Mike Sanderson has announced the choice of existing boat for the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race
Team Sanya, the first sole Chinese Entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, will compete in a modified version of the ‘Telefónica Blue’ boat that finished third in the last edition of the race.
The yacht will be rechristened ‘Sanya Lan’ and will undergo a four to five week refit in the UK before hitting the water in early August, ahead of the start of the race on October 29 in Alicante.
After announcing the team’s participation for the race on June 17, it was a race against time for Team Sanya and skipper Mike Sanderson to find, purchase and modify a previous generation Volvo Open 70.
'This campaign is very late in getting going, and there is no doubt that we are handicapped by having to use an older generation boat,' Sanderson said.
'That said, we know we need to pitch the boat’s performance into a corner and Telefónica Blue last time was very quick in the light and moderate conditions and potent during inshore racing.
'Seeing the new boats launched so far, it appears she still might be okay in these conditions. Only time will tell of course, but we do feel that she will offer us a great opportunity to have our ‘day in the sun’.'
He added: 'Our decision to go for Telefónica Blue in the end was based around the fact that we believe the boat gives us the best chance to be on the podium as often as possible.'
‘Lan’ means ‘blue’ in Chinese and Sanderson, who is convinced the boat can be competitive, hopes the sea gods will smile on the new name.
'Those of you that remember my daily logs from my last race will remember that I can get quite superstitious, so she will be named 'Sanya Lan' to keep the Sea gods happy!' Sanderson said.
The team’s new boat has left Sanxenxo, Spain and is on her way to Hamble, Southampton, where she will be refitted to meet the standards for the upcoming race, which will run until July 2012.
'The Team Sanya shore team are ready and waiting to make her into our own,' said Team Sanya’s Chief Operating Officer David Duff, who managed the selection process and will lead the boat’s refitting programme.
'As to what modifications we will make, all I can say for now is that she is getting an exciting new paint job! The rest, you will have to keep a very close eye on! We aim to be completed and ready to hit the water in early August.'
While the shore team work on getting ‘Sanya Lan’ on the water as soon as possible, Mike Sanderson continues his search for sailing stars to join him for this round the world adventure.
Writing in The Independent, top international yachting correspondent, Stuart Alexander puts the latest move into context:
'This leaves the Bruce Farr-designed Telefonica Black for the Spanish team, headed by Pedro Campos, to fill the role of a second Volvo race entry, to which Campos and the Generalitat of Valencia are contracted. The Volvo race headquarters is in the generalitat’s southern city of Alicante , from where the race starts.
'The Sanya boat is being moved from San Xenxo, Galicia, up to the Hamble River, off Southampton Water, where it will be refitted and reliveried. Sanderson hopes to announce his crew, including the first of up to four Chinese who will form part of the sailing crew on a rotating basis, in the next 10 days.
'He also hopes that he will be ready to take part in the Fastnet Race, which starts from Cowes on 14 August, along with the new Groupama. Both the American boat Puma and the Ian Walker-skippered Abu Dhabi , to be launched in Portofino next week, are expected to give the Fastnet a miss. Final announcements, including its formal entry of a second boat in the Volvo, are awaited from Campos and, in the Fastnet, from the TNZ-managed Camper from Mallorca.'
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