The Beneteau 40.7 fleet is perfectly poised for a three-way gunfight going into the final day of the China Cup International Regatta. The winners of the past three editions go into Monday virtually neck and neck, with Vatti Sailing (2012 winner) and Vanke Longcheer (2013 winner) tied at the top, and Beijing Sailing Center (2011 winner) just a point behind in third place.
After scoring inside the top three in every race up to today, Jono Rankine’s Vatti Sailing slipped up with a 4,7 and have given away any advantage on the leaderboard. Double Olympic Champion, Malcolm Page, said his head was in a mess after a mentally taxing day calling tactics on board. Helmsman Simon Cooke explained: “It was a difficult day, a little bit lighter which always makes it harder in the heavy Beneteau 40.7. We didn’t have such a great day getting off the start line. Once you’re back down the fleet, it makes it harder to get the clear air and lanes that you need. But you’ve got three boats fighting it out, which is great. Tomorrow’s going to be a good decider.”
The 18ft skiff World Champion Seve Jarvin is calling the shots on Vanke Longcheer: “It’s all super close, I guess any of the three could have a good day. The courses are quite narrow and short, so there’s not a lot of time to make up lost ground if you get a bad start.”
Although Rick Pointon sits in third place overall, Beijing Sailing Center is the only boat to have kept all her scores inside the top three, so she is well placed to profit from any slip-ups by the other two frontrunners: “You always need to sail well to win in this fleet, but you need a bit of luck too, so we’ll see who gets the lucky moment tomorrow.”
It had been a long wait for racing to get underway after a very light morning and early afternoon in Daya Bay, Shenzhen. But eventually the principal race officer Simon James managed to fit in two races in the late afternoon for the 103-boat fleet. There was a lot of traffic in the light airs, resulting in a busy night for the protest committee who had to deal with 14 protests. In IRC Division B, for example, Nick Southward’s J/109 Whiskey Jack was protesting series leader Dongfeng Race Team for touching a mark of the course just before the finish. A loss in the protest room could put Dongfeng under pressure tomorrow, although the beamy Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 will at least enjoy the stronger winds more than she did today. The stand-out performer in the division was the Archambault 40 Seawolf which won both races today.
In the Fareast 28R one-design class, Stanley Chan’s Team Constant Wind from Singapore holds a slender lead over Kent Wretman’s Team Gransegel from Sweden. Gransegel crewman Jimmy Helberg was disappointed to have won the first race, later to discover they were disqualified along with a number of other boats for being On Course Side. “We never heard the recall on the radio, and no boats went back, so that’s a bit of a shame to lose that result. But it’s great racing, very competitive, the racing is very tight and the wind and weather have been perfect. It looks like 16 to 18 knots of breeze on the final day, so an exciting finish to the regatta.”
In HKPN Division B, Tim Ridley’s Scintilla holds a two-point lead over DEA, with Deng Fan’s Barracuda still in the hunt. In HKPN Division A, however, it’s hard to see anyone taking victory away from Y.K. Szeto’s Hua’an Cutting Edge, which has notched up a string of bullets and holds a good lead over Ben Chong’s JeNa PaBe.
If the predicted strong breezes do materialise in Daya Bay on Monday, then this 8th edition of the China Cup will have been a true test of across-the-board sailing skills.
– Sailing Intelligence