THREE intrepid Wye Valley sailors have launched out on their latest leg of their Clipper Round the World Race, this time crossing the North Pacific from China to Seattle in the US.

Eric Froggatt and Angus Whitehead from Monmouth and David Hartshorn from Chepstow are on three different boats in the 11-boat year-long circumnavigation, which set off from Portsmouth last September with the yachts mainly crewed by amateur sailors.

In the latest stage, they sailed 1,350 nautical miles through the bustling shipping channels and fishing fleets of the China Sea, from Vietnam to Qingdao.

Monmouth Rowing club member Eric finished fifth on his boat Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, in nine days, 13 hours, 22 minutes, while Old Monmothian Angus - the youngest professional sailor in the fleet at just 21 – placed ninth on Yacht Club Punta del Este, just under seven hours behind.

But former senior Metropolitan Police officer David skippering Bekezela to 10th some two hours further back revealed they had suffered a 'kite mare' before arriving.

“It was very disappointing to have dropped a position overnight, but in the tradition of Bekezela, we had a kite mare last night when the active sheet snapped during a gybe, and we lost control of the lazy sheet in the mayhem that ensued," he said.

“Unfortunately we made an error coming round Taiwan and have been playing catch up for the rest of the race.

"Our kite-mare meant Yacht Club Punta del Este came over the top of us and we lost a position on the last night.”

The crews had a fantastic welcome in Qingdao, but set off to sea again on Friday, March 29, ,on the testing 5,340 nautical mile trip to Seattle.

Eric's boat were leading at the start of this week by over 100 nautical miles, with Angus and his boat fourth.

In the overall rankings, Ha Long Bay are fifth, YC Punta del Este seventh and Bekezela 10th.

To keep up to date with the race, go to and