by Mike Evans
I'm in Korea this week racing in the Korea Cup 2012. It's always interesting traveling to Asia and this time is no different. The culture and sights are so different than Nova Scotia that it is never boring and always entertaining!
Giles Oland and Mike Evans at the 2012 Korea Cup
This year, I'm fortunate to have Giles Oland with me and the two of us are Team Canada for this event. There are also teams here from USA, Russia, China and the Philippines.
The Korea Cup International Yacht Race is composed of four separate races; two inshore and two offshore races that start at Uljin and go to Ulleung Island then Dok Do Island and back to Uljin. We are racing a Taylor 47 appropriately named 'Diva'.
The racing has been tougher this year than last. We completed the Uljin inshore race earlier this week and only managed a fourth against some very stiff talent from Team Russia in a Beneteau First 40.7. We also had some crew issues to work through as I really don't speak Korean and my crew doesn't speak a whole lot of English! Trying to give any direction on short notice is very difficult but we improved as the race went on.
The next day, we participated in the first of the offshore races and what a great race it was! We banged the start in Uljin and headed for Ulleung. It was a short race for an offshore event at only 85 nm, but what a sail! It was a beautiful sunny day with a nice 10-15 knots of breeze with a following sea; outstanding! The only problem was it was a beam reach and we couldn't move the apparent wind back far enough to get the symmetric spinnaker going. Some boats were flying A-kites with some success, while others were wiping out with the tight angle. We were surrounded by the Beneteau 40.7's the entire race. One of them in particular got away from us at the start and it took us 30 miles to reel him in and make the pass to take the lead.
That didn't last long though, as everyone was working hard to make their boats go fast. Eventually that same 40.7 got his kite going enough to pass from underneath quite a distance to leeward. Unfortunately for him, he then sailed into a large hole and with Giles at the helm we passed him again near the finish.
Team USA is having a real tough time here in a very hot Sydney 40. After a disappointing inshore race, it looked like they had the first offshore race in the bag only to sail into the same hole at nightfall as the First 40.7 did. Unbeknownst to us, they had reached Ulleung Island first and then sat in a wind hole while seven other boats, including ours, passed them. Results for the offshore haven't been posted yet but one thing I do know is that it's 2-0 Canada-USA!
Today is the Ulleung Island inshore race and it's a beautiful day here so we're hoping for the best. The Koreans have been superb hosts and the hospitality is second to none. More news to come.
The race website is here: