Uruguay beats professional teams in light start to China Cup
Thursday, November 7, 2019 10:15 AM
Scott Perry skippered his crew on Fjord III to victory in the Beneteau 40.7 one-design fleet on day one of the China Cup International Regatta in Shenzhen. The Uruguayan/ Argentinean team beat many of the more highly-fancied teams, making the most of the light but very fluky conditions on Daya Bay.
“We finished first and were very lucky to do so,” admitted Perry. “It was one of those days when anyone could have finished first because it was very light winds. There was a bit of current and not much wind, so it was a bit of a lottery.”
Some of the professional teams struggled in the patchy breeze, and none more so than the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) who made a mess of the start, a fate Perry was glad to have avoided. “The Kiwis were over the line and that's very unfortunate for them, but it's the kind of risk you wouldn't want to take on the first day. We started quite some way back from the line because we were starting on a black flag. If you're over, you're out of the race, there's no way back.”
Laurie Jury is skippering the XianLiao boat representing the RNZYS with a mixture of experienced and younger talent on board the 40-footer. “We’ve been here four times before, and it’s a good opportunity to race in a competitive one-design fleet, great for our performance programme, which is for our young sailors in the next level up from our youth development programme. But being over the line early wasn’t a great start to our regatta. As long as we get five races, we get one discard; it's up to us to make sure we sail well for the rest of the week.”
Coming in second behind Fjord III was Beijing Sailing Center skippered by top match racing talent from Singapore, Maximilian Soh, and then a team from Fremantle, Western Australia. Third-placed Downunder is skippered by Skip Lissiman, one of the legendary crew who sailed Australia II to the most famous of America’s Cup victories in Newport 1983.
Massimo Valentini is an Italian who first met Lissiman during their America’s Cup days back in the early 1980s. “Skip was on Australia II, I was racing with Azzurra and we have been friends ever since,” said Valentini, who's doing the bow on board Downunder. “I met an Australian girl and married her after the 1987 America’s Cup and I’ve lived there ever since. It’s great racing with a bunch of friends from Western Australia who have all known each for so long; we’re having a good time together here in China.”
In the J/80 division, Ronstan Team skippered by Yuichiro Hori from Japan holds the early lead. In IRC A, Lui Kam won today’s race with his crew on Phoenix, with Frank Pong’s 75ft Jelik in second. In HKPN Division A, The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors Sailing Team took first place, with the Surveyors keen to encourage other professional bodies and institutes to enter teams into future China Cups.
The sailors are competing in racing divisions which include the Beneteau First 40.7, IRC Class, Bavaria One Design Class, J/80 Class and HKPN Class. This weekend another 129 competitors will join the China Cup when the Youth One Design Class regatta begins, an important part of the organisers' ambition to grow sailing for the next generation.