Fareast 23R International Regatta Wrap up by matt wake

Fareast Cup Wrap Up

The premise of the Fareast Cup was simple, if bold. Give as many international teams as possible a great reason to fly to China and race the brand new Fareast 23R. To incentivize sailors from around the world to compete, Fareast Yachts put up a prize list that’s never been seen in amateur sailing, and is rarely seen by the pros. It included a Fareast 31R, 28R and two 23R’s. That’s over $200,000 in prizes! And it worked, we ended up with 28 Teams from around the world racing on Dishui Lake, Shanghai, China.

I have to be honest, I went because I’m the US Distributor for Fareast and I felt it was important to support the event. I was dubious about the venue, a relatively small lake. I also figured that despite the prize table, few non-Chinese Teams would pony up the entry fee of $5000 or the purchase of a new boat. But at least a mostly Chinese fleet would be weak and improve my chances of winning a boat. So I drew from my Eagle’s Eye 28R youth program and put a 4 man team together. So, it turns out I was wrong about almost everything.

The venue was fabulous. We had 10 to 18 knots every day, the lake was larger than I remembered and the wind shifty enough to be interesting but, not wild. I was wrong about the international teams, a total of 28 teams showed up with 10 of them from Europe, the US and Australia. And I was wrong about the Chinese, there were a few weak locals but, they were more than offset by boats which included current and past Chinese Olympic 470 Teams and several more stacked with domestic and Aussie professionals, including the skipper of Ragamuffin (a full professional program that includes a TP52 and 90 and 100 foot line honors boats).

The level of competition was high. We sailed all 10 scheduled races in perfect conditions. Our results on Eagle’s Eye were top 3rd of the fleet, but not nearly good enough for a podium finish. Our boat speed, starts and tactics were all on par with the winners, but we suffered with our kite handling which cost us boats in every race. It wasn’t unusual for us to be top 3 around the windward mark then lose 5 or 6 boats on the hoist, then reel in 3 or 4 boats on the next beat just to lose another 3 with a botched maneuver on the run. The courses were short and the fleet large and very tight, especially at the top. A mistake the cost 30 seconds could easily take you from 1st to 10th (and did). That said, we beat the winners in 3 out of 10 races, so I think a little practice would have put us in the hunt. But the most rewarding part of the event was meeting sailors from around the World and the comradery of the US Teams. The other US Team, Sailing Anarchy, traveled with us and we were pretty well inseparable.

In the end, we didn’t win a boat on the water. But, guess what? There was lucky draw for a 23R at the awards ceremony and we did win that!!! So, despite my poor kite handling, we still managed to win a boat!!!


Catherine Towner, Marketing/Sponsorships, 508.778.9187

Email: Marketing@SturgisBoatWorks.com

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Catherine Towner

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