SANYA, China - Serenity Coast 8th Round Hainan Regatta 2017(The RHN Regatta) will take place on March 17th. During the past seven years, the RHN Regatta has demonstrated remarkable achievements and made positive, profound and lasting impact on the sport of sailing, not only in its home country, China, but also worldwide. The RHN Regatta is by far the multiple-day endurance sailing race with the longest route in China and one of the most competitive. The event is considered by the world's leading media organizations as the top offshore race in China.
Already in its 7th year of preparation as part of an effort to transform Hainan Island into an international tourism destination
Seven years ago, at the end of 2010, China's central government issued a proposal document under the title The State Council's Suggestions on Facilitating the Construction and Development of Hainan International Tourism Island, outlining six steps that could be taken with that goal in mind, the second of which laid out the strategic steps that needed to be taken in order to build out the necessary facilities that would turn the island into a world-class recreation destination. In these suggestions, emphasis was put on the rapid development of "a sun-filled tropical island destination" in winter, with water sports and near shore tourist products associated with such destinations including diving. Today Hainan Island has developed an enviable tourism business during winter, on the back of the region's superior climate and geography which had created just the right conditions for the development of a thriving water sports sector. Sailing is big draw in terms of water sports and is a necessary component of a comprehensive tourism development plan. Many of Hainan Island's yacht marinas have partnered with the real estate developers who built the island's hotels and condominiums, resulting in a higher membership and groundage fees, making it too costly for the average holiday maker who would like to participate in sailing. This has limited the popularization of sailing in Hainan. In mature island recreation clusters, including East Asia, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, public marinas can be found everywhere, providing low-cost access to the sea for water sports. The good news is that on October 14, 2015, Hainan Province's government authorities issued a document entitled Policies and Measures to Promote Cruise Yacht Industry in Hainan Province, proposing that Hainan Province step up efforts to build public-access yacht marinas and international cruise terminals in Haikou and Sanya. The province plans to build 23 public-access yacht marinas with 14,325 berths by 2025. Hosting international regattas such as the RHN Regatta on the back of the government's efforts to promote the build out of a public infrastructure for the yachting sector, will provide an excellent model for the sport of sailing in Hainan Island as well as for all of coastal China. These first steps can be expected to lead to the formation of a world-recognized Hainan Island brand, positioning the island as a first choice for international travelers seeking an ocean-side tropical paradise for their getaway or vacation.
Step by step, the international impact of the brand of the regatta is expanding
In 2016, nine Chinese ministries including the State General Administration of Sports and the National Tourism Administration jointly issued a report entitled Development Plans for the Water Sports Industry. The report, in a section headlined, To Provide with More Games, pointed out that the RHN Regatta is the only national-level professional sailing race nominated in the One Item, One Brand list of games. a positioning that can be attributed to the RHN Regatta's decision to make long-distance offshore racing its main focus from day one, and its insistence on highly professional requirements for the management team, security and the race participants. Through the successful events of the past seven years, the RHN Regatta management team has not only accumulated the necessary experience for the successful hosting of a race event, but also achieved recognition and been the recipient of favorable commentary from both athletes and the press. The organizing committee plans to heighten the visibility of the brand during this year's RHN Regatta and step up investment in publicity, management and in attracting high-level sailing athletes. In recent years, the quality of sailing teams in mainland has been continually improving. In 2016, sailing teams including Seawolf, Ubox and Noahs Sailing Team, have time and again rewritten the history of international offshore races. As the top brand of offshore regattas in China, in addition to inviting high-level sailing teams from across mainland China, the organizing committee is also attracting similarly qualified teams from Hong Kong and other countries. The biennial Hong Kong-Sanya International Sailing Race has created excellent conditions for learning and communication. Based on the achievements of the past seven years, the organizing committee plans to gradually expand the international impact of the brand and eventually transform the RHN Regatta into an internationally influential professional race.
To perfect the system and accelerate the exploration into commercial opportunities
Whether or not a sport is successfully commercialized depends mainly on the impact created by the publicity, which includes not only marketing and sales events but also the right timing when rolling out the events, enabling sponsors to have access to and to influence target customers as well as to be assured a worthwhile profit for their efforts. Furthermore, the support from the sponsors also helps expand the scope of the sporting event, with the expectation that the event can attract more and more professional sailing teams and top sailors, creating a virtual loop that further heightens brand visibility along with the reputation of the event. In the past seven years, the RHN Regatta has tried diverse approaches in terms of publicity. Besides arranging for members of the media to become embeds on the star yachts, the daily event newsfeed and automatically-updating race location maps both allow fans to check the latest information on the sailing teams in real time. Last year, the event was broadcast live on location. Major international offshore races have provided the RHN Regatta with much valuable experience. The 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, for instance, yielded more than 4,510 relevant videos and 16,000 news references in a Google search when the appropriate keywords for this event were entered. In addition to the constantly updating newsfeed, videos and images on the official websites, on the first day of the event, cameras were positioned from different points on the water, along the nearby coast and in the air, broadcasting the blow by blow live and in simulcast to TV stations and online video platforms worldwide. The sailing teams regularly sent in reports to the event's command center, with the news and related commentary from fans updating around the clock on all social media channels including Twitter and Facebook. The enormous interest in the event has assured a steady flow of revenue from commercial activities associated with the regatta. The organizing team for the 8th RHN Regatta has not only learned from these top international offshore races about event management, but is also preparing to expand the scope of its reach in terms of publicity for the event, in a move to fully raise the visibility of the brand but also the commercial value of the sailing race.
Building an elite team of event managers
Talents are needed in the sports business today, especially in sailing races. The success of major events is based on the professional management team, as the members of the team are the professionals responsible for the event's core competitiveness. The nine days of the RHN Regatta are the busiest for the team. How to work efficiently, to coordinate spider web-like relations with multiple groups, all with different needs and expectations, and to deal with an enormous workload are all elements of the job description, each of which is crucial to success and requires a highly efficient, resilient team both in terms of how quickly they can learn while "on the job" and in their tenacity in the face of adversity. In the past year, the RHN Regatta has sent teams on expeditions to the Vendee Globe Solo Sailing Race and the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race as well as to the annual meeting of World Sailing, the world governing body for the sport of sailing, in a move to accelerate the acquisition of the necessary knowledge and skillsets to run a top-notch team. Furthermore, the RHN Regatta team hosted a full schedule of sailing races including the R&F Bay Cup 2016 Elite Tournament. This has not only broadened the horizons of the team but also has improved their professional skills and enriched their working experience. In addition, the RHN Sailing Club of the RHN Regatta has promoted new services and products including Optimist Sailing Training for children ages 7 to 15 as well as team building and sailing experience events for companies, in a move to best leverage existing yacht resources and nurture future talents with an eye to them eventually joining the products management or the professional sailing teams, creating a human recourses "feeder" channel for the long-term development of the RHN Regatta.
Leaving no stone unturned in the effort to guarantee the security and safety of all involved in the sailing race
Offshore sailing races are categorized into different levels based on the specific conditions of the waters and of the available security and safety measures. According to the definition given by World Sailing in its regulations for offshore races, the RHN Regatta has been classified as "a Level 3 offshore race, with most events in protected waters and/or near the coast", and in the light of the relevant security requirements for this level, the RHN Regatta organizing committee have put in place specific requirements for the yachts, the security equipment and the skill level of the sailors. As a relatively new entrant to the sport of offshore racing, the RHN Regatta has continually improved the quality of its security apparatus over the past seven years, with no accident or incident resulting in human injury or death having occurred. This stands as proof that the RHN Regatta organizing committee has demonstrated the necessary competence in carrying out the requisite security work. The rules and regulations set out for this year's race of the RHN Regatta require each racing team to have at least two sailors who hold International Life Saving Certificates, to take part in a professional training course prior to the race and to strictly conduct inspections of the yacht and the security equipment as listed in the regulations. The RHN Regatta has also invested in professional location and tracking equipment on the yachts to secure communications during the race and to work hand-in-hand with local search and rescue authorities in preparing and having in place an emergency rescue system. Every detail matters when it comes to security. The security management system created by the RHN Regatta not only safeguards the event, but also sets a good example for other sailing events in China.
The race is just around the corner and everyone is looking forward to the success of the Serenity Coast Round Hainan Regatta 2017.