Friday, May 27, 2011

Xiamen University Wins College Regatta

J/80 China sailing teams in Xiamen
(Xiamen, China- Apr 4-6)- The Xiamen Sailing Club hosted the first ever China College J/80 Regatta over the weekend of April 4th to 6th.  The regatta played host to college sailing teams from Xiamen Universities and Taiwan Universities.

Seven races were held over three days, including two distance races to Kinman Island, Taiwan lying just offshore from Xiamen, China.  Nineteen teams participated, including a team that had the Vice Mayor of Xiamen as an honorary crew-member participating in the race over to Kinman Island.

J/80 sailboats- sailing off Xiamen, ChinaPerhaps one of the most fascinating elements of this regatta was how well coordinated the "diplomatic exchange" of sailors took place, on the fly, on the water, in real-time as the teams sailed across from Chinese water to Taiwanese waters!  The Chinese Coast Guard and Taiwan Coast Guards were very supportive, handling escort across the borders to allow this event to happen seamlessly and with extraordinary decorum. It was remarkable to see the two "Coast Guards" line up in a line on either side of a "GPS line" in the water to show both respect for each other, but also to fly signal flags and exchange pleasantries as each boat sailed across into another country.  Cool stuff!

J/80 "boat captains" at Chinese sailing regattasAfter the three days of sailing, Xiamen University came out on top.  Perhaps it was not by chance, since the two teams from Xiamen University consistently participated in the J/80 Winter Series held this past winter in J/80's every Sunday.  Practice does make perfect.  It showed, they won with ease.  But, it was not without irony that the other universities then requested to get more practice time on the J/80s for their next season!  Perhaps it didn't hurt that "boat captains" like those pictured here helped tend to  lines and fenders when the J/80s went sailing.

Events like this are fantastic for promoting the sport of sailing in Asia and China.  J/Boats Asia and Hudson Yacht and Marine supplied a brand new fleet of boats for the event.  To promote diplomacy and good will between China and Taiwan and get more students sailing is well worth the time, said Jim Johnstone from J/Boats Asia.

Watch this space!  In July, the Xiamen Sailing Club of J/80s will be hosting the Chinese National College Sailing Championships in the same fleet of J/80's!