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Historic regatta victories

Updated: 2013-10-17 07:14
By China Daily ( China Daily)

The ChinaSpirit team made history at last week's Extreme Sailing Series in Nice, France, by notching the first victories for a China-based contingent at an elite international regatta.

It marked only the second time the Shanghai-based crew had competed in the series for 40-foot catamarans, and ChinaSpirit claimed back-to-back victories in the last race on Day 3 and the first the following day.

The team also managed top-three finishes in almost 65 percent of the races, compared with 25 percent in its first outing in Cardiff, Wales, a month ago.

"Winning not one, but two races, for a new team joining at the end of the Extreme Sailing Series is a testament to the quality of ChinaSpirit and proves the team has what it takes to compete with the best sailors in the world," said Noelle Gahan-Saunders, CEO of ChinaSpirit.

"Our goal is for China to get excited to watch what a Chinese sailing team can achieve with the right resources and athletes.

"We want China to start watching and following the progress of its very own sailing team."

Phil Robertson, ChinaSpirit's skipper who is ranked No 5 worldwide in match racing, said: "It's been tough coming in mid-season and we are putting in all the efforts on and off the water to get up to speed.

"We are pushing the boat to its limit and we had a good scare on Day 1 when we nearly rolled the boat.

"We are thrilled with the result. Our speed in the breeze was great and our speed in the light airs improved in every race. We are now competitive and mixing it at the top of the fleet."

ChinaSpirit's mainsail trimmer, Wu Liang, was thrilled to be part of the historic double win and strong overall result.

"I hope that China will start watching and following ChinaSpirit as this is really exciting," said Wu, a Shanghai native.

"As we gain more experience and have more Chinese sailors aboard, there is no reason why we should not place in the top three."

(China Daily 10/17/2013 page23)