BEIJING - Following on from the announcement of Sanya as the Chinese stopover for the forthcoming Volvo Ocean Race, Team Sanya - sponsored by the Sanya Tourism Bureau - will become the sole Chinese entry in the 2011-2012 race.
The boat will be skippered by Mike Sanderson, two-time winner of the Volvo Ocean Race, most recently in 2005-2006 aboard ABN AMRO, and one of the world's most respected sailors. Joined by some of the leading experts in this field, including some raw Chinese crew members, Sanya is seeking China's first win in a round-the-globe sailing competition.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to race under the flag of such a great country and culture. We are building up a strong team and are ready to take on this exciting challenge. Our approach will be one of compelling intent, working fast and smart, representing this great country and team with ambition, dynamism and colorful energy." Sanderson, from New Zealand, said.
The previous Volvo Ocean Race, held in 2008-2009, historically included China in its route. Qingdao, the first Chinese city to host a stopover in this premier race event, hosted the fleet. And the team Green Dragon, co-sponsored by China and Ireland, had the race's first Chinese crew member onboard, Guo Chuan, and completed the race with good results. However, this time Team Sanya will have China as its primary sponsor, marking a new milestone in the country's participation in offshore sailing.
Discover Ireland, promoting Tourism Ireland, the agency responsible for marketing the island of Ireland overseas as a holiday destination, has renewed its commitment as a secondary sponsor, and the team will continue to build on the relationship developed between the two countries during the last Volvo Ocean Race. Helly Hansen, one the world's leading outdoor performance clothing providers from Norway, will be the official clothing partner of Team Sanya, providing its entire clothing needs for racing and onshore. The Sanya-based Blue Ocean Protection Association will conduct onboard environmental-protection initiatives and will spread the philosophy of protecting the oceans everywhere they visit.