SAN FRANCISCO -- Under light winds and sunny skies, skipper Gareth Glover and the crew of the 70-foot racing yacht Qingdao set sail from the South Beach Yacht Club in San Francisco on Tuesday, providing members of the media and locals with a hands-on opportunity to cruise on the bay.

The Qingdao is currently in sixth place in a fleet of 12 boats which are competing in the 2014 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. The crew of 18 arrived in San Francisco on April 9 from Qingdao, China, and will depart for Panama Saturday. The race will also stop in New York and several other ports before finishing where it began in London.

In its ninth year, the Clipper race was founded by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, an English sailor who became the first man to sail single-handed nonstop around the world in 1968.

Skipper Gareth Glover, of the United Kingdom, talks with Elisa Williams, of Alameda, as she takes the helm aboard the 70-foot racing yacht Qingdao in San
Skipper Gareth Glover, of the United Kingdom, talks with Elisa Williams, of Alameda, as she takes the helm aboard the 70-foot racing yacht Qingdao in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. The Golden Gate Bridge can be seen in the background. The boat is one of a fleet of 12 competing in the 2014 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. They arrived in San Francisco on April 9 from Qingdao, China, and will depart for Panama on April 19. The race will also stop in New York and several other ports before finishing where it began in London. The Qingdao is currently in sixth place. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

This year, Vicky Song, 31, of Qingdao, is vying to be the first Chinese woman to circumnavigate the globe. During the Qingdao leg of the race, she was reunited with her mother, who is suffering from advanced liver cancer. She said her mother is tough and she is too. Song sailed dinghies before, but this is her first time offshore.

"It's my inspiration for other girls to do something different and be in charge of their life," Song said.