Bridge the Gap
At 1330 on Thursday 30th July a flotilla of sailing yachts numbering around 20 will leave from Wu Yuan Bay in Xiamen on the first ever Taiwan Cross Straits Rally.
Formed from an idea by local grass roots Xiamen and Taiwanese sailors this ‘Friendship’ event was ‘taken over’ by the Chinese Yachting Association and to a degree politicized.
To such an extent that instead of the event going to the small port of Anping in the south of Taiwan in an informal and casual manner the fleet will have to follow a 5 mile wide channel on its course from the Mainland to China’s off lying island. I am sure this is at least part of the reason the number of Taiwanese boats taking part dropping from the original 8 to a token 2.
Having said all that, with the like of CNN reporting hundreds of missiles pointed at each other only a few years ago, the thoughts, never mind the possibility, of such an event would have seemed more fantasy than dream, yet it is about to happen.
So tomorrow afternoon around 145 sailors including 14 ladies and the Vice Mayor of Xiamen will set sail on an unlikely, but welcome, journey. To paraphrase what was said by Neil Amstrong 40 years ago this month “One small step for sailing, one giant leap for the Chinese”