Wanhang Longcheer crushes it again in China
Monday, October 31, 2016 3:01 PM
They said that the level of competition in the Beneteau 40.7 fleet has never been tougher, yet Wanhang Longcheer won the 10th China Cup International Regatta by a country mile. Of the 10 divisions racing in Shenzhen, the 25-strong Beneteau 40.7 attracts the most international entries and is widely considered the most competitive.
Last year Steve McConaghy and his Australian/Chinese crew on Wanghang Longcheer had to match race Emirates Team New Zealand on the final day of competition. This time helmsman Seve Jarvin, multiple world champion in the 18ft skiff, steered the boat to another inch-perfect start off the busy start line and in the light 6 to 7 knot breeze Wanhang sailed away to win the first race of the day. With scores of 2,1,1,1, McConaghy and Co. were able to sit out the final heat and sailed back to the race village for an early pack-up and a well-earned Tsingtao beer.
Meanwhile Guy Pilkington’s crew were struggling to make inroads and Yiihua & Pocket Team New Zealand’s final-day scores of 4,8 saw the Kiwis miss out on the podium by a single point. Instead it was Ellian Perch’s South African crew who sailed My Side brilliantly in the fickle conditions to score 2,1 on Sunday, lifting them to second overall ahead of Tim Davis and Beijing Sailing Center.
McConaghy was humble in victory, even if the scoreline was crushingly dominant. “This is definitely the highest calibre of fleet I’ve seen at this regatta,” said the Australian professional who has won four of the eight China Cups in which he has taken part. “The boats are really level in performance now, there aren’t any clear boatspeed differences. The thing that made the difference for us was getting off the start line really well. Also, we had three really focused days of training before the regatta so that our Chinese sailors knew exactly what their roles were on board, and when to execute.”
Perch and the South Africans were delighted to come second, and their day was further enhanced with the opportunity to go for a pre-race sail with Peina Chen, China’s newest Olympic hero who won a silver medal in women’s windsurfing at Rio 2016 earlier this summer.
In other divisions there were boats that achieved perfect scores across the regatta. In the J/80 one-design class, Jim Johnstone steered J/Boats Racing Team to easy victory with a string of bullets. It was a feat matched by 2Kilo Sailing Team who won all their races in the Bavaria 37 fleet.
In the big boat division, Tiffany Koo’s Hero Racing repeated last year’s IRC Division A victory even if their final race was their worst. In IRC B, perennial winner, Shawn Kang’s Lighthorse picked up yet another China Cup trophy, but there was a new winner in IRC C as Sanya Yomovo Sailing Team beat defending champions Whiskey Jack.
Overall Class Winners
HKPN Division A: 16 Trader Tornado (Hong Kong)
HKPN Division B: Crystal (Hong Kong)
ASAF Class: Singapore (Singapore)
FarEast 28R: Southern Cross Racing (New Zealand)
IRC A: Hero Racing (Malaysia)
IRC B: Lighthorse (Hong Kong)
IRC C: Sanya Yomovo Sailing Team (China)
Beneteau 40.7: Wanhang Longcheer (Australia)
Bavaria 37: 2Kilo Sailing Team (China)
J/80: J-Boats Racing Team (USA)
On Sunday evening the teams went to the final prizegiving and closing ceremony at the Sheraton Hotel Dameisha. The 138 teams from nations all around the world will look back on four days of tough competition and start their plans for returning to the 11th edition of the China Cup International Regatta in October 2017.