Ancient-style sailboat fails in bid to cross Taiwan Strait

Taipei--A newly built sailboat patterned after a design dating back hundreds of years failed in its bid to cross the Taiwan Strait, sinking between Kinmen and Penghu on Sunday after departing from Xiamen because of bad weather.

The Nan Tai No. 2, about six meters long and two meters wide, was scheduled to arrive in Tainan in southern Taiwan on a route that immigrants from China took between the 12th and 19th centuries.

The sail boat was jointly commissioned by the Tainan Culture Association of Taiwan and the Fulong Chinese Sail Boat Development Center of Fujian and built in China over the past three years at a cost of 50,000 yuan (US$7,300).

A crew of four Chinese received two years of training before undertaking the voyage, but that training could not overcome challenging weather.

Just three nautical miles after the boat left Xiamen on China's southeastern coast at 10 a.m., the weather turned unfavorable, and by 3 p.m. the old-style boat had capsized some 15 nautical miles off the coast of Kinmen as it headed in the direction of Taiwan. The support vessel escorting the sailboat picked up the four crew members and tried towing the capsized boat to Tainan.

But as the winds and waves got worse, with swells reaching up to two meters, the support vessel's skipper had to cut the sailboat loose. The ship eventually arrived in Anping in Taiwan at 4:30 a.m.

The organizers said they will make a new attempt to sail across the Taiwan Strait aboard a similar sailboat in two years.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel