City's name makes waves around the world

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2012, 12:00am


After battling fierce winds in the Atlantic Ocean, the 11-man crew of Team Sanya completed the eighth leg of the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race from Lisbon in Portugal to Lorient, France.

The race, which began in Alicante, Spain in October last year, spans 10 cities over eight months on four continents, finishing in Galway, Ireland next month.

So how did this boat, originating from Hainan Island, get into this prestigious international round-the-world race?

According to Team Sanya's commercial and marketing director, Leslie Greenhalgh, it was natural.

'When Sanya the city was bidding as the stop-over venue for the race, it was decided that Sanya would also enter a team,' Greenhalgh says.

'The purpose was, and continues to be, to promote the tourist venue of Sanya 'the Hawaii of the Orient' around the world and encourage more international tourists to visit Sanya, Hainan and China. From the outset we knew that we had so little time to prepare; only three months compared to other teams training for two years.

'Also, we did not have the time to build a new boat, so we are the only team with a 'second-generation' boat, as ours competed in the last Volvo Ocean Race as Telefonica Blue, so we have a speed/performance deficit against the other boats.'

Team Sanya's grinder and trimmer, Teng Jianghe, with fellow crew members, received a hero's welcome from his countrymen in February after finishing the third leg from Abu Dhabi to Sanya

'Our objective from the start was to compete as closely as possible and use this campaign as a stepping stone to China's continued involvement in the race,' he says.

'For me, this is a dream come true. I hope that many people will become inspired to learn to sail through my experience.

'I also hope that I can encourage many people to visit the tropical destination of Sanya by promoting the profile of Hainan and Sanya through our beautiful race-boat colours.'

Team Sanya has plans to set up its own sailing academy to inspire and encourage young Chinese sailors to compete in offshore racing.