SPORT - BOXING KANGAROO LANDS THIRD WIN IN CLIPPER 09-10
Panama City, Panama, May 9: Victory in the extremely hard-fought Race 8 of the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race goes to
Spirit of Australia, the result netting the team a hat trick of top places on the podium. The 10 points for first place, added to the three they bagged at the Scoring Gate, gives the overall race leaders a maximum haul of 13 points for this stage, a remarkable feat that had thus far eluded them and one that will help them to extend their overall lead in the 35,000nm global race.
The team, which races with the iconic figure of the Boxing Kangaroo emblazoned on the hull of the yacht, crossed the finish line at 1140 GMT today.
"This race has been an emotional rollercoaster,” victorious skipper Brendan Hall from Brisbane said.
“We've had great highs and depressing lows. It's hard to be in the lead for so long knowing we can only slide backwards and the other boats are all gunning for us.
“To have triumphed in the end and taken the maximum 13 points is a testament to the hard work, determination and persistence of this fine crew. Qingdao, Jamaica Lightning Bolt and Team Finland are crews of the highest calibre, so to have beaten them is a great achievement," he said.
Qingdao took second place, their first podium finish of the competition, crossing the finish line at 1334 GMT, just eight minutes ahead of Team Finland who finished third and will remain in second place overall.
Rob Collins, who joined the Australian team at the beginning of this race from San Francisco for the remainder of the contest to the finish line on the Humber on July 17, had extra cause for celebration as his youngest son Pete is a round-the-world crew member onboard Jamaica Lightning Bolt.
“We have a bet with one another over the final two legs to see which one of us will be on the most successful boat,” said Collins.
“The loser has to dye their hair red when we arrive in Hull which, at my age, isn't a good look. Thankfully this wonderful result takes a little of the pressure off me. It's good to know I still have what it takes to beat the young sprog," he said.
Round-the-worlder Michael Hanssen from Perth, Western Australia added, “Thirteen points is the just reward for a fantastic crew working hard as a team. I'm absolutely delighted."
Given the unpredictable nature of the winds on this course and the need for the yachts to transit the Panama Canal within a given window, the sailing instructions for this race include provision for several finish lines. With very light or no winds forecast for the coming days, the Race Committee decided last night to take that option and set the finish line off Cabo Blanco.
During this stage the teams have enjoyed vastly different sailing conditions to those they endured on the trans-Pacific race from Qingdao, China, to San Francisco. After a buffeting as they left San Francisco, spinnakers have been flying, temperatures have been rising and the crews have been enjoying some fast downwind sailing conditions, interspersed with periods of flat calm and fierce tropical squalls. Rankings on the leader board have changed at almost every schedule for the rest of the teams as they were affected by localised weather conditions.
Spirit of Australia is expected to arrive in Flamenco Marina, Panama, on Monday May 10, from where she and the other yachts will transit the Panama Canal, one of the great wonders of modern engineering, before the start of Race 9, a short, upwind sprint to Port Antonio, Jamaica.
Race 8 Results
1. Spirit of Australia
2. Jamaica Lightning Bolt
4. Team Finland
5. Cape Breton Island
6. Edinburgh Inspiring Capital
7. Hull & Humber
9. Uniquely Singapore
10. Cork Did not start
Results are provisional until all the skippers have handed in their Race
Declarations and they have been ratified by the Race Committee.
Finishing times can be found at www.clipperroundtheworld.com
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Photo: Spirit of Australia’s victorious crew.