WYE Valley sailor Eric Froggatt and his crew mates sailed into Seattle in triumph last week as their boat won the longest leg of the Round the World Clipper Race across the North Pacific Ocean, from China to the US.

Victory by nearly a day in 25 days 19 hours was Ha Long Bay, Vietnam's, fourth win in the global race, and saw them leap to second on the leaderboard after playing their joker and doubling their 11 points.

Eric - co-founder of Monmouth-based business Siltbuster and a member of Monmouth Rowing Club – is going the whole way round the world in the 40,000 nautical-mile race, with the 11 yachts skippered by a professional, but crewed by amateur sailors.

Eric Froggatt, back row far left, and the Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, crew celebrate victory in Seattle
Eric Froggatt, back row far left, and the Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, crew celebrate victory in Seattle (Clipper Round the World Race)

Also making the whole trip is former Monmouth School student Angus Whitehead, 21, the youngest professional sailor in the race as the first mate on Yacht Club Punta del Este.

After 27 days and nine hours of racing, they finished fifth early on Wednesday morning after a near dead-heat, overall race leader Perseverance pipping them for fourth by just four seconds.

And former senior Metropolitan Police officer-turned professional sailor David Hartshorn, who comes from Kilgwrrwg near Chepstow, skippered Bezekela home in 11th on Thursday after being hampered by a loss of wind data – to complete Race 10 in 28 days 14 hours.

Eric's boat had already won the 4,700nm Cape Town to western Australia Roaring 40s leg, followed by taking the next 2,500nm leg as well around South Australia to New South Wales.

They tripled up by taking the 600nm Sprint from their 'home port' of Ha Long Bay to Zhuhai in China.

Eric Froggatt celebrates on board
Eric Froggatt celebrates on board (Round the World Clipper Race)

And with stand-in skipper Bob Beggs taking over from Josh Stickland for the leg, they soon zoomed clear of the fleet to win the hardest and most epic ocean crossing of the circumnavigation by a near-150 mile margin a week last Monday.

The team also added a further three points after a Scoring Gate win, taking them within five points of race leader Perseverance.

All the crews endured freezing temperatures, big low-pressure systems, and the challenges of living on board a stripped back 70-foot racing yacht for a lengthy time in testing seas.

Stand-in skipper Bob said: “What an absolute pleasure and honour to race across the mighty North Pacific Ocean (in winter) with such a focused and determined team. This race provides many challenges, and the Ha Long Bay team met them all with courage and always with cheery smiles, great attitude and purpose.

“My thanks to Josh Stickland for developing a strong group of individuals into an efficient racing team.

"Also thank you to Cameron McCracken, First Mate, for holding my hand and keeping the racing spirit alive.”

While Eric and his crew mates finished well ahead, followed by Qingdao in 26 days 17 hours, third to 10th remarkably all finished within 42 minutes of each other after a night of intense racing.

And after bringing the fleet home the following day, Bekezela skipper David Hartshorn said: “Why would you cross that ocean more than once! A long, hard endurance race and I am very proud of what the crew have achieved.

"We had a safe crossing, a few low-level battle scars that you would expect after such an undertaking... The team coped brilliantly without any wind data for the entire race.”

The Clipper fleet, which set off from Portsmouth last September, will be off again later this week on the next leg to the Panama Canal.

Keep up with their progress at www.clipperroundtheworld.com