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Behind the Great Wall

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The Volvo Ocean Race has reached another port in Sanya, China, thus completing its third stage. Frightened by the past experience (a number of yachts broke down during the Singapore-China leg), the organizing committee decided to drop Southeast Asia from its plans and sent the yachtsmen directly to China.

The introduction of the yachts into China has resulted in a series of positive publicity for the organisers who have already written and posted many articles about VOR, attracting an unprecedented number of readers. The number of TV viewers who have seen the video reports about the regatta is also likely to be close to the America's Cup. What can I say?

The America's Cup, long bogged down in shackles and murky legal squabbles, has undermined its own media base like a spiteful Pinocchio. «And the mess with the rules and all sorts of» events like Louis Vuitton Cup («What? Where? When? On what?») did not help to attract spectator interest.

A viewer is a capricious creature, he needs to be fed not so much scandals, but interesting and accurate information.

Tell me, how many of you know where and when the next World's oldest prize drawing will take place, how will the defender and the contender be selected, which class of boats(AC 45 or AC 72) they will race on? That's the thing...
So what about the VOR? I guess the high viewer estimates are certainly correct. Just... at the expense of including China, the most populous country in the world, in the reading and TV audience. And a cursory glance at the media report removes all doubts: among the first (in terms of circulation) five media who wrote about the regatta there are four Chinese newspapers with the total circulation of 6 million 700 thousand copies. On TV, China is again in the lead with over 200 million viewers.

Sailing Britain with its 400 thousand viewers looks like statistical error. Participation in the race VOR for the Chinese is an important national project, which is supported if not directly at the level of the country's leadership, then at the level of regions.

«However,the vertical of power» in China is much tougher than the Russian one and looks more like a stake, sitting on which one cannot play.

Therefore it is obvious that the interest to the regatta in the country is maintained (albeit implicitly) at the highest level. There is nothing to be surprised about as China is rapidly improving its coastal infrastructure.

Did you know that China has the densest coastal network of AIS control stations in the world?

This enhances navigational safety and increases the country's attractiveness to maritime tourists. In addition, the PRC is actively hunting for new technologies.
What does the VOR regatta have to do with new technology? Do you know that all the designers of Volvo 70s are presently visiting China for the purpose of assessing the technical and technological capacity of China in the sphere of modern yacht-building? Do you think they have nothing to do?

By the way, I must recall that in 2009 after the finish of VOR in St. Petersburg both the president of the bureau Farr Yacht Design - already mentioned by me Pat Shaughnessy - and «himself» Huang K expressed to the author of these lines utter bewilderment about the dismal state of affairs in the yacht-building industry of St. Petersburg. Like where else if not in St. Petersburg - look at Gdansk for example!

So, I would not be surprised if in 10-15 years China will build not only high-speed trains but high-speed yachts as well.

By the way, Etap Shipyard in Belgium with its unique technology for unsinkable sailing yachts was once absorbed by Dehler and now is being reborn. And now it is in China. And its new markets will be China, India and Vietnam.

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