09 August 2022
After over 40,000 nautical miles sailed, six ocean crossings and eight legs completed, the Clipper Race 2019-20 winner is Qingdao.
Qingdao, skippered by Chris Brooks, has been the team to beat from early in the circumnavigation 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 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 the final leg 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?
But 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 were the last.
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. Hereby, I would like to express our warm congratulations to Skipper Chris and all the crew members,” he said.
“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 liveable and loveable 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.”
Congratulating the winning team on their result, Clipper Race Founder Sir Robin-Knox Johnston said: “Qingdao has won through a consistently good performance from the start.
“The yacht has always been leading or close to the lead on every leg of the race since the start in 2019.
“Although towards the end her lead began to be threatened by Punta del Este and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, Qingdao had built up a big enough lead to hold on to the end. It’s an excellent performance and one for which the Skipper, First Mate and crew can be justifiably proud.
“The fact that these three boats were usually very close to each other emphasises how close the racing has been. There can only be one winner, but the lead was always being challenged.
“For the City of Qingdao, the sailing capital of China, an old friend of the Clipper Race, the success of their boat will be welcomed and is a fitting reward for their loyalty to the Clipper Race for the past 17 years.
“The Chinese crew from the city are taking back home invaluable skills to develop sailing further at home.”
The next overall podium position of second place was secured by Punta del Este. The team, skippered by Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez 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.
Jeronimo Santos 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.
The team, known for its loud and enthusiastic approach to sailing but always with a firm competitive edge, 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.
The team, led by British skipper Josh Stickland, scored 127 points overall and was on the podium seven times during this edition, just one time fewer than winners 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).
Congratulations to Qingdao, Punta del Este and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam on their podium glory and a huge well done to all teams that competed in the Clipper 2019-20 Race.
Regardless of finishing positions, each team has conquered six ocean crossings, faced extreme conditions and all Race Crew can be very proud of all they have achieved.
“Being successful in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is not just due to the Skipper’s skills, it is down to how quickly the crew develop as a competitive team,” said Sir Robin.
“The Skipper sets the example, but the crew have to want to do well if success is to follow. Crewing a yacht around the world is not for the faint hearted.
“From the frustrations and patience of the calms of the equator, to waves breaking over the boat and the wild surfs in the Roaring Forties and North Pacific, they have seen nature at its most aggressive and benign.
“Aching muscles from frequent sail changes of hard spells on the steering wheel; and sleep that comes in short bursts and never seems to last long enough, are just part of the challenge.
“They have learned that there is no escape from the ceaseless caring for the yacht but they have shared that experience with fellow crew members, living together in close proximity in a constantly moving home where the nearest humans might be in the Space Station far above the planet.
“Every leg of the Clipper Race comes with its own demands to challenge the crews and each brings the satisfaction of having achieved something very out of the ordinary in this extreme sport.
“For those who have completed the full circumnavigation there is the satisfaction of knowing they join the few circumnavigators heavily outnumbered by the number of people who have climbed Mount Everest.
“But whether the crew have done one or maybe two legs, or circumnavigated, they know they have achieved something special with their lives. They can be very proud, just as we are immensely proud of them.”
1st: Qingdao – 145 points
2nd: Punta del Este – 135 points
3rd: Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam – 127 points
4th: WTC Logistics – 121 points
5th: Unicef – 117 points
6th: Visit Sanya, China – 107 points
7th: GoToBermuda – 104 points
8th: Imagine your Korea – 79 points
9th: Zhuhai – 74 points
10th: Seattle – 65 points
11th: Dare To Lead – 64 points
The Race Finish Event was held in London’s Royal Docks on 30 July 2022.