Another big “baby” was born in Valencia, weighing 24 tonnes and almost 25 meters long. After Järv the wolverine from Sweden it was the turn of the Chinese to name their brand new boat CHN-95 after an animal, this time “Longtze”, Chinese for “Dragon’s Son”.
It was packed house at the China Team base on Tuesday evening with more than 300 guests that, despite the rain, came to participate in the christening ceremony of the first Chinese boat taking part in the America’s Cup. Among them, the mayoress of Valencia and the Chinese ambassador in Madrid as well as Wang Chaoyong, President of China Team. Longtze was christened by Xin Li, Chinese model and actress, ambassador for the team since its creation.
According to the Chinese team, symbolic of China, synonymous with power and nobility, the dragon is an inescapable element in Chinese culture. Longtze follows in this tradition, in the birth of a new generation of Chinese sailors. So far, the team is very happy with the performance of their dragon, although it is difficult to judge until it races the other new boats. It is obviously China Team’s intention to train against the other challengers during the three weeks left till Louis Vuitton Act 13. Compared to other teams that have been racing each other for months or even years here in Valencia, this might appear as a drop in the ocean. One should never forget that this is just the beginning of the America’s Cup quest for the chinese and that their ambitions lie in the next editions. Nevertheless, we wouldn’t mind at all seeing Longtze upset some of the other teams!
You’d better get used to seeing such faces in sailing from now on. Here, the Chinese crew members sing a popular Chinese song called “The Sailor”. Valencia, 6 March 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing