness of this fleet! As always, I am so proud of my team for the way they sailed this race and grateful to have an AQP like Mike [Mike Davies] whose steady presence and tactical nous are a key part of this team's success."

Full results from Race 10 available on the Clipper Race Viewer.

The teams will now enjoy all that Seattle has to offer, berthed in Bell Harbour Marina until 3 May 2024, when the fleet will depart for Panama.

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