His Excellency Mr Le Huy Hoang was welcomed by Skipper Wendy Tuck and her crew on board Da Nang – Viet Nam, before taking the crew out for dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant in Cape Town.
The team shared tales of their adventures with the Ambassador, who said the Vietnamese city’s involvement with the Clipper Race was all part of a brighter future for the country. He said: “We are so proud to visit the Da Nang – Viet Nam Clipper Race team here in Cape Town. They are bringing the message that Viet Nam is welcoming foreign visitors, and we look forward to opening up more and more and gaining more friends.
“We want to educate people about the new Vietnam, we are a country of peace. We hope that over time the race will visit different ports in our country, so as many people as possible in Viet Nam will have the opportunity to welcome the Clipper Race and all the people from different countries around the world.”
This is the first time the Vietnamese city of Da Nang has sponsored a team in the Clipper Race and in February the South East Asian port will also become a stopover on the 40,000 mile global challenge for the first time.
Upon welcoming the Ambassador on board the yacht, Skipper Wendy Tuck said: “It means a lot to me and the crew to have His Excellency come and visit us today, and to hear about how the city wants to use the race to educate the world on the new chapter in Viet Nam’s history.
“We are all very proud to represent Da Nang – Viet Nam around the world. Da Nang is such a vibrant city and it will mean all the more to us to be sailing into our ‘home port’ early next year.”
Da Nang – Viet Nam finished a credible sixth place after its 3,400 mile sprint across the South Atlantic Ocean, picking up an extra bonus point for being the third fastest team through the Scoring Gate.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the world’s longest ocean adventure and is also regarded as one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet. It will call in 14 ports throughout the 11 month circumnavigation, presenting the perfect opportunity to spread the message of Da Nang, Viet Nam.
The Ambassador added: “The Vietnamese people are very anxious to see the Clipper Race coming to our country and I think it will be of much benefit to them. Tourism can come first and then business development will follow because this is about building a new understanding. We want to encourage people from places like London, Sydney and Cape Town to come to Viet Nam.
“Here in South Africa the people can come here and learn something about the boats and because we have the Da Nang – Viet Nam team, people visiting here are learning about Viet Nam so I hope they will bring more investments to our country.”
The Clipper Race consists of twelve teams competing against each other on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts and was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69. It is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors, around 40 per cent of crew are novices and have never sailed before starting a comprehensive training programme ahead of their adventure.
The Clipper Race fleet will depart for Albany, Western Australia on 31 October where it will then visit Sydney, Hobat and the Whitsundays before racing to Da Nang, Viet Nam
The expected arrival dates for Da Nang are estimated to be between 17 – 21 February. The international crew and their friends and families will enjoy a stopover in the city until the race departure on 27 February.