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 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.
“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 colorful 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.
For the complete story, go to www.volvooceanrace.com.