Chinese sailors head to Top of the Gulf Regatta
Racing at Top of the Gulf Regatta is the TP52 'Ark 323'. Chinese owned and crewed, Ark 323 have entered the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race three times and have now relocated to China where they will focus their campaign in China, Hong Kong and events around South East Asia.
Owned by Miss Ting Lee, Top of the Gulf Regatta is Ark 323's first race in Thailand.
Speaking about why they chose to compete at Top of the Gulf Regatta, Press Officer Lilian Ni, said “Top of the Gulf Regatta is a classic race in Thailand and the water and wind conditions in Pattaya are perfect for sailing. Through this race we will interact with the local sailing community and hope to attract more Chinese sailors to come race in the future.”
Mr. Li Hongquan will skipper Ark 323 at the Top of the Gulf Regatta. Having competed in the Flying Dutchman class in the 1993 Chinese National Games and a two-time Finn Dinghy champion in the 1997 and 2001 Chinese National Games, he also competed in the Star class at the Beijing Olympics.
Li will be leading a professional all-Chinese crew with an average age of 25 years old, and includes three former professional athletes, two retired special forces officers and marine university graduates. Having trained together for many years, the team are looking to build-up their experience at different regattas and “hope to achieve a good result at the Top of the Gulf Regatta.”
Looking to the future, it's clear Ark 323 and their backers, Noahs Sailing Club, have big plans.
“Ark 323 came back to China from Sydney earlier this year and we have now shifted the focus to races in Asia, and are looking to set our own records. The club has bought a 70-foot boat which will be kept in Australia and will compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in December this year.”
“We will build more professional all-Chinese teams to race around the world. The history of the Chinese sailing industry is very short. It is necessary to have a team such as Noahs Sailing Club to create good achievements and show the progress of Chinese sailing to the world.”
To keep up-to-date with Ark 323 at the Top of the Gulf Regatta, follow the regatta's progress on www.topofthegulfregatta.com. Racing starts on Saturday 28th April and finishes on Tuesday 1st May.