Aloha Round Hainan Regatta 6th Edition Champions Crowned
Published: Monday, 30 March 2015
The grey-hulled Swan 82 UBox crossed the line in Sanya at 16:15 local time, taking second consecutive line honours in the 6th Aloha Round Hainan regatta held Mar 19-28. The biggest boat of the IRC 1 and 2 fleet led for the entire 280-nautical mile (nm) course from the island's capital Haikou to Sanya.
“The key moment was at dawn today when the wind picked up to over 30 knots and we were flying downwind,” says the Swan 82’s skipper Wang Lei. “We hit top speed of 21 knots, that's the boat's best performance ever.”
The IRC 1 and 2 left Haikou in a strong north easterly that pushed the fleet reaching for the whole way on the eastern coast of Hainan to Sanya, enabling the 12 boats to maintain high average speeds, despite the big swell typical of this part of the South China Sea.
In class IRC 2 Archambault 40 Seawolf scored an impressive in-port series and performed extremely well overall in the offshore legs but the win in corrected time went to the smaller Sun Fast 3200 Big Boys Sailing Team with an all-Chinese crew lead by skipper Shen Sheng.
“It was a totally new boat for us and the smallest in the fleet but I believe our secret weapon lies in good teamwork and team spirit,” Shen says. “Hainan is just perfect for sailing, it's a great racing location, good wind conditions.”
The IRC 3 class in-port series was dominated by Mills41 Ambush, skippered by Italian sailor Alberto Carraro with an all-Chinese crew. During the first offshore leg to Wanning, the Hong Kong- based boat suffered some sail issues and had to abandon, compromising its final ranking. Overall victory went to Hanse 575 Xirm, Ambush closed in second and Oceanis 58 ATC in third.
With a very consistent series (1/2/3) First 40 CR HNA Sailing Team with Chinese helm and former member of China's Olympic team Li Xiaojing lead his crew to victory in class IRC 4, with Grand Soleil 46 Lianchuang as runner-up and Oceanis 45 Wanzhu finishing in third.
Finally, in IRC 5 French female skipper Laurence Nicolas and her local crew on Sun Fast 3200 Banshanbandao scored an impressive win in the in-port series and in both offshore legs to Wanning and back, getting gold and distancing second and third placed Oceanis 43s Hongzhou and Lan Jing by no less than 15 and 16 points.
The 2015 edition ended in style with the prize-giving ceremony in the Sanya Serenity Marina race village.