China Team competed in the final America’s Cup World Series regatta in Naples, Italy, last month with a largely novice crew led by helmsman Mitch Booth.
Although Booth is a veteran with many years of experience in multihulls, the crew is comprised of Chinese nationals who were selected at a training camp the team held last autumn – Liu Xue (Floater/Tactics), Cheng Ying Kit (Wing Trim), Chen Jin Hao (Trimmer) and Yang Ji Ru (Bowman) – and their first taste of international competition came on Day 1 of ACWS Naples.
“I’m very proud of the guys on our boat. They did such a good job,” said Booth, a double Olympic medalist in the Tornado class. “This was their first day of international competition of any sailboat race. If we can keep improving we’ll be happy.”
Booth’s skills and patience were put to the test during the regatta. Sailing with so many beginners he not only had to skipper the boat but also manage the maneuvers and offer words of encouragement during the races.
“I’ve got a bit on. I’m in the back of the boat. There’s a lot happening for me. I’m trying to coordinate/manage as many things as I can. The communications are hectic, but it’s very satisfying to see the guys improving,” Booth said.
“They just need more of this style of racing,” Booth continued. “We hope that they get exposed to more high-level races. There are other events that they’re starting to enter. I hope they can keep the same group together and build upon what’s been started here. Realistically this is the second day of international racing for these guys. They’ve never even seen foreign boats before, so pretty happy with it all.”