The teams are all but assembled, and the umpires are flying in from Hong and Shanghai as the eve of the seventh China Club Challenge Match (CCCM) dawns. This clearly and unequivocally positions the CCCM as China’s oldest keelboat regatta, and the event lays to rest any suspicion that sailing in China is NOT growing. Last year there were 22 teams on the water - this year around 40 teams start in two flights to try and become the challenger to the current holders of the trophy. This growth would not have been possible without the hard work that Ironrock Sailing Club has put in over the years along with the reputation the event has rightly earned for being scrupulously fair in its umpiring, with umpires over the years hailing from the UK, Hong Kong, China, Australia and New Zealand.
That said, the dramatic increase in entries could not have been accepted without the efforts of J/Boats Asia who have lent no less than 25 J/80s for this year’s running, and if the growth continues the organizers potentially face the nicest of problems in the future.
Three days of fleet racing will decide the 16 teams that enter the knockout match racing element leading to the selection of a challenger that will go up against the defenders, Fei Peng, who must sit on the sidelines waiting to see the quality of their ultimate competition. If every match goes to the decider – and the umpires will certainly be hoping they don’t - there is a potential for around 60 races over the seven days of the regatta, a busy week for those who reach the latter stages, but an even busier week for the race management team, both on and off the water.
Without a doubt the biggest keelboat regatta in China for Chinese sailors. Even the few teams made up of foreigners live, work and do their sailing in China. The ultimate winner of this event could truly be considered the champion of Chinese keelboat sailing.