Yeah, we’re a little late with part two of the Xi Chang Regatta…
Xi Chang in Sichuan is perhaps best known as one of China’s rocketry centres. (Even I struggled to find it). Last weekend the nearby Qionhai Lake was the venue for the 2nd Xichang International Regatta Qionhai.
Windy foretold light winds of a maximum of 4-5knots and it wasn’t wrong with patience needed from both the competitors and race management as the wind proved to be not only light but due to the mountains surrounding the lake extremely variable.
The entry for the event was free and was sailed in Far East 28s with the 22 competitors having a wide mix of experience from less than one year in a boat through to former national squad sailors and it as clear that the regatta was as much about promoting the city as it was about sailing competition. However, I’m cool with that, If a city or other entity wishes to use our sport as a means of promotion while at the same time as benefiting and promoting our sport we should be glad we have been chosen over soccer or some other lesser sport.
At first glance it looked like there were penalties and protests all over the place but the flags were in fact small Chinese National Flags on each boat that could cause some confusion. In fact the lack of experience of many of the competitors led them to not protesting when they perhaps should have or could have and with just one umpire boat it was not always possible for them to be close or to get through to potential pinch points. That said, the broadness of smiles on most competitors’ faces said they were just enjoying the time on the water. Isn’t that what our sport s about for most people?
Most evenings had the usual prepared social event revolving round an excellent choice of food although for the Westerners there, given Sichuan’s reputation for hot spicy food, caution was required but of course the Chinese sailors, the ‘customers’ loved it and the sailors, courteous as ever guided the Laowei (foreigners) away from the dishes most liable to remove the roof of one’s mouth.
Not exactly a high octane event but as a famous offshore racer was once quoted as sailing “Any damn fool can make a boat go fast when there is plenty wind”.
The eventual winners, Suzhou XiMan Sailing Club sailed consistently across the regatta’s 7 races to a clear double point victory lifting the victor’s trophy and a cheque for 30,000 RMB