The Land Rover BAR Academy team moved onto the next leg of their Extreme Sailing Season (ESS) in Qingdao, China, yesterday.
They resumed competition with seven teams for the four day event, with Qingdao’s spectacular waterfront – a former Olympic sailing venue – hosting racing.
Land Rover BAR team members Leigh McMillan (three-time ESS winner) and Bleddyn Mon will mentor Academy triallists Neil Hunter and Adam Kay throughout the competition.
Academy project manager Rob Andrews said: ‘We’ve kept the same core group for Qingdao as we had at the first event in Oman, so we’re hoping to build on that result.
‘If we can consistently sail as we did at our best in Oman we should get another spot on the podium.
‘We have lost Ed Powys who is staying in the UK to focus on boat testing, but we have replaced him with Michael Barnes, who at 26 will really benefit from the experience.”
‘Neil and Adam, the triallists from Oman, will race again in Qingdao, but we recently had 40 triallists at the Land Rover BAR base for a day of testing, narrowed down from over 70 applicants.
‘So Neil and Adam are currently the top of a pyramid with a very large base.
‘We will be seeing a lot more young sailors on the boats as we go forward.
‘Sailors of the quality of Leigh and Bleddyn can really fast track their skills.
‘And while it’s not all about the results at this stage, they will be looking to build on the great start that they made with a third place finish in Oman.’
Yesterday’s first day of competition produced just a single race – which Land Rover BAR won – before light winds forced a cancellation of the rest of the day.
Mon added: ‘It’s been over a month since we last raced, so it’s great to get back out on the water.
‘We’ve had two days to rig the boat and get it ready to race, a practice day, and although we only got one race done yesterday, obviously, it was good to get the win.’