Friday, May 30, 2014

J/80s Win China City Clubs Open Regatta

J/80 sailing off Qingdao, China in CCOR Regatta (Qingdao, China)- The International City Clubs Open Regatta is hosted annually by the Qingdao International Marine Club (QIMC) located at the Qingdao International Sailing Center (the same venue used for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Sailing events). Overseeing Jiaozhou Bay, the sailors in the regatta enjoyed what many have said is one of the world’s best yachting and sailing centers ever developed (a $300 million development budget may have helped).

Qingdao Olympic Sailing CenterIn fact, the sailors in the CCOR enjoyed the amazing hospitality of the host club house along the waterfront.  QIMC was founded in 1999 and has the distinction of being China's only official international sailing club under State General Administration of Sports based in Beijing, capital of China.  What was one of the strong attractions of the club?  The fact that it serves one of the world’s best beers for pennies a pint.  Remember this, the city of Qingdao holds an international beer festival every August where the centerpiece is, of course, the local brew, Tsingtao beer.  Tsingtao Brewery is one of the oldest beer producers in China and was founded in 1903 by German and British merchants. The brewery is still using the original yeast transported from Germany more than 100 years ago- no wonder it’s the number one export beer from China.

Qingdao sailing center- Tsingtao Beer waterfrontOut of the four local J/80s in Qingdao, two sailed in this years CCOR regatta in ORC Handicap Division. Not your normal J/80 regatta since the teams found themselves sailing against a First 40 with a good skipper and two other 50 footers.  Ironically, the rating of the First 40 was only 10 seconds per mile faster then the J/80.  With very inexperienced crews, the J/80s sailed in 10 races with winds ranging from 14 to 30 knots over the 4 days.  The J/80 teams faired well with Jim Johnstone racing the lead boat and the Liuzhou Riviera Yacht Club instructor team racing the second boat.

After 9 races, Johnstone had eight 1sts and one 2nd and the other J/80 had a split of seconds and thirds.  Boat-for-boat Johnstone finished in front of the First 40 four of nine races; that’s quite an accomplishment since they should be much faster.

The last race of the CCOR regatta was a 15nm distance race and the J/80s knew there was no way we were going to have sufficient handicap time on the First 40.  While the First 40 won on handicap, the J/80 sailed by Johnstone finished second overall, thus taking the overall ORC Division win by a significant margin.  Second in ORC class was the Liuzhou Riviera YC team on the other J/80.  Of note, was that Johnstone’s J/80 team beat all of the Far East 26's and the lead Soto 27 boat-for-boat and the Flying Tiger FT10 finished only a few boat-lengths in front when they finished.  Sailing with Johnstone were Jeppe, the J/Boats Asia Qingdao representative doing cockpit, the owner and one of the Liuzhou Members doing bow.
For more City Clubs Open Regatta sailing information