I read with interest about One Design racing and the struggle to keep it alive. Here in China, starting this coming Friday the China Cup has a significant One Design happening. 30 Beneteau 40.7 will take to the startline off Hong Kong’s Steep Island for the passage race to Longcheer Yacht Club, Shenzhen. When the fleet gets there they will enjoy 2 days of windward – leeward racing and a round the island race.
Race management will be under the experienced eye of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club race officer’s team led by Russ Parker. The fleet is a combination of international teams including Team GBR who were the 2006 British Champions in the class and a South African team peppered with world champions and other sailors of note and local teams, some making a return to the event or owning their own 40.7 and some literally thrown together with less than 10 days to go to the event.
While the Beneteau 40.7 may be considered an aging design with even the building of new boats discontinued the prospect of thirty identical 40 footers with crews of such mixed ability on a start line does get the juices flowing. Not a continuous One Design series but another small piece in the growing jigsaw that is the Chinese Sailing Scene. Little by little the regattas get a little less rare and keenness to compete grows.
For example in China Cup itself last year a number of the 40.7 were made available to local teams for free as they hadn’t been taken up. With this in mind some teams held off this year hoping for a similar offer only to find all boats had been successfully chartered. – Shanghai Sailor