Chinese team to make history in ‘Thrash to the Onion Patch’
For the first time an all-Chinese team will race in the Newport Bermuda race which marks its 50th anniversary this month.
Started in 1906 as one of the three most famous offshore sailing racing competitions, this year's “Thrash to the Onion Patch” is going to share its special anniversary with the first Chinese entry in its history — Team Noahs.
Located in Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone, Shanghai, Noahs Sailing Club built their team as the first with all Chinese members, from skipper and crew to sponsors.
Furthermore, the club has been the first and only owner of a TP52 boat in China. In this year's race, they will sail a chartered J44.
In addition to competing in the international fleet of top-level regattas, Noahs Sailing Club also stands as the messenger to bring awareness of the Chinese spirit and sailing culture.
The team have chartered a J44 yacht from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and will take their place in the highly competitive class alongside five other J44's racing for the coveted St David's Lighthouse Trophy.
The silver lighthouse replica is awarded to the corrected time winner of the largest division in the race.
Newport Bermuda has no overall winner, but has winners in all six of its various divisions. The St David's Lighthouse Division is the largest with 113 entries.
On October 9, 2015, the Audi China Coast Regatta in Hong Kong was the beginning for Team Noahs. It was the first time they had joined an international regatta.
After that the team participated the Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Yacht race on October 15, which is known as the most aggressive offshore sailing competition in Asia.
Completing this race also meant the young Noahs had finished its first international top-level offshore race. On December 26, Noahs sailing team was one of the entries in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race which is one of the best-known sailing events in the world.
Now Team Noahs is coming to Newport, Rhode Island, for the Bermuda race, another of the three top-level offshore races in the world. And this year the Bermuda Race is expected to be the third largest “Thrash to the Onion Patch” in its 110-year history, with 192 entries having registered.
This means the competition will be very intense. Looking through the entry list, there will be many returning sailors and boats, such as Ken Read, the line honours winner in 2012 now sailing Comanche, and George Sakellaris, the owner of the 2014 line honours Maxi 72 winner Shockwave in his new Maxi 72 racer Proteus.
There is also Michael Cone, the 2014 St David's Lighthouse Trophy winner, in Actaea a Hinckley Bermuda 40.
Dong Qing is the captain for team Noahs, an experienced sailor who started sailing in 2003. Chen Fulin, who has been sailing since 2014, will be the navigator.
Both of them raced the team's TP52 in the last year's Sydney Hobart Race.
“It will be a great honour for young Noahs team to have this chance to be amid this large fleet with those famous and respected sailors and their teams,” Dong Qing, the skipper, said.
“In addition, we are sure that Noahs sailing team can also bring to the Bermuda race the values of branding and promotion to the Chinese audiences.”
At the end of this year, Noahs Sailing Team are going to Australia to compete in the Sydney Hobart Yacht race.
Yachts racing in the Newport Bermuda Race may still enter the entire Onion Patch Series or choose to add either the NYYC regatta as a warm-up or the RBYC races as a unique racing opportunity in Bermuda.
Both events offer racing divisions or the second edition of the Navigators Series with “round the cans” courses.