THREE intrepid Wye Valley sailors have set out on the latest stage of their epic Clipper Round the World yacht race – a 4,515-nautical-mile marathon from Airlie Beach in eastern Australia to Ha Long Bay in Vietnam.

Monmouth Rowing Club member Eric Froggatt and his crew mates will want to impress again after two recent stage wins, as their boat is named after their destination.

The 11 crews will navigate the Coral Sea and dip into the immense Pacific Ocean in a leg that is expected to take around four weeks, and be one of the most tactically challenging sections, serving up varying conditions and intense heat.

Eric’s Ha Long Bay boat won the 4,700-nautical mile Roaring 40s race from Cape Town to Fremantle in western Australia, and followed it up with victory in the next 2,500-mile nm leg from Perth to Newcastle, 100 miles north of Sydney.

But they had to settle for 10th on the most recent 950km sprint leg to Airlie Beach, while Chepstow’s David Hartshorn, skippering Bekezela, was last to finish, noting: “We went for the offshore option, however the weather just didn’t deliver for us, as Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam and Dare To Lead discovered also.

“It was one of those heroes and villains decisions: if it had paid off, we would have been heroes, but sadly it didn’t so we are the villains. That’s the way it goes unfortunately!”

But Old Monmothian Angus Whitehead, first mate on Yacht Club Punta del Este did better, placing sixth on the sprint leg with his crew mates.

Overall on the leadership board, Angus and his boat are fifth, Eric’s crew sixth and David’s boat ninth. Keep up with the race at