Race 5: Sta-Lok Endurance Test was a long and tough voyage from Fremantle, Western Australia to Newcastle, New South Wales. All of fleet have to get through 2,500nm as a blend of challenging conditions and the blues. Sailing into first place, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam has secured their top spot of this race edition and this is the second straight win of them. The team crossed the Finish Line in Newcastle at 03:26:50 LT, 16:26:50 UTC.

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team celebrates their great achievement

Captain Josh and his crews always mantain a promising position, which was around the forth and fifth place. After that they has accelerated to become a speed runner about a third of the way into the race. When the fleet neared Tasmania, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam consolidated a lead, which it managed to keep until the Finish Line.

On the pressure of holding onto first place, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam Skipper, Josh Stickland said: “Staying in second place is a lot less stress! But we are chuffed to be in first place. We were lucky, as we had a sizeable chunk to lose, around 60-80 miles. So, we knew we could take our time with a few things, and not push quite as hard. Now we are on land we can enjoy the Christmas and New Year festivities!”

Captain Josh Stickland

It was a mixed bag of conditions on Race 5, from tricky upwind beating, through to some incredible downwind surfs in strong breeze as the fleet dipped into the Roaring Forties, and rounded Tasmania.

Jaci Smith, a crew member on board said: “I loved the downwind section, and I think we survived the upwind part, that was not my favourite, but downwind was a lot of fun! I’m really proud of the team, they came together so well.”

First Mate Ella Hebron said: “The team did an incredible job. Every evolution was to perfection and they tried hard the whole way, so it’s amazing to be here in the place they deserve! I’m looking forward to a cold beer, shower, go for a run and a nice full sleep.”

The team enjoyed a well-deserved cold beer, hot meat pie (an Aussie speciality) and celebratory Champagne spray on arrival, combined with a warm Newie welcome from the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club team as the sun started to rise.

The best ones of Race 5

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