Olympic medalists to race in China Cup


Some of the world's most famous and accomplished sailors will assemble in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, to compete at the seventh China Cup international regatta, which starts with a passage race on Oct 25 and concludes on Oct 28 after three days of short-distance racing.

With 100 boats representing 35 nations and regions racing across four divisions, the international fleet will see everyone from virtual beginners to Olympic champions.

In the SOTO 27 one-design class, Xu Lijia, China's 2012 Olympic champion in the women's singlehander, is sailing with skipper Ji Yusheng's CYA Vatti team. In the Beneteau 40.7 fleet, the helmsman of Lake of Constance is Achim Griese, a silver medalist at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

The rest of the Beneteau field is creaking at the seams with Olympic talent, including 2008 470 Olympic champ Nathan Wilmot aboard Toby O'Connell's Dubai Yo!.

Meanwhile, the weight of all the medals aboard Team Vatti could give the New Zealand squad a huge edge at the start.

Skipper Jono Rankine has assembled a crew that includes 2012 Olympic champions Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie (470), along with 2012 silver medalist Pete Burling and former 470 world champions Simon Cooke and Ed Smyth.

Other highly-touted teams include Beneteau China, steered by America's Cup helmsman Sebastien Col; Team Courrier, skippered by Gery Trentesaux, who has competed at almost every China Cup thus far and is never far from the front; and the Russian team Lord of the Sail, skippered by Evgeny Neugodnikov, a former match racing European champion.

Many foreign teams have raced at the China Cup multiple times, and while the event is already well known to the Australians, Frenchmen and Russians, this year's competition sees Spanish and Swedish teams participating for the first time.

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