The launching ceremony of “Rebuilding Song Dynasty Sailboat & The Route Book International Sailing Race” was held in Beijing on May 11, which was the first large-scale ship construction and navigation race with the theme of rebuilding Song Dynasty sailboats. This event was initiated by Mr. Zhai Mo, the first person to have a circumnavigation of the Earth, and co-sponsored by China Institute of Navigation (CIN) and Pacific Society of China（PSC）. The event aimed at inheriting ancient Chinese maritime civilization, promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, drawing social attention to navigation enterprise, as well as fostering maritime spirit of the new era. Mr. Wang Qun, Secretary General of CIN, Mr. Gai Guangsheng, Vice President and Secretary General of PSC, Mr. Wang Yu, deputy curator of China Maritime Museum, and other relevant leaders and experts, guests as well as family members and friends of Mr. Zhai Mo, of which about 100 people attended the opening ceremony.
Mr. Wang Qun, Secretary General of CIN delivered a speech on behalf of the organizers of the event, pointing out that this event was of great importance in inheriting and spreading the world-leading technologies of shipbuilding and navigation of ancient China, preserving China’s intangible cultural heritage, promoting the study and construction of ancient Maritime Silk Road. He also hoped that people from all walks of life would give great support to it and wished the event a complete success.
It is believed that the ancient ships of the Song Dynasty were the world’s earliest and largest wooden sailing ships so far. In recent years the more ships have been retrieved in the waters of China. Along with the ships are silk, spices, ceramics and various artifacts, fully showcasing prosperous scenes of the once vibrant China Maritime Silk Road, meanwhile the study of China's maritime history by the world history and archaeological circles has reached new heights.
The Route Book (Genglubu) is the record of navigation route passed down literally or orally among folks in the South China Sea region, with detailed records of island-reef names of southwest Zhongsha Islands, accurate location and navigation needle (heading), geng (distance) and characteristics of island reefs, which are the summary of sailing experience and collective wisdom of Hainan fishermen in the South China Sea over thousands of years and has been put on the list of National Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Directory.
According to what Mr. Zhai Mo introduced, the ship construction process would be a reproduction of China's ancient shipbuilding technology and the construction period was scheduled for 6 months, after completion of which would be used for holding international large-scale sailing events with characteristics of Chinese maritime history and civilization like “The Route Book International Sailing Race” which represent Chinese thousand-year navigation experiences and promote sports culture and navigation skills exchanges among countries along the Maritime Silk Road. China Central Television (CCTV) has set up a project to have a follow-up shooting of the whole reconstruction process of the Song Dynasty sailboats.
Xinhua news agency, CCTV as well as other international media and professional media made in-depth coverage of this launching ceremony.