|Full sail: Nguyen Tran Minh An from Da Nang will join the Da Nang-Viet Nam team on the world's longest ocean race, the Clipper 2015-2016 Round the World Yacht Race. An and the crew are scheduled to visit Da Nang in February. — Photo courtesy of Clipper World Race
DA NANG (VNS) — When the world's longest ocean race, the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race, visits Da Nang City's port in February, Nguyen Tran Minh An from Cam Le District will make a heroic return home as the city's first resident to compete in the globally renowned challenge.
An, 27, who works as a tug boat driver for Da Nang Port but has no previous ocean racing experience, will join the Da Nang-Viet Nam team for the 4,130 mile stretch from Australia to Da Nang. This leg, the seventh of the 14-stage global series, starts on January 18 and will take almost a month to complete.
Speaking about the race, the only event of its kind that trains amateur sailors to become ocean racers, An said: "To be selected to take part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and represent my home city, Da Nang, is a huge and very exciting honour which I am very grateful for.
"Aside from the race experience itself, I am looking forward to being able to talk about Da Nang with the international crew and supporters, and share Vietnamese culture with my teammates. I am very proud of my city and really excited that the race is visiting my home."
The 2015-16 race marks the first time in the Clipper Race's nineteen-year history that Da Nang is featured as a team and a host port on the race's global circuit. The city will use the race's high global profile and platform to boost international trade, investment, economy and tourism.
Vice Chairman of Da Nang City People's Committee, Dang Viet Dung, said that, "Da Nang City nominated Nguyen Tran Minh An to participate in the Clipper Race with the hope of helping crew members and international friends understand more about Da Nang and Viet Nam."
As for An's preparation, Dung said, "After the tough training in Sydney, Australia, he is now actively preparing for the upcoming journey. We wish An and other Da Nang-Viet Nam crew members the best in fulfilling their roles and tasks."
The Clipper 2015-16 Race started in London in August and takes eleven months to complete. Its 40,000 mile circumnavigation is divided into shorter legs so crew can choose to take part in either the whole race or one or more legs.
Up to 24 crew members, aged 18 to over 70 of various nationalities and backgrounds, live together on board each of the fleet's twelve 70-foot racing yachts. This means crew have to quickly adapt to being part of a diverse team which eats, sleeps and races together in close quarters.
After completing four weeks of training to prepare for one of the world's toughest endurance challenges, An said, "I feel at home on the water because I've spent the last three years working as a tug boat driver, but my experience is nothing at all like ocean racing. This is a very big and new learning opportunity for me."
An added that the biggest challenge he foresees is the unpredictable weather:"We can't predict what we will experience. That is the reality of Mother Nature, and why this is such an unknown and exciting challenge in many ways."
Clipper Race teams are currently making their way to Sydney after already completing stops in Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, and Albany, Western Australia. The race participants are expected to arrive in Da Nang between February 17-21.
The twelve Clipper Race yachts with over 250 international crew and supporters will stay in the city until the next leg to Qingdao, China, departing on 27 February. — VNS