West Coast New Area

Sailboats boosting China, Russia exchanges

By Xie Chuanjiao in Qingdao, Shandong and Sun Xiaochen in Beijing | (China Daily) | 2018-09-17


The Fareast Cup International Regatta starts in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, on Sept 1, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

The Fareast Cup International Regatta, which sails between China and Russia, highlights growing sports exchanges between the countries.

As the fourth Eastern Economic Forum opens on Tuesday in Russia's Vladivostok, six racing yachts joined various local boats for close-to-shore sailing and demonstrations.

The event serves as a midcourse break for the regatta, which set sail from Qingdao, Shandong province, on Sept 1 and will return from Vladivostok on Friday to finish the 2,000-nautical-mile round trip.

A halfway award ceremony for the Qingdao-Vladivostok voyage will take place on Wednesday as part of the forum's cultural exchange activities before competing fleets participate in a warmup inshore race on Thursday to prepare for the second long voyage.

The regatta, which was launched in 2016 as part of China's effort to promote the Belt and Road Initiative, visited Vladivostok for the first time in its third edition with the aim of enhancing cultural and sports exchanges between the cities, said Gao Jun, founder of the race.

"Our race overlaps with the economic forum, which provides a golden opportunity to boost people-to-people exchanges between the two cities and two countries," he said.

To make the race a bigger platform, the regatta will open to more sailing disciplines and formats, such as monohull and catamaran boats, and increase the number of participants starting in 2020, Gao said.

After a challenging voyage set out from the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center, the defending champion fleet from Russia - Seven Feet - finished first in the first half by arriving in Vladivostok in six days and 20 hours, followed by the South Korean team Code Zero Gyeonggi-do.

The Qingdao-based team Shanghai Cooperation Organization Youth, the Russian fleet Decision and Team Qingdao China rounded out the top five. Team Tsinghua University, a champion favorite with several members from the new Volvo Ocean Race champion crew, was forced to withdraw from the race due to an equipment malfunction caused by a storm.

The regatta is the latest example of the close ties between Russian cities and Qingdao, the host of 2008 Beijing Olympics' sailing competition.

Russia's 108-meter sailing ship, the Pallada, owned by Far Eastern State Technical Fisheries University, has visited Qingdao during the summer in four consecutive years, engaging more Chinese with Russian marine culture.