|Team Đà Nẵng-Việt Nam pose before racing from the Whitsundays, Australia to Đà Nẵng on January 18th during the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race. — Photo coutersy of Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race
WHITSUNDAYS, AUSTRALIA (VNS) — More than 220 international participants of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race set sail for Da Nang city on Monday from Whitsundays, Australia.
The first-ever visit by the teams, competing in one of the world's toughest endurance challenges, to Viet Nam will include an action-packed stopover.
Before leading the 12-team strong Clipper Race fleet out of Australian waters in a special parade, Australian Skipper Wendy Tuck, who leads the seventh-placed Da Nang-Viet Nam team, said, "It has been great to be back racing in Australia and we enjoyed our best results yet here. But the excitement continues as everyone has been looking forward to arriving in Da Nang since we left London four months ago.
"We've had excellent support from the people of Da Nang throughout our journey so far and we know there is a huge welcome waiting for us and the entire fleet. So we can't wait to arrive and finally experience the great hospitality and culture of Viet Nam."
The international race crew, who represent more than 20 nationalities, include Da Nang resident Nguyen Tran Minh An, who is part of the Da Nang-Viet Nam team.
An said, "I have had a wonderful few days getting to know my crew and skipper and I am very excited now with the race home to finally start. It will be a long few weeks to reach Da Nang, but I know everyone will be very excited to follow our journey and make us feel welcome when we arrive.
"Da Nang is a beautiful city and I hope the crew enjoys it there as much as I do."
The 40,000-mile-long Clipper Race takes 11 months to complete, making it the world's longest ocean adventure. It is the only event of its kind that trains amateur sailors to race around the world. Forty per cent of the Clipper Race crew never sailed before they started their extensive training.
In the Da Nang-Viet Nam team alone, there are 58 people, comprising 38 men and 20 women, in the 18-66 age group, representing 12 nationalities. The only professional sailor is Skipper Wendy Tuck.
Viet Nam will be a host port and team sponsor of the Clipper Race for the first time, and the city of Da Nang is using the partnership as an opportunity to boost trade, investment and tourism along with enhanced social and diplomatic relations.
As a fast-growing, tourist-friendly city gifted with a beautiful river, mountains and beaches, Da Nang is striving to become a global destination for tourists. It was named the number one destination in Tripadvisor's Top 10 World's Destinations on the Rise for 2015.
With a tough sail in the northern direction north into prevailing winds as they depart and head up off the Queensland coast and the wild Northern Territories, the Clipper Race fleet will cross the Equator for the second time since it left London.
The window for its arrival in Da Nang is February 17 to 21 and a full schedule of cultural activities has been planned for the crew and the public. The Clipper Race fleet will stay in the city till the next race to Qingdao, China, begins on February 27. — VNS