Final Day 4 – Three-way gunfight to determine winners
By AsianYachting MultiMedia – CCIR Media – Sailing Intelligence
Monday, 27th October, Shenzhen, China: With Vatti Sailing (2012 winner) and Vanke Longcheer (2013 winner) tied on 11 points at the top of the leaderboard, and Beijing Sailing Center (2011 winner) just a point behind in third place, all eyes were on the crucial start sequence today. Vanke Longcheer chose the favoured pin end, with Vatti Sailing mid-line and Beijing Sailing Center, held up in the second row. As they made their way along the course, Vanke Longcheer seemed to be heading for a light patch, while Vatti Sailing were forced to tack away and dip the boat behind, while Beijing Sailing Center struggled in bad air from the yachts in front. The passage course took them out to nearby islands and back, which would ultimately determine the winner in this hotly contested class.
Pushing hard all week, John Hearne’s WOB Gloria Star claimed the race honours and second place for Vanke Longcheer lifted them to the top of the leader board. Despite Jono Rankine’s Vatti Sailing coming back to win the second race, second place for Huang Jianhua’s Vanke Longcheer earned them the overall one-design Beneteau 40.7 title for a second year. Sixth and third places today for Rick Pointon’s Beijing Sailing Center, keeps them in third overall and the rest of the fleet mulling over what could have been if they did better earlier on.
Although defending champion LI Qing’s McConaghy 38 HuaAn Sailing Team were closing in on Frank Pong’s Custom 75 Jelik, that established an early lead in the IRC A class, the Jelik crew were determined not to let it slip away this time and stayed on the pace to claim fourth and first places to keep the title within their grasp. Olivier Decamps Farr 40 Ramrod distinguished themselves with two first places during the series, to end up in third place. The first full blown 60ft racing boat to be built in China, JiangHe Teng’s Solid Gold has some work to do to bring it up to speed, but certainly looks the part with impressive graphics on the hull and sails.
By surviving an overnight protest and posting second and first today, Daniel Andrieu’s brand new Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 Dongfeng Race Team secured the IRC B title on their first outing in anger. Although up and down the table, last years winner Nick Southward’s J/109 Whiskey Jack held on grimly for second overall. The stand-out performer in the division was Yan Yu Yan’s Archambault 40 Seawolf which won three races and if they raced the passage race from Hong Kong could have been in with a chance, instead of settling in third overall.
By not scoring worse than second place Li Xiaojing’s HNA Dreamteam claimed a run away points victory in the IRC C class. Despite three race retirements Shawn Kang’s Lighthorse scored five wins during the regatta to slot into second overall and left to rue what could have been with out the breakdowns. Fan Guang Ming’s Team Tyche had a good view of the dueling leaders but failed to make inroads and ended in third overall.
With five wins and two second places, Malaysia’s Tiffany Koo and her CMGE/KRT team have completely dominated the SOTO 27 one-design class on their first outing together. Bo Liu’s Haihang Sailing Team were the only team to take two wins away from the dominating Koo for second overall. A spirited effort by Zhang Yongqiang’s joyous Qingdao Yachting Association has them coming to rest in third overall.
Although Stanley Chan’s Team Constant Wind from Singapore only won one race, they have finished in the top order to increase their points lead and take out the inaugural Fareast 28R one-design title. Zhao Fei’s Shanghai Sailing Club Team notched up a couple wins in the 16 yacht fleet to secure second overall. Despite a slow start Sweden’s Mats Runström’s Team Nemo picked up the pace and in a tight struggle came out in third place overall.
In the HKPN handicap fleets, Y.K. Szeto’s Hua’an Cutting Edge won Division A with a string of first places. In Division B, Tim Ridley’s Scintilla beat Deng Fan’s Barracuda.
In the evening the teams went to the final prize giving and closing ceremony at the Sheraton Hotel Dameisha. The 103 teams from nations all around the world will look back on four days of tough competition and start their plans to return for the 9th edition of the China Cup International Regatta in October 2015.
From what started with the purchase of 10 Beneteau 40.7’s in 2007, rapidly expanded to 30 one-design yachts, has grown exponentially with IRC, HKPN and two more one-design fleets joining in the action. This year over 50% of the yachts are crewed by Chinese, which is a testament that this regatta is rapidly producing sailing pursuits in China. Although top winning boats have foreign rock stars onboard, this is quickly changing and good to see the Chinese embracing sailing as a sport and leisure activity. The Dongfeng campaign on the Volvo Ocean Race has had a marked effect on educating the locals and awareness what can be achieved with some dedication and hard work. With past issues behind them, one can only admire the progress and looking into the crystal ball, a rosy future for big boat racing in China and long may it last.
Photo Credit to Studio Borlenghi / Stefano Gattini / AsianYachting / CCIR Media