Édition 2023 24 November 2023 - 22h57

Chinese skipper Jingkun Xu and Britain's Mike Golding finish 33rd in IMOCA on Singchain Team Haikou

When he steered Singchain Team Haikou across the finish line this afternoon with British co-skipper Mike Golding, Jingkun Xu (Jacky) became the first Chinese sailor to complete the IMOCA division race on in the 30 years history of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre. And after successfully completing last year’s Route du Rhum solo race to Guadeloupe, the 34 year old who lost his left arm above the elbow as a 12 year old, is now firmly on course to compete on next year’s Vendée Globe.

The Chinese-British duo crossed the finish line at 15:11:50hrs local time Martinique (19:11:50hrs UTC) to take 33rd place on the 2008 boat which started life as Brit Air. They narrowly lost out to Belgium’s Denis van Weynbergh and Gilles Beukenhout (Dieteren Group) as the two IMOCA’s sprinted for the line almost side by side after 17 days and nearly 4000 miles of racing. The Belgian flagged boat finished just two minutes ahead. 


Golding,  who was on his eighth Transat Jacques Vabre since his first in 1999, was chosen to help fast  track Jacky’s skills and abilities. 
The duo sailed a solid, accomplished race suffering only some minor sail problems, a damaged batten car and mainsail tear. 

Their elapsed time is 17d10h41m50s and they finished 5d13h9m19s behind the IMOCA race winners.

After enjoying a loud and passionate welcome from Martinique’s Chinese community Jacky enthused, 

“It is good for me, for us, for our team. We did it! And we looked after the boat perfectly, that was the objective and we got here. These were my big things. We finished and I have more experience for the next race and for the Vendée Globe next year. And we enjoyed the race. The first week was hard, the weather was not so good. It was not easy. We damaged the mainsail, the J3 and some small things. We fixed them and kept going. And so it is great to come here and see this beautiful island. It was good experience and it was good with Mike. It is good to be able to rely on someone and sleep well. We enjoyed each other.”

And Golding concluded, It was a long race, a bit too long. And the first nine days were upwind and that for me is a Transat not a TJV. That was unexpected. But going north was our only option. We were slow coming out of the Channel and there was no opportunity to go south. Going west was our only choice. And for a while it looked OK. But we went through a lot of weather to get there. And so this won’t go down as my finest race but it was an adventure. I come on hoping to impart knowledge and I am not sure how much I did impart. Jacky has his ways, he knows how to run the boat. There is not much you can teach him as he has his own systems. He likes to do things a certain way. Jacky does things in the way that he can manage and it works for him, it took me a while to understand the way he needs to sail.”