China Team faces uphill battle in America’s Cup World Series
San Francisco, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Instead of practicing for next week’s America’s Cup World Series, the China Team spent Thursday repairing a part of the boat’s hull.
“We achieved everything we wanted,” said the team’s 25-year-old skipper, Phil Robertson. “Unfortunately the boat broke a little bit. We’ll be back out Friday”.
Considered the underdog in the event that serves as precursor to next year’s America’s Cup, the Chinese team is facing an uphill battle as it will go up against sailing powerhouses like Oracle Team USA.
The US team already underwent months of training and still keeps racking up practice time compared to only one practice session by the Chinese squad.
The team is supported by the China’s General Administration of Sports and the Chinese Yachting Association, and sponsored by ChinaEquity Group, whose president and CEO, Chaoyong Wang, founded the team.
China Team tied with Luna Rossa Swordfish for last place in the 2011-12 America’s Cup World Series standings, expected of a team that was organized only in 2007 for the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series.
A news release said China Team “is powered by mainly Chinese management team and sailors” but the truth is, four of its crew members — Robertson, Garth Ellingham, Nick Catley and Dave Swete — are from New Zealand while Cheng Ying Kit is the only Chinese on board.
Robertson, a product of New Zealand’s youth training program, spearheads WAKA Racing on the World Match Racing Tour and is currently ranked No. 8 on that tour. He will challenge the veritable who’s who of sailing, including Jimmy Spithill, Russell Coutts, Dean Barker and Terry Hutchinson.
“We really respect what they’ve all done, and we just want to take them down,” he said. “We’ve got an opportunity to sail against the best guys in the world, and we jump at that chance,” said Robertson.
“Our goal for the San Francisco regatta is simply to get better every race,” Robertson said. “The wind here is a lot stronger than anything we’ve sailed in these boats. It’s going to be a massive challenge for us.”
Robertson and his crew have been working non-stop since they arrived and haven’t had a chance to have a taste of Chinatown. “We’d love to get down there at some point and have a look around,” he said.
Robertson said he is looking forward to having some support from the Chinese American community when the event starts.
The America’s Cup World Series starts Aug. 26 at the San Francisco Bay, off Marina Green and Fort Mason.
Competitors include Oracle Team USA, Artemis Racing, Luna Rossa Challenge, J.P. Morgan BAR; Emirates Team, New Zealand, Energy Team and Team Korea.