China enters Volvo Ocean Race

China launched its first ever sole entry in the Volvo Ocean Race today and announced that one of the world’s leading sailors would helm its Team Sanya for the race beginning in October.

The boat will be skippered by Mike Sanderson, two times winner of the Volvo Ocean Race, most recently in 2005-2006 onboard ABN AMRO, and one of the world’s most respected sailors. Joined by some of the world’s leading experts in this field, including Chinese crew members, Sanya is seeking China’s first win in a round-the-globe sailing competition.

“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.

Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race said: “We are very excited about the news of Team Sanya. 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.”

China was previously represented in the race but its boat Green Dragon was a jointly backed venture for the 2008-09 edition with Ireland.

In the upcoming race, the teams will sail more than 39,000 nautical miles, the longest distance in the race’s history. The race will start in Alicante, Spain, in November 2011, and will stop in Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, Itajai, Miami, Lisbon, and Lorient, before concluding in Galway, Ireland, in July 2012.

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