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Waves of excitement for tired crew

By Xie Chuanjiao in Qingdao, Shandong | (China Daily ) | 2018-03-20

Thrills and spills of round-the-world race make impression on Chinese duo

Chinese sailor E Xianghong is hungry by name and hungry by nature.

The 24-year-old, whose surname sounds the same as the Chinese word for "hungry," has just completed a 50-day stint competing in the Clipper Round the World yacht race.

And after battling hair-raising storms and coping with sometimes "uncivilized" conditions on board the Qingdao, E was particularly hungry to return home. 

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The racing yacht Qingdao heads to its port last Thursday en route to second spot in the overall standings after finishing fifth in the race from Sanya to Qingdao. Wang Xiangsheng / For China Daily

"It is great to be back. I felt emotional when I saw our boat moving on the GPS map and approaching the final destination," said E, who joined the Asia-Pacific leg of the race in Australia in late January before stopping over in Sanya and finishing in Qingdao last Thursday.

"About 18 hours before the boat crossed the finish line, I was too excited to fall asleep so I stayed up all night."

The Asia-Pacific leg is considered one of the trickiest sections of the race to navigate.

During one particularly daunting seven-day period, winds of up to 40 knots battered the Qingdao, leaving one crew member badly injured after he fell from an upper bed.

"We could not have a normal life on board under such tough conditions. We could not have a good rest or even go to the toilet," said E, a graduate of Qingdao University of Science and Technology who took up sailing about four years ago.

"Cultural and linguistic differences also caused communication problems."

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