Boat ready to for world race

Updated: 2013-12-14 15:46


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SYDNEY-- Record-breaking Chinese boat ' Qingdao' arrived in Sydney early Friday morning, locking in third place at the fifth and most grueling stage of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

With celebrity crew-member Kun (Vicky) Song attracting much of the interest here in Sydney, the Qingdao has quietly and efficiently strengthened its position on the overall leader board after completing the fifth of a series of 16 stages in the world's longest at almost 60,000 kms.

Zig-zagging through the cruel and crystalline oceans of six continents over 11 months, all eyes remain on the intrepid Song, who will become the first Chinese woman to circumnavigate the planet by boat.

Vicky will also be aboard Qingdao to participate in the classic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR) in which the whole Clipper Race fleet of twelve matched 70 foot ocean racing yachts will debut this year.

The Sydney  Hobart is an iconic part of Australia's summer culture, with the demanding race gripping the attention of the entire nation.

Kun (Vicky) Song told Xinhua in Sydney that the crew was still recovering its collective breath after some tortuous passages in the southern oceans.

"That was a very tough race and we are a bit broken," the history-making sailor told reporters.

"The waves were big for the last few days, and the tacking was very hard. At the start of the race in Albany, we had a meeting with our skipper and we all agreed we are here to race, not to cruise. We raced hard the whole time and it paid off, so we are very happy with the second podium finish of the overall race."

When asked about the challenges of the Sydney Hobart, Song told Xinhua she was up for the challenge.

"We are going strong and that feels good. I'm also very excited about participating in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. It was good to get in the practice off Tasmania and test our skills."

The amateur crew, which includes nine Chinese, receives extensive training prior to the race and is under the command of professional skipper Gareth Glover, obviously pleased with the team's outstanding performance in challenging conditions.

"It was one of the toughest races so far; the weather was constantly changing so we had to change tactics on the spot," Glover said.

"Give me the Southern Ocean any day where you have more time to think about things and plan the tactics. The crew worked tirelessly and filled all the roles on board to get us the podium finish. I've hardly had any sleep the last 36 hours, as there have been big waves and a tough beat into Sydney."

"We are always trying to do better than our last result, and we came fourth into Albany, so we are very happy with third into Sydney and will be trying to do even better on the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race," added Glover.

The RSHYR begins in all its drama and splendor from Sydney harbor on December 26 and will form the sixth stage of the Clipper Race.

The fleet will also visit China's Qingdao in early March 2014 . The race will return to London in July 2014.

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