After over 40,000nm sailed, six oceans crossed and eight legs completed, the Clipper Race has announced its champion – the Clipper 2019-20 Race winner is Qingdao.
Skippered by Chris Brooks, Qingdao had been the team to beat from early on and scored a total of 145 points, 10 points clear of its closest competitor. The team, representing the Chinese sailing city of the same name, won five races in the 2019-20 edition, more than any other team. Qingdao was also on the podium eight times, scooping a top three position in over half of the fourteen total races in the global event.
Leaving Derry~Londonderry for Race 15, Qingdao was nine points clear of the second placed team and pushed hard through tricky conditions to stay in the leading pack. Placing third in this race cemented the team’s victory. The team also won the most Scoring Gate points in the eleven months of racing – taking 14 coveted bonus points.
The number eight is considered the luckiest number in China, and this being the eighth edition the city of Qingdao has partnered with the Clipper Race and with an eighteen year legacy – who knows if this auspicious number played a part in the team’s success.
Under Chris Brooks’ leadership and the consistent belief instilled into his Race Crew that they could achieve the long term goal of being crowned overall champions, nothing was left to chance. The team competed in every race as if it was the last.
Mr Che Jinghua, Director General of Qingdao Municipal Sports Bureau, Secretary General of Qingdao Major International Sailing Events (Festivals) Organising Committee, sent a congratulatory message to the Qingdao team on the news of its win: “We are very glad to learn that Qingdao has won the Clipper 2019-20 Race. I would like to express our warm congratulations to skipper Chris and all the crew members.
You have overcome numerous difficulties, fought against the waves, conquered the challenges of the whole race and won the final victory. You have shown the world the great charm of Qingdao as a vibrant ocean city and a livable and lovable city with your remarkable performance. Sailing City Qingdao is proud of you! I wish all crew a safe return in triumph and Clipper Race greater glories.”
Second place has been secured by Punta del Este. Skippered by Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, the team moved into second position overall after the previous sprint across the North Atlantic. Like Qingdao, Punta del Este was in the lead pack of Race 15, coming fourth in the final stage and cementing its second place in the Clipper 2019-20 Race standings with 135 points.
Gonzalez, the first Spanish skipper to compete in the Clipper Race, led his team with the spirit of Punta del Este, the city and yacht club it represented on the global route. Known for their loud and enthusiastic approach to sailing but always with a firm competitive edge, they won the very first race of the circumnavigation and went on to secure six podium positions overall.
Regularly the fastest yacht in the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprints, Punta del Este gained more Ocean Sprint bonus points than any other team (22 points).
Taking the final overall podium position in the Clipper 2019-20 Race and third place is Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam. Led by British skipper, Josh Stickland, the team scored 127 points overall and was on the podium seven times during the course of this edition, just one time fewer than Qingdao.
Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, the team representing the UNESCO destination in Vietnam, won three first place positions in the 14 races, most recently on the race from Seattle to Panama in May 2022 (Race 11).
The overall standings for the Clipper 2019-20 Race are as follows:
1st Qingdao – 145
2nd Punta del Este -135
3rd Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam – 127
4th WTC Logistics – 121
5th Unicef – 117
6th Visit Sanya, China – 107
7th GoToBermuda – 104
8th Imagine your Korea – 79
9th Zhuhai – 74
10th Seattle – 65
11th Dare To Lead – 64
The fleet is now motoring towards the race finish event, which will be held in London’s Royal Docks on 30 July. For those that are unable to make the celebrations, the event will be live streamed from 1430 to 1630 at: https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/livestream