A young Kiwi team led by 17-year-old Matt Kelly enjoyed a dominant first day’s inshore competition at the China Cup International Regatta. The Youth Training Programme team, sent to Shenzhen by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, notched up two bullets and a second place in the 20-boat fleet. “We’re pleasantly surprised,” said Kelly. “We haven’t raced in these boats before against these competitors, but the FarEast 28 is similar to what we race back home in New Zealand. It’s good competition out there, it’s fun getting to grips with the boat and learning what makes it tick.”
The Kiwis sit at the top of the FarEast 28 leaderboard ahead of Seven Feet Team from Russia skippered by Alexandr Levkovsky, with Great Britain’s Allan Pedder holding 3rd place with BSC2.
Meanwhile other New Zealand teams continue to do well in the 25-boat Beneteau 40.7 fleet, with Steve McConaghy’s Wanhang Longcheer taking two race wins from three today, to move ahead of Guy Pilkington’s hot crew on Emirates Team Zealand, who improved throughout the day with scores of 4,2,1. Timothy Davis’s Beijing Sailing Center moves into 3rd, displacing Cheung Kong Sailing Club from a podium position.
The top end of the fleet is packed with well known professionals from the Olympic, America’s Cup and round-the-world racing scene, so the all-Corinthian crew from Sweden, Wasa Yachts Sailing Racing steered by Lars Sunden, was delighted to get a 3rd in the first race of the day, although disappointed to miss out on 2nd place by just a metre to Cheung Kong steered by match racing star Phil Robertson.
In IRC A, Seawolf has taken the lead from Tiffany Koo’s Hero Racing Team who won the opening day’s Passage Race from Hong Kong to Shenzhen. Frank Pong scored 4,1,3 from today’s heats to move his 75ft racing sled Jelik III to within striking distance of the leaders.
In IRC B, the defending champion Whiskey Jack suffered a DNF (Did Not Finish) in the first race of the day, although Nick Southward’s crew bounced back with a win in the next. This means that Cheng Ying Kit’s China Sailing Tour 1 leads from China Sailing Tour 2, skippered by Paul Francis Blanc, by 2 points. The ever-dominant Beneteau 50, Lighthorse, won both races in IRC C. The Dalian Naval Academy Sailing Team also scored double bullets in ASAF Class, with Thailand’s Patinyakorn Buranrom scoring 2,2 for second-placed Team RAirlines.
The China Cup race village was packed with weekend visitors today, enjoying all the onshore entertainment including the Red Bull climbing wall and a variety of live acts on the main stage. Local children were out in force to race their Optimist dinghies in front of the cheering crowds. Sunday looks set to bring more great inshore racing for the 111-strong fleet entered from 36 regions and nations across the globe.
– China Cup Media