China Cup International Regatta 2013

AY Race Report 4 & Summary

Vanke Longcheer are the 2013 CCIR champions...
By AsianYachting MultiMedia
October 28th, Shenzhen, China:
An eight to twelve knot Southerly presented a new challenge on the final day showdown. Some yachts held a commanding lead while others still had a fight on their hands. A little controversy raised its head in the form of the Zeng Haitao’s leading Beneteau 40.7 Vanke Longcheer using new membrane sails, despite a jury ruling that yachts use the original panel sails. This goes against the wishes of one-design racing plus leaves a sour taste with other competitors and something the organisers have to address next year to maintain the integrity and the spirit of the event. One island race for the big boats followed by a windward/leeward race for the one-design classes, sealed the deal and celebrations were in order at the final presentation at the Sheraton Hotel Dameisha.

Zeng Haitao’s Vanke Longcheer with top Aussie match racing professional Jordan Reece on the helm, started the day with a 15 point advantage over second placed Vatti Sailing skippered by Jono Rankine and would need something untoward happening to loose from there. Although in a 28 boat fleet, its possible to go from hero to zero but after posting 4 wins and not finishing worse than 6th with two races to go, it was highly unlikely that they would fall from grace. Toby OConnell's Yo! with the Wilmot family calling tactics, held third place and breathing down the neck of second placed Vatti Sailing with a chance to overtake the defending champions. Rick Pointons' Beijing Sailing Center got up in the first race but second and first for Haitao’s Vanke Longcheer plus surviving another protest kept them firmly at the top of the leaderboard and ran away with the title. Defending champion Vatti Sailing had to settle on second place this year and a spirited effort by Toby OConnell's Yo! slotted into third overall.

Although Frank Pong's Custom 75 Jelik romped away at the front of the IRC A fleet, they have had trouble converting it into handicap wins. Leading into today's race, Li Qing and Dominic Law's McConaghy 38 Hua An Sailing Team have capitalised to take a slender one point lead over Denis Logutenko’s Beneteau First 40 Russky Team, with Yan Yuye’s Archambault 40 Sea Wolf two points further back in third place. The Hua An Sailing Team had the peddle to the metal on the return leg on the island race to claim the overall honours on their first outing in anger. Despite Shawn Kang's Beneteau 50 Lighthorse slotting into second place today, Denis Logutenko’s Russky Team and Yan Yuye’s Sea Wolf have retained 2nd and 3rd places respectively in the overall stakes.

The closest head-to-head battle came in the IRC B class between Tonny Chun’s Sydney 36 Talkinghead who were one point in front of Nick Southward's J-109 Whiskey Jack. They held a six point lead over Korolev Nikolai's Sun Odyssey 45 Elena Team who had their work cut out if they were to topple the leaders. By winning the only race today, Southward's Whiskey Jack tied on points with Chun’s Talkinghead and on countback Whiskey Jack became the overall winner by nature of winning today's race. Nikolai's Elena Team stayed steady in third overall.

The IRC 3 fleet is made up of 10 one design Daytripper's sailed as a fleet within the fleet. With five wins out of seven races Xie Jun's China Spirit becomes the champion with Anders Lewander's AVIC Yuan Yu Hai taking the remaining two wins to secure second overall. Its not something you would usually expect to see the former Volvo Ocean Race skipper sailing on. Patrick Lindqvist's Euro-China Summer Camp Team slotted into third place overall.

Coming into today's final races, Song Xiaqun's Team Alpha Pirates, were leading the Soto 27 one-design fleet, but 4th and 6th places left the door open for Zhang Peng's CYA Great Wall to topple them and take home the title. Never far from the leaders, Ji Yusheng's CYA Vatti with China’s own 2012 Olympic Champion Lijia Xu onboard, slammed home a winner in the last race to secure third overall. An impressive line-up of 15 one-design boats make up the class, that are in the process of contesting a four regatta series, with the winner taking home a brand new boat at the final event in Taiwan.

In the HKPN Division 1, Tiger Zeng's Beneteau 40.7 TT has completely dominated the class by stringing together five wins in a row and close out the opposition. Since the slow start from Hong Kong to Daya Bay, Ben Chong's J/80 JeNa PaBe has scored second places around the cans to secure second overall. Chris Lau's Bavaria 42 SLX Bauhinia Sailing Team have strayed up and down the order but finished strong with 3rd and 2nd places to claim third overall.

At the start of the day, Wong Chi Hin, Henry J80 Team Footloose held a two point lead in the HKPN Division 2 but falling of the pace and finishing 4th hands the lead over to Szeto Yiu Kwai's Grand Soleil 40 HuaAn Cutting Edge that won the race and in doing so bags the title. Despite its size Huang Shaobo's Jeanneau 57 Haiyi couldn't match the smaller boats and settles in third overall.

Summary
Regattas in China are renown for taking on a side show element onshore and treated like mini Olympics on the water. After 7 events this regatta has come of age but faces some growing pains in the One-design Beneteau 40.7 class. Stricter control over the yachts equipment, rigging and sails are evident, if they want to continue with the present format. Similar to match racing the supplied boats need to be in the same condition and no advantage even if teams change boats during the races. The organisers have been alerted to the problem and will have to address the situation next year to maintain the integrity and the spirit of the event.

To increase the numbers, a change of dates to early October is under consideration and falling in line with other events run out of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club is expected to improve the quality of the IRC classes. When you look at the massive undertaking to organise and run the event, implementing these changes should be relatively easy to take onboard. It certainly has bought together some of the legends of the yachting world in the same place and long may it continue.

Website: http://www.chncup.com/

Photo Credit to AsianYachting/China Cup/Studio Borlenghi

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