February 17, 2016 - 3,000+ extra miles sailed

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This race was supposed to be 4,200 miles of sailing over about 30 days. We were expected to have more than the 2 days we experienced bobbing about in the doldrums, plus some softer breeze else times. It wasn't like that!

 We see Clipper boat Qingdao as we approach the mouth of the Han River, DaNang.  

We see Clipper boat Qingdao as we approach the mouth of the Han River, DaNang.  

It turns out that with the recent New Years celebrations in DaNang and bureaucracy around the welcoming ceremonies, it was apparently impossible for the Clipper boats to arrive earlier than the 17th. So the race course was extended and the race wrap-up altered such that we all arrived on the 17th during daylight hours. We sailed about a week longer than it would have taken us to race the original 4200 mile race course. 

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Even after the race was "called" and we were instructed to head directly for DaNang, we still had to endure an additional two days bashing into confused sea state day and night. We finally arrived at the mouth of the Han River in DaNang at about 8am on the 17th after lots of tacking upwind. We had to hurry up and wait for our turn for the berthing.  As we achieved 7th place in the race, we were to be berthed at 3am after the previous six boats were berthed, starting at 9am, taking 1 hour per boat.

Bobbing about, we put the boat to bed as far as possible, leaving the staysail on deck in case of power (engine) emergency.

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At about 1:30pm, a pilot boat came alongside anda Viennese pilot stepped aboard to show us the way in using the unmarked dredged channel prepared especially for the Clipper boats.

As we came alongside the wall, a troupe of  Vietnamese drummers welcomed us in. Kind of exciting to see and hear all the energized human activity after a month of isolation at sea!

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Sarah from the Clipper office arrived with announcements and instructions for the crew followed by a cooler full of beers and sodas.Our first taste of alcohol in a month!

Our passports were sent to the immigration authorities and we were each issued shore passes which are mandatory for crew entering and exiting the boat dock side area.

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Shore passes in hand, we were marched, led by beautifully adorned Vietnamese hostesses, to a stage for team photographs and brief speeches in English and Vietnamese. People from the crowd came up and had the photos taken with the team - hilarious! Of course Matt sprayed the obligatory champagne over all of us and I seem to get the brunt of it, standing next to him.

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Check out this video of our DaNang welcome! https://youtu.be/EEyNWfSNrkg. CLIPPER RACE REACHES DA NANG VIETNAM