World's longest yacht race reaches halfway point in Singapore


World's longest yacht race reaches halfway point in Singapore

14 February, 2014   Nicole Chan

The Old Pulteney and other competing yachts arriving in Singapore for a port stop midway into the Clipper 2013/2014 Round the World Yacht Race. (Photo provided by Clipper Round The World Race) 

After five months of weathering storms out at sea, the Clipper 2013/2014 Round the World Yacht Race competitors began to reach the shores of One15 Marina, Sentosa Cove on the morning of 12 February.

A total of twelve brand new 70-foot ocean racers and 670 people representing more than 40 nations set off from London on 1 September 2013. Since then, they have already sailed by Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Albany, Sydney, Hobart and Brisbane.

Competitors arrived in Singapore upon the completion of Race 8 - The Old Pulteney Navigator Cup, which consisted of a grueling 33 days of sailing from Brisbane, Australia to Singapore.

The 40,000 mile, 11-month long, 16-stage race, this year’s being the ninth edition of its kind, was founded by a well-known sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in 1995. His motivation was to provide both experienced and inexperienced sailors the chance to experience the thrill of ocean racing.

This year, the race so far has been particularly long and arduous due to unfavourable weather conditions, resulting in the race having to be cut short before the yachts’ arrival in Singapore. As such, the order of the yachts’ arrivals was not reflective of their overall race positions.

Teams Great Britain and OneDLL placed second and third place in Race 8 respectively, and were the first two ships to arrive. Old Pulteney, in fifth position, also arrived on the same day. The remaining nine teams including overall champion Henri Lloyd reached Singapore on 13 February.

Of the entire sea of athletes, one of them was particularly enthusiastic about their stop in Singapore – Kong Chian Toh from onboard Mission Performance, who took part in the race from Brisbane to Singapore was welcomed home by his proud family upon his return.

Toh, 26, described the race as an especially challenging and trying one in an interview with the company’s press.

“At the start we had many storms. It was quite scary. Further on the wind just died. It was then a more mental challenge and everyone had to concentrate and try to get as much wind as we could. It was a good race with many elements,” he said.

As much hardship as there was, the competitors still harboured much positivity towards the journey that was and is to come. Skipper Olly Cotterell from OneDLL commented: “We actually lead for a long time and we were a bit unlucky towards the end with the wind hole that developed but overall I am very proud of the team.”

The athletes intend to rest and make the most of their time in Singapore before setting off for Race 9 to Qingdao, China on Wednesday, 19 February. Subsequently, they will be embarking on Race 10 across the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco.

Following the former two locations, they will be exploring the likes of Panama, Jamaica, New York, Derry-Londonderry and Den Helder, Netherlands, before returning to London where oceans of supporters will warmly applaud their grand finish.