Wednesday, 22 June 2011

VOR : Team Sanya Seeks Four Sailing Stars from 1.3 Billion People

Team Sanya VOR model. Image copyright Team Sanya.

by Volvo Ocean Race media

TEAM Sanya’s skipper Mike Sanderson has launched a frantic search for sailing 'superstars' in China after appealing for help in finding three to four Chinese crewmen for his campaign to win the Volvo Ocean Race for the third time: "I need to find someone who is at home on the sea..."

Watched by a huge media gathering in Beijing on Friday, the 40-year-old New Zealander launched the seventh boat for the race which starts on October 29 this year in Alicante, Spain.

He declared that he wanted to “win the hearts of the Chinese people” with his bid which is being backed by the government in a rare show of financial support for a sports team of any kind.

To do that, Sanderson said he knew he needed home involvement in his 11-man crew but the vastly experienced skipper from Auckland knows that he cannot afford to be anything other than picky for sailing’s toughest offshore race.

“More than anything, I need to find someone who is at home on the sea,” Sanderson told the Volvo Ocean Race website. “It’s such a long time (nine months) out there. You need to feel super comfortable – well, as much as you can do over that period of time.

“Equally, they’ll need to be fit and strong and we’ll be wanting no prima donnas. I am looking for the next sailing superstar of China.”

Sanderson can expect a deluge of applications for the challenge of a lifetime from a nation which is slowly realizing its huge potential in a sport which traditionally it has almost shied away from.

Already, a man with a strong sailing CV attending the media conference has offered his services and an Olympic gold medallist in canoeing was also suggested as a strong candidate.

However, Sanderson is not being rushed into anything although time is tight before Team Sanya’s first competitive outing at the Rolex Fastnet Race in the middle of August.

He will be giving a short list of applicants a thorough sailing test before deciding on his final choices of “three or four” Chinese sailors who will make up the crew with more experienced operators.

Team Sanya
Volvo Ocean Race