Hull & Humber leads in harsh conditions to Qingdao

Qingdao weathers the storm - Clipper 07-08
This race from Singapore to Qingdao, China, is proving to be the hardest so far of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World Yacht Race.

It can be seen from the tracks on the race viewer on www.clipperroundtheworld.com that the teams are still sailing upwind towards the finish line and the northerly winds are due to continue for the near future. However it does appear that the fleet has managed to break away from the very strong winds down the Taiwan coast that battered the yachts over the weekend.

'The wind is now very patchy, going from 16 to 25 knots and the back again,' says Durban 2010 and Beyond skipper, Ricky Chalmers. 'The direction is changing also. All this is making progress very frustrating.'

Hull & Humber skipper, Danny Watson reports a, 'Long black night with oscillating wind making it quite unnerving on the helm. Temperatures are down and mid-layers and thermals dug out. Morale is very good on board.'

Hull & Humber and New York appear to have come through the weekend's heavy weather sailing most successfully, at the cost of Jamaica and Uniquely Singapore who have dropped down the leader board.

Jamaica skipper Simon Bradley says, 'Having lost the lead that we held for about 12 days we are now fighting to get it back. No doubt like the rest of the fleet we are licking our wounds after a couple of tough days, the weather took its toll on both crew and yacht, but we never give up on Jamaica - One Love!'

Two years ago during the Clipper 05-06 Race the area the fleet sailed through during this stage was a mass of Chinese fishing boats. This year the Race Committee has included some waypoints further offshore to try to keep the fleet clear of this hazard. Even Dame Ellen MacArthur, who was making a record breaking attempt around the Asian coast onboard B&Q, commented that it was the largest number of fishing boats she had ever seen. So far, based on the reports coming back from the fleet, the additional waypoints have helped reduce this hazard.

The Race Office is now established in Qingdao and the team is preparing for the fleet to finish later this week and over the weekend in time for the formal prize giving for Race 6 on Sunday night. The media office, maintenance team and the rest of the shore team will be on location at the Olympic Sailing Harbour by Thursday.

Security at the marina is extremely tight and nobody is permitted entry without a pass.

Berths are now available for the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race. For more information call +44 (0) 2392 526 000 or email oceanracer(at)clipperroundtheworld.com.

RACE POSTIONS AT 1200 GMT, 11 FEBRUARY 2008

1. Hull & Humber: Distance to Finish (DTF) 519
2. New York: DTF 503 (Distance to Leader +11)
3. Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper: DTF 540 (+21)
4. Durban 2010 and Beyond: DTF 546 (+27)
5. Jamaica: DTF 564 (+45)
6. Uniquely Singapore: DTF 573 (+54)
7. westernaustralia2011.com: DTF 577 (+58)
8. Liverpool 08: DTF 609 (+90)
9. Nova Scotia: DTF 645 (+126)
10. Qingdao: DTF 738 (+219)

New York weathers the storm past Taiwan - Clipper 07-08