Team Sanya, the first Chinese Entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, will compete in a modified version of Telefónica Blue

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Team Sanya, the first sole Chinese Entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, will compete in a modified version of Telefónica Blue, which finished third in the last edition of the race.

The yacht will be rechristened Sanya Lan and will undergo a four to five week refit in the UK before hitting the water in early August, ahead of the race start on 29 October in Alicante.

After announcing the team’s participation for the race on 17 June, it was a race against time for Team Sanya and skipper Mike Sanderson to find, purchase and modify a previous generation Volvo Open 70.

“This campaign is very late in getting going, and there is no doubt that we are handicapped by having to use an older generation boat,” Sanderson said.

“That said, we know we need to pitch the boat’s performance into a corner and Telefónica Blue last time was very quick in the light and moderate conditions and potent during inshore racing.

“Seeing the new boats launched so far, it appears she still might be okay in these conditions. Only time will tell of course, but we do feel that she will offer us a great opportunity to have our ‘day in the sun’.”

He added: “Our decision to go for Telefónica Blue in the end was based around the fact that we believe the boat gives us the best chance to be on the podium as often as possible…Those of you that remember my daily logs from my last race will remember that I can get quite superstitious, so she will be named ‘Sanya Lan’ to keep the Sea gods happy!”

The team’s new boat has left Spain and is on her way to the Hamble where she will be refitted to meet the standards for the upcoming race.

“The Team Sanya shore team are ready and waiting to make her into our own,” explained Chief Operating Officer David Duff, who managed the selection process and will lead the boat’s refitting programme.

“As to what modifications we will make, all I can say for now is that she is getting an exciting new paint job! The rest, you will have to keep a very close eye on! We aim to be completed and ready to hit the water in early August.”

While the shore team work on getting Sanya Lan on the water as soon as possible, Mike Sanderson continues his search for crew to join him.