of action at 11th China Cup
Africans win slow race to China
In terms of line honours, Frank Pong’s 75-footer Jelik led the way in a race that saw very light winds from start to finish. Principal race officer Simon James had taken the precaution of putting in two gates on the race course that could also serve as early finish lines if the fleet failed to make it in time to Daya Bay. It was just as well James instigated this fall-back, as most of the fleet only made it to the first gate, so light was the breeze, rarely getting over 5 knots.
In the IRC divisions, it was Standard Insurance Centennial Sailing Team who won Class A, TongJi Blue Sharks-Ocean Link Team who took Class B, and perennial winner Shenzhen Seawolf who won Class C. Seawolf’s tactician Dominic Law said the light airs and rolling swell made it hard to keep the boat moving. “When you were on port heading out to sea, it was difficult sailing into the swell; it was easier on starboard tack. We could see the other boats struggling as they were racing towards the first checkpoint.”
Among those to suffer in today’s fickle conditions was the defending champion in the Beneteau 40.7s, Wanhang Longcheer. “There were seams of breeze that you either got or you didn’t,” said Longcheer’s Australian professional Steve McConaghy. “We didn’t seem to get much luck today, we had boats sailing around either side of us and we were left with nothing.” A sixth place for Longcheer is not a disaster but it’s going to require a strong performance over the next three days of inshore competition if the defending champions are to retain their crown.
Jono Rankine has won this regatta before but knows it’s harder than ever to repeat that feat, especially in the 40.7s. He’s skipper of Cheunk Kong Sailing Team, a mixed crew of professionals and amateurs. “We had a terrible start but we kept on chipping away and found a bit of breeze. We were between 8th and 5th for most of the race, so it was good to end up 4th by the finish.”
On Friday the inshore racing begins, with 11 racing classes competing across four race courses.
Leaps into the Super 16 Stage
Meanwhile four skippers have already booked their spot in the Quarter Final stage after sweeping aside their rivals in the Super 16. Pieter-Jan Postma has looked strong in the fleet racing stage as he topped the group, but today the ‘Flying Dutchman’ came up against the fearsomely talented match racer Torvar Mirsky from Australia who beat him 3-1.
While defending World Champion Phil Robertson beat Sam Gilmour, the Kiwi’s 3-0 scoreline did not tell the full story. “Gilmour is never an easy beat. Sam's had a cracker of a season and he pushed us pretty hard in the starts. But we had just a click of speed on him around the track, especially downwind.
Sweden’s Nicklas Dackhammar fell to his rival Ian Williams who won his Super 16 round 3-1. The most successful helmsman in the history of the Tour, Williams is looking dangerous here and particularly so after his win at the recent Chicago Match Cup. For Results, Photo Gallery, Video and full story go to: http://wmrt.com/
Photo Credit to Studio Borlenghi / Stefano Gattini / AsianYachting / CCIR Media / WMRT
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