Part of Clipper Ventures expansion plans in Asia include a chain of sailing schools around the coast of China which in itself is admirable however for them to claim that they aim to be the industry leader in “sailing events across China” and that they are “building a new era of sailing industry across China” shows no understanding of the efforts of those Chinese who have been enthusiastically helping to grow our sport in China over the past two decades
Bold claims showing little respect for what already exists. They then go on to state “Interest in sailing in China has never been greater” Well you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to recognise that fact with over 100 regattas in the calendar in a non-COVID year.
China has been represented in the last 4 Volvo Ocean Races, winning it the last time, China Cup, running for over a dozen years regularly sees fleets around triple figures while the China Club Challenge Match, in its 16th year in 2020 will likely be, for the third year in succession, the largest one design keelboat fleet in Asia (last 2 years average fleet size over 40) and a “must do” for Chinese Corinthian sailors and quite a few of the pros as well and all for NO prizemoney. Of course whether the China Club Challenge Match goes ahead or not is entirely COVID-19 dependant.
Clipper are not even the first training organisation to land in China by a long way with ASA, IYT and RYA all having recognised schools here already, Clipper are not doing anything new, they are just stepping into a growing market which is what one would expect a commercial organisation to do, there is nothing wrong with that.
Perhaps they should start with their own people. The attached photo is the newly designed 7m training boat which is intended to be used for their training schools. The fenders hanging over the side is not a good look and perhaps the fore- hand should be told sitting on the cockpit floor is not the best way to trim the jib.
Someone from Clipper China described the boat as a “Porsche of the sea”. I am not so sure Porsche would be too delighted with that description but perhaps they were confusing fenders for deployed air-bags. Designed by Tony Castro, the boat has a passing resemblance to a Cork 1720 designed back in 1994 and just one of his around 500 designs including the current Clipper Round the World yacht. I am sure it will perform up to expectations,
Of course it all helps and while I may appear critical, any initiative, particularly an organisation ‘putting their money where their mouth is’ is a welcome addition to the efforts to grow our sport here in China. – SS.