Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 40+ 728x90

9th Xiamen China Club Challenge Match – By the Numbers

by Alistair Skinner on 15 Nov 2013
9th Xiamen China Club Challenge Match, 2013 Al Skinner
Who said good sailing doesn’t exist in China? 4 days, 4 umpires, 17 teams, 63 races, 2 black flags, more ‘Y’ flags, greens, blues and yellows than you could shake a stick, yet not one Rule 14 infringement. In one semi final, on one 800m windward leg, 27 tacks apiece and on the final day 23 knots of wind – more than they can seemingly handle in the America’s Cup.

The Club Cup, as it is usually known amongst sailors in China, is the oldest keelboat regatta in China, and it would be a fair guess that it is the largest (for Chinese sailors), the highest quality and most respected keel boat regatta in the country.

The respect comes from the fact that it has rightfully gained a reputation for fairness and lack of favour to any team due to the equalising of the boats by the President of J-Boats Asia, himself a former world champion sailor (the event is sailed in J-80’s) – through the boat draw, the swapping of boats between races and the toughness, yet even-handedness, of the umpire team.

Started as a challenge between two clubs in beat up J/24s almost 10 years ago, it pre-dates the more commercial China Cup International Regatta by a couple of years. But the biggest difference is that this is a Chinese regatta for Chinese sailors, and the event has grown in size, quality and stature year on year.

The speed at which this event has matured both in terms of race management and the skill levels of the competitors is little shy of unbelievable. There is obviously a lot of coaching, practice and perhaps even video-watching going on in Chinese sailing circles!



In the past run over the week of the Chinese National Holiday, this year the event had to be split into a preliminary fleet racing regatta where the 30 entries were whittled down to 16 who returned to Xiamen three weeks later for four days of knockout match racing.

The match racing could best be described as combative, competitive and confrontational, with the flags flying almost as much as the spray on the final day, yet so often the teams could be seen giving each other the thumbs up and applauding as they crossed the finish line with victories that were incredibly frequently not assured until the last 100m of the race track.

The first three days lost an average of two hours per day due to the breeze being - simply put - somewhere else, but the team comprising of PRO Kang Peng, Li Li, the 'glue' that held the event together, and the umpire team of Jono, Al, Lauren and GG, not forgetting Jim Johnstone who tirelessly fixed breakdowns and handled boat swaps, kept the event pretty much on schedule albeit with nav-lights required on the umpire boats for the return to the marina on a couple of days.



The semi finals saw both extremes of weather from six knots for the first two races and the match curtailed by that frequent cricketing term, 'Bad light stops play' - it was after 1700h after all - to a breeze that easily topped 20kts, peaking around 24, for the completion of the match.

Little by little the 16 teams were whittled down to the finalists Xiamen Blue Sea YC and Yomovo Sailing Club from Hainan. Each race within this match was won by mere boat lengths rather than legs, and proved to be a hard fought battle that was almost as intense to watch as I am sure it was to compete in. In one pre-start the boats did so many spins round each other than the umpires appeared to be demoted with the umpire flag on their RIB turned from a ‘U’ to a ‘J’.

There were attempts, some more successful than others, to use just about every rule in the book to encourage the umpires to fly the other boat’s flag, but the umpire’s decisions were accepted in the right spirit with, quite naturally, one or two close decisions having to be talked through on the dock later.

There were lead swaps where a runaway leader dropped the kite in the tide allowing the other boat to take over and run away themselves, and races in which the protagonists crossed the finish line overlapped as they had been for virtually the whole race.

Ultimately it was Xiamen Blue Sea who prevailed, winning the competition to become the challengers to the current holders Liuzhou Sailing Club, with the local team from Xiamen Island overcoming the defenders 4-1, although the scoreline suggests less close racing than reality.

So it is all over for another year, and although there may be pretenders to the throne of the Club Cup, certainly as far as match racing is concerned, nothing in China even comes close.



Protector - 660 x 82Pantaenius - Worldwide SupportAncasta Ker 40+ 660x82

Related Articles

World Cup Series Hyères – Kontides steals gold again
On the second day of live Medal Racing, it was the turn of the One and Two Person Dinghies to have their day. A colder, overcast day with a steady 8-12 knot breeze did nothing to dampen the spirits of the final few lucky World Cup Series medallists.
Posted on 30 Apr
FAST40+ Spring Regatta – Hitchhiker declared winner
Hosted by the RSYC, the wind gods blew too hard on the second day resulting in racing abandoned for the last day Stewart Whitehead’s Carkeek 40+ Rebellion tide on points with Hitchhiker but was second on count back.Tony Dickin's Jubilee was in impressive form, scoring three podium finishes to end the regatta just one point off the lead in third.
Posted on 30 Apr
Team Oman Air score big breeze win at Extreme Sailing Series
A resounding victory in the final race of the penultimate day kept Team Oman Air's dreams of second podium finish alive Phil Robertson's men proved uncatchable as they romped home to glory in the seventh and last outing of the day as Qingdao delivered a 20-knot breeze blasting through the city's stadium racecourse.
Posted on 30 Apr
Young guns firing in tricky penultimate day of Extreme Sailing Series
The British team, the youth wing of America's Cup challenger, went into the action at the bottom of the Act leaderboard Skipper Rob Bunce's team of talented under 24s enjoyed their most successful outing since joining the global Stadium Racing tour at the start of 2016, only missing the podium once in seven races on Fushan Bay.
Posted on 30 Apr
Nations' Cup – NZ wins again
52 boats from 13 Nations and a planet turned out for one of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s most colourful events Competitors set out to find blue skies and a varied breeze of five to 10 knots with Race Officer Lucy Sutro sending racers on a three-loop harbour course between the Central Club buoy off of the Wan Chai Ferry terminal then to Shau Kei Wan(SKW) and back.
Posted on 30 Apr
Still all to play for in Act 2 as light airs curtail racing in Qingdao
The Extreme Sailing Series™ fleet will go into the second half of Act 2 in Qingdao split by just 12 points on day two. The Extreme Sailing Series™ fleet will go into the second half of Act 2 in Qingdao split by just 12 points after super-light winds prevented racing on day two.
Posted on 30 Apr
Dream team have a dream day winning the Tour de Belle-Ile
Charles Caudrelier invited Armel Le Cléac’h/Thomas Coville to compete in Tour de Belle-Ile with Dongfeng Race Team crew Skipper, Charles Caudrelier invited Armel Le Cléac’h and Thomas Coville to compete in the Tour de Belle-Ile with Dongfeng Race Team crew today. The Dongfeng crew, who are currently preparing for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, set sail with sunshine, smiles and no pressure on their shoulders this morning, with the wind also picking up at just the right moment to make for a perfect day of racing.
Posted on 30 Apr
FAST40+ Spring Regatta - Hitchhiker comes out fighting
Hosted by Royal Southern Yacht Club, the first day of the FAST40+ Spring Regatta produced some highly competitive racing Hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club, the first day of the FAST40+ Spring Regatta produced some highly competitive racing. Just a few weeks ago, Bas de Voogd's Hitchhiker was blown off its cradle and they were not sure if they would even make their debut in the class at the FAST40+ Spring Regatta, but it was the opposition that was blown away in the first two races.
Posted on 30 Apr
Team Aqua takes control of RC44 Sotogrande Cup
With racing cancelled yesterday due to severe conditions, the fleet ventured out today in marginally improved conditions Once again the wind, although shifty, was less of an issue than the sea state, which was initially so massive that the RC44s were disappearing up to their spreaders in the troughs.
Posted on 29 Apr
Skiff success in first Hyeres World Cup finals day
Fletcher and Bithell held on tightly to the silver spot going in to the 49er finale to secure a third straight podium The French Riviera venue served up perfect conditions for the first of the event’s two medal race days, with bright sunshine and winds averaging 15 knots providing the ideal playground.
Posted on 29 Apr