Fond farewell

The Clipper fleet bade farewell to the Coral Sea Marina on Friday 26 January, bound for Viet Nam.

28 January 2024


It was goodbye Coral Sea Marina and back to the Coral Sea proper as the Clipper Race fleet bids farewell to a picture-perfect stopover in Airlie Beach and heads for Race 7: Endless Discovery in Ha Long Bay. Even the cyclone failed to dampen spirits, not materialising into the storm predicted.

The Coral Sea Marina provided a great base for Clipper Race Crew to explore the tropical paradise. Fresh local prawns, washed down with local beers greeted the teams on arrival setting the tone for a chilled stopover.

Activities and excursions laid on for the sailors included meeting some local wildlife at a sunny sausage sizzle, finding out more about the surrounding Great Barrier Reef at a sustainability seminar, and exploring the Whitsunday islands on a snorkel trip.


The 11-strong fleet departed, ahead of a challenging race to Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam.

Race 7 is the first instalment of Leg 5: Asia Pacific Challenge which sees the eleven Clipper Race teams embark on a 4,515-nautical-mile marathon to Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.

This race will see the teams navigate the Coral Sea and dip into the immense Pacific Ocean and is anticipated to take approximately 28 days. This stage of the circumnavigation is one of the most tactically challenging sections on the Clipper Race circuit serving up varying conditions, intense heat and a long time at sea.

Leg 5 will be a test of skill, endurance, and the unyielding determination of the crew. In this part of the world, crew will contend with the doldrums and witness breath taking storms, with squalls offering both a relief from the heat and the potential for trickier conditions.

It’s a show of seamanship, resilience, and the ability to navigate through unpredictable weather patterns, and will demand a profound understanding of the elements and an unwavering commitment to the spirit of adventure.

Speaking from the marina as the team’s slipped lines, Clipper Ventures Managing Director Chris Rushton said: “The departure from Airlie Beach marks the end of a highly successful trio of Australian stopovers on the circumnavigation.

“This is our fourth visit to Airlie Beach and we once again thank Coral Sea Marina for its continued support, particularly over the past few days as we experienced the tropical low. Thank you too to our our staff and crew for their preparation of the fleet and patience during this prolonged stop.

The Whitsundays always provide a welcome respite to the rugged conditions faced by our teams at sea. Over 200 Race Crew, plus their family and friends have enjoyed the vast array of activities on offer in the region, boosting the local tourism economy.”

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