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China and Ireland Team Up for Last Minute Volvo Ocean Race Entry

17th June 2011
China and Ireland Team Up for Last Minute Volvo Ocean Race Entry

With only four months to the start of the race, China revealed its first sole entry into the Volvo Ocean Race this morning and also announced an Irish sponsor as part of its first challenge for world sailing honours. Discover Ireland, promoting Irish tourism, is backing the boat as a secondary sponsor. Mike Sanderson, one of the world's leading sailors and past winner of the race, will lead Team Sanya. 

vor_sanya

China was previously represented in the 2008-2009 edition by Green Dragon, a jointly backed venture with Ireland, an entry that promised a podium finish but finished fifth out of the seven boats competing.

Irish crew will also be on the boat for this episode of the race but those details are under wraps until an Irish launch of the project on July 1, it is understood.

The Chinese entry is the seventh entry in to the race.

The race finishes in Galway in June 2012.

Despite its huge technical and financial resources, the most populous nation on the planet has never won a round-the-globe sailing competition but intends to make the breakthrough, with the recruitment of New Zealander Mike Sanderson as skipper.

Sanderson, 40, is a two-time winner of the Volvo Ocean Race and will chase a hat trick of triumphs with a crew that mixes experienced sailors with relatively raw Chinese members.

Team Sanya is the seventh world-class contender to join this year's race, with Sanderson going head-to-head with some of the sailing's biggest names.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to race under the flag of such a great country and culture," said Sanderson today at the Team Sanya launch in central Beijing.

vor_discoverire

"We are building up a strong team and are ready to take on this exciting challenge. Our approach will be one of compelling intent, working fast and smart, representing this great country and team with ambition, dynamism and colourful energy."

China, as is the case in many sports, has incredible potential within sailing and a win in the Volvo Ocean Race would be a huge boost to its ambitions.

Li Quanhai, Vice Chairman of the China Yacht Association said: "China is a sports power and has abundant marine resources. Our involvement in top sailing events, such as the Olympic Regatta and the Volvo Ocean Race, greatly improves the development of China's water sports.

Knut Frostad, CEO of Volvo Ocean Race said: "We are very excited about the news of Team Sanya and the return of Mike Sanderson, a veteran and true ambassador of the Volvo Ocean Race.

"This will be the seventh entry for the next edition and will not only bring a competitive yacht to our first class field but also will allow China to build on its already large sailing following.

"Team Sanya will allow the Chinese sailing fans to connect with the Volvo Ocean Race again and will be an amazing platform to engage with new audiences and attract potential tourists to Sanya and China itself."

For the Deputy Mayor of Sanya, Wu Yanjun, the city known as the "Hawaii of the Orient" would directly benefit from this opportunity. "Hosting world class events like the Volvo Ocean Race will directly improve our sailing and yachting related facilities."

The stopover will be in Luhuitou Bay, Sanya, where construction is expected to finish in August 2011. When completed, the facility will be a world-class marina.

China was previously represented in the 2008-2009 edition by Green Dragon, a jointly backed venture with Ireland and there will again be an Irish flavour to the Team Sanya challenger with Discover Ireland, promoting Irish tourism, renewing its commitment as a secondary sponsor.

Helly Hansen will be the Official Clothing Partner to the team and the Sanya-based Blue Ocean Protection Association will conduct onboard environmental-protection initiatives while spreading the philosophy of protecting the oceans everywhere throughout the race.

sanderson

Mr. Jiang Sixian, Vice-governor of Hainan Province and Party Secretary of Sanya City, Mike Sanderson, Skipper of Team Sanya, George Blake, General Manager, Global Promotion for Team Sanya. China launched its first ever sole entry in the Volvo Ocean Race today and announced that one of the world's leading sailors, twice Volvo Ocean Race winner Mike Sanderson from New Zealand, would helm its Team Sanya for the gruelling nine-month, 39,270 mile challenge beginning in October. The Announcement took place at the Park Hyatt, Beijing, China Friday June. 17, 2011.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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