Published: Monday, 18 November 2013
Mike Fulton

The 2013 Liuzhou China Rivers Regatta has just concluded in the Liu River in Liuzhou, Guangxi Province, China.  A total of 26 teams competed over four days of racing with competitors from Japan, India, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and, of course, China. Conditions were perfect with winds gusting at about 10 knots all weekend. The oldest sailor was 84 and the youngest 18.

Singapore Wins Liuzhou China Rivers Regatta 1

Sailing the 26-foot J80 sailing yachts, that were kindly loaned by the Riviera Yacht Club, the 26 teams we split into two fleets of 13. Over the first two days and with six races per fleet the teams ran qualifying races and were then divided into the Gold and Silver fleets. One fleet sailed in the mornings and the other in the afternoons. The evenings were given over to fun and entertainment for all.

Last year Jim Johnstone, former sales director with J Boats, visited Liuzhou to help train local people in sailing skills. Two participants excelled and went on to skipper in some locally organised events. From just five sailors a year ago, there are now over 200 people actively partaking in these classes on the beautiful Liuzhou River on a regular basis to better their skills.

Singapore Wins Liuzhou China Rivers Regatta.

The Indian team, which just last summer took delivery of two J80s, had been able to get in some prior practice. Wise to the fact that river racing differs quite considerably from ocean racing, the Indian team arrived a few days early to get some further practice under the local conditions. This paid off and they qualified first in their fleet.

The final two days were dedicated to competition with teams pitting their wits against each other. The first race was mostly upwind on the 18-kilometre course, while Race 2, over a similar distance, was mainly downwind and mostly spinnaker sailing.

Singapore Wins Liuzhou China Rivers Regatta

Strong contention came from the Indian team, which was unfortunately disqualified during the second race, China, Japan and Martin Hingst of Holland. However, it was Singapore who had shown consistency over all the races that eventually took the overall honours.

The J80 is considered the ideal boat for beginners and learners. It is fast but very stable and easy to sail. There is normally a crew of five or six needed to man this type of vessel in a racing environment.