Fast boat to China earns Londonderry Clipper back-to-back win

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Skipper Daniel Smith said the crew of the Derry~Londonderry~Doire pushed themselves and the boat to its limits in horrendous weather in the South China and Yellow Seas to clinch victory in the eighth leg of the Clipper race from Vietnam to China on Thursday.

The Derry~Londonderry~Doire recorded an impressive back-to-back, clean sweep win in the Clipper 2015-16 Race after taking line honours in The Sailing City - Qingdao Cup following twelve days of racing from Vietnam to China.

Skipper Smith and his team took a maximum 17 points for being first across the line at 1425 local time (0625 UTC), first through the Scoring Gate and for recording the fastest time in the Ocean Sprint.

The points haul means that Derry~Londonderry~Doire will also move up to second place in the overall standings, overtaking GREAT Britain but still trailing leader LMAX Exchange.

The Sailing City - Qingdao Cup promised to be a rough ride in tough upwind conditions and the final days in particular the Yellow Sea lived up to the billing, as the fleet was hit by a stronger than forecasted storm which brought violent wind gusts of 80 knots.

Skipper Daniel reported: “The wind eased into the night and the Yankee 1 was hoisted after a short sleep keeping myself fresh for the finish. The on-watch were putting reefs in and it soon became so windy the Yankee 3 had to go back up. Later the reverse happened and the crew re-hoisted the old sail. This happened again twice through the night pushing a tired crew to the limit.

“Throughout this race the crew has done a fantastic job, pushing themselves and the boat to its limit and rarely complaining despite horrendous weather. They really deserve a good result and the points they have earned at the Scoring Gate and the Ocean Sprint. They have now proved they can sail upwind (which we struggled with) as well as downwind and that they can keep pushing when the going gets tough,” he continued.

“Garmin has been pushing us hard and several times has been gaining on us and eating away the mileage. This has been a tough race.”