In 9 days time the first Chinese Racing team owned by a sailor will cross the start line of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. This is not some corporate team owned and racing for the publicity but owned by Wang Bin, himself a world girdling sailor.
Ubox, a Cookson 50, is Wang Bin’s third boat (he already owns an Alubat 60 and a Swan 82) and he his crew consists his own ‘boys’ along with guests drawn from Dongfeng, the Chinese Volvo Ocean Race Team.
The ‘Dynamic Duo’ of Caudrelier and Bidegorry, once again, take up the mantle as skipper and navigator already knowing the challenge of French orders being translated – through English – into Chinese. Alongside Charles Caudrelier is usual UBox skipper, Wang Lei.
Priority one is obviously safety, two is to put on a good show, and with the pedigree of the Cookson 50 (a class win and overall win in last few years) that should be possible and three, with the right conditions and sterling performance, a low number finish.
This is a serious campaign with the boat sourced for the event, new sails purchased where necessary and training both on the boat and in the gym completed with an afterguard used to sailing at the highest level and working with less experienced Chinese sailors. Speaking of which, Wolf, a product of the last VOR (and a bit of a star in his home country) will be re-joining his skipper for the race. No more the rookie, he now has more sea miles than most of us under his belt.
After the race, UBox will return to Sydney to then be shipped to Asia to compete on the Asian Regatta Circuit, part of Wang Bin’s ambition to further help develop Chinese big boat sailing.
With a screen name like mine, of course I wish them well, and will issue further reports from Sydney AND Hobart as the race starts and then finishes.