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Mike SandersonoffshoreTeam SanyaVOR 2011

Volvo Ocean Race: Sanderson to helm Chinese entry

China revealed its first entry in the Volvo Ocean Race today and announced that Mike Sanderson, one of the world’s leading sailors and past winner of the race, would lead Team Sanya.
Photo Credits: Team Sanya
Despite its huge technical and financial resources, the most populous nation on the planet has never won a round-the-globe sailing competition but intends to make the breakthrough, with the recruitment of New Zealander Mike Sanderson as skipper.
Sanderson, 40, is a two-time winner of the Volvo Ocean Race and will chase a hat trick of triumphs with a crew that mixes experienced sailors with relatively raw Chinese members.
Team Sanya is the seventh world-class contender to join this year’s race, with Sanderson going head-to-head with some of sailing’s biggest names.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to race under the flag of such a great country and culture,” said Sanderson today at the Team Sanya launch in central Beijing.“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 colourful energy.”
Photo Credits: Team Sanya
China, as is the case in many sports, has incredible potential within sailing and a win in the Volvo Ocean Race would be a huge boost to its ambitions.
Li Quanhai, Vice Chairman of the China Yacht Association said: “China is a sports power and has abundant marine resources. Our involvement in top sailing events, such as the Olympic Regatta and the Volvo Ocean Race, greatly improves the development of China’s water sports.
Knut Frostad, CEO of Volvo Ocean Race said: “We are very excited about the news of Team Sanya and the return of Mike Sanderson, a veteran and true ambassador of the Volvo Ocean Race.
“This will be the seventh entry for the next edition and will not only bring a competitive yacht to our first class field but also will allow China to build on its already large sailing following.
“Team Sanya will allow the Chinese sailing fans to connect with the Volvo Ocean Race again and will be an amazing platform to engage with new audiences and attract potential tourists to Sanya and China itself.”
Photo Credits: Team Sanya
For the Deputy Mayor of Sanya, Wu Yanjun, the city known as the “Hawaii of the Orient” would directly benefit from this opportunity. “Hosting world class events like the Volvo Ocean Race will directly improve our sailing and yachting related facilities.”
The stopover will be in Luhuitou Bay, Sanya, where construction is expected to finish in August 2011. When completed, the facility will be a world-class marina.
China was previously represented in the 2008-2009 edition by Green Dragon, a jointly backed venture with Ireland and there will again be an Irish flavour to the Team Sanya challenger with Discover Ireland, promoting Irish tourism, renewing its commitment as a secondary sponsor.
Helly Hansen will be the Official Clothing Partner to the team and the Sanya-based Blue Ocean Protection Association will conduct onboard environmental-protection initiatives while spreading the philosophy of protecting the oceans everywhere throughout the race.

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