Mammoth racing yacht from China docked in Mumbai
Qingdao China, a trimaran (multi-hull) yacht named after China’s coastal city of Qingdao in the Shandong province, was docked at Mumbai’s Gateway of India for two days. Mumbai was the third last port of call, as the yacht sails along some of the cities on the popular silk route.
Qingdao, the Chinese yacht docks in Mumbai enroute to Monaco as part of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Sailing Program. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Called the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Sailing Program, supported by the local Shandong government, enterprises and sports associations, the entourage’s aim is to promote Qingdao's image as a sailing city.
Guo Chuan, the skipper, says the yacht has a long way to go. They will set sail for Egypt today
The bright red yacht, gleamed on the Gateway waters. Sunbeams glanced off the waters on a hot Tuesday afternoon as we raced towards the yacht in a speedboat.
As we left land behind, maneuvering around several boats dotted on the water, the first glimpse of the yacht was impressive. At 98.4 feet in length and 21.3 feet in width, a small Indian tricolour waving on its hull, the Qingdao stood out, immediately as smaller brown and white boats bobbed around.
The Royal Bombay Yacht Club, in keeping with its tradition of welcoming visiting yachts in Mumbai arranged for its formal welcome on Monday. It has been more than a month of sailing for the five man crew, which set sail from Qingdao on October 21.
The crew’s favourite port in this journey was Singapore. Mumbai came a close second, thanks to its natural deep-water harbour. Skipper Guo Chuan, says, “I hope to promote sailing across the world through this journey. Bringing this sport to people and telling the story of this boat, is a great way to build cultural bridges around the world,” he said.
The crew’s journey has been relatively smooth. Their biggest challenge now is the two-week-long journey to Egypt, where they will have to pass through Somali waters, fraught with danger because of the piracy problem. "The yacht will be escorted by the UN-backed anti-piracy task force through the area. Hopefully, there will be no problem," Chuan ends at the Yacht Club, where the crew was staying.
Ports of call
The yacht, which set sail from Qingdao on October 21, docked at Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mirissa in Sri Lanka and Mumbai. They will weigh anchor today and head towards Alexandria in Egypt, Genoa in Italy and then Monaco.