by Guy Perrin
Mike Evans and Matt Stokes are coming back from the 2011 Korea Cup International Yacht Race with their chin up and a beautiful trophy. The Korea Sailing Federation invited sailors from many countries to provide an international flair to the newly contested Korea Cup International Yacht Race; these representatives would typically lead a team of local racers on a local yacht. Mike and Matt were assigned to Diva, a Concordia Taylor 47, where they helped a team of Korean sailors achieve great success at the event.
Awards ceremonies at the 2011 Korea Cup International Yacht Race
The event consisted of inshore and offshore races spread over the course of a week starting with an inshore race in Pohang on June 1st, followed by a 127 mile offshore race from Pohang to Ulleung Island, an inshore race in Ulleung Island, a yacht parade to nearby Dokdo Island for the start of the final 155 mile offshore race returning to Pohang.
After taking first place in the Pohang Inshore race early on, followed by first place in the Pohang to Ulleung Island offshore race, the crew experienced challenging times on Diva during the Ulleung Island inshore race! In extremely strong winds with a downwind start, they ended up blowing their main spinnaker, ripping the Genoa and tearing open a batten pocket on the main sail. To make matters worse, the yacht main sail trimmer, two time Olympian Yun Min Chul, was hit in the head by an errand running backstay block during a gybe; he suffered a serious head laceration and concussion. Mike's skilled First Aid training was quickly put into practice but the sailor appeared to be seriously injured and the crew called the Race Committee for a Medevac. He was already on a helicopter to the mainland by the time they got back to the dock.
The Crew of Diva accepting their first place awards for the Ulleung Island Inshore Race
The mood of the crew was definitely affected by the action on the water as they were standing by for the results with their main concern being focused Yun's health; he is an excellent competitor and highly respected and everyone hoped he would be ready to go for the last race back to Pohang from Dokdo. Mike later announced: 'Canada first again! That's 3 for 3! Even I can't believe it...especially after today's problems!'
They would eventually score another first in the last race of the competition. An extremely difficult race with sporadic winds and a time limit that they only beat by 10 minutes; Diva was the only boat to finish in the open class. Others like U2, a Sydney 40 with Team USA on board, had a very frustrating experience when they missed the time limit by three minutes! In the end, the Canadian duo on board Diva held on to a perfect record of four bullets to become Overall Champion of the Korea Cup International Yacht Race.
Mike latest comments: 'Media interest was intensive! We put a Canada flag onto a hockey stick and flew it from the stern of our racing yacht. Of course, everyone focused on that and wanted to know the significance, so we explained the Stanley Cup finals. It became our standard and we carried it on stage with us to accept awards with the rest of our team. I think there will be definite interest in Canadian participation for this great event next year!'
A great event overall; the host nation performed a superb job of making international guest feel welcome!
Mike and Matt completed their Korean trip by attending the World Match Racing Tour in Jeongik Harbour, watching professional racers go head to head.
Korea Cup International Yacht race keeper trophy