S Africa's Sheraton team dominates China Cup regatta
South Africa's Sheraton team dominated the just-completed China Cup International Regatta with a perfect score.
Led by former "Shosholoza" America's Cup helmsman Mark Sadler, Sheraton maintained their perfect scoreline on Monday on Shenzhen's Daya Bay, off the Longcheer YC. Impeccable as their execution may have been, with consistent sailing and strong tactics, the only blot on their copybook was a spectacular, full-scale Chinese gybe (when the boat rolls spectacularly before the boom crashes over) on Monday, which took the team a little time to recover from.
The peak windspeed on Monday was a strong 26 knots but most of the time it was at about 21-22, which produced some fine racing conditions for the crews of the 30 Beneteau First 40.7 boats from 13 different countries and regions.
The choppy seas kicked up a regular drenching for the crews but with bright sunshine and air temperatures at least in the mid 20s, there was little to complain about.
The Sheraton team sailed steadily and conservatively to ensure its scoreline remained unblemished while the Auckland crew on Team Yachtfinders Global and China Boating battled it out for second with the Kiwis coming out on top and the Chinese ultimately being pipped for overall third by the Hong Kong crew of Simpson Marine.
"We are delighted to win and will be back next year if we are invited," said Robbie Dove, a Beneteau agent in South Africa.
"We had never sailed a Beneteau 40.7 before we came here but we did our research and learned how to set up the boat and we spoke a little to the Japanese teams who have won here over the past few years, so we kind of knew what to expect.
"We had a nice day in the breeze. We wanted to play it safe and not take any risks and we didn't - except putting it (the boom) into the sea in the last gybe, so it was safe day and we enjoyed it. It is great to win overall."
The South Africans may have been in a league of their own, but the battle for the remaining podium places finished with only two points separating second from fourth while Peter Robson's Team GBR satisfied its primary objective by improving on its ninth-place finish last year to land fifth overall.