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Hong Kong Race Week - Overall

by Lindsay Lyons 21 Feb 2016 18:51 GMT 16-21 February 2016

A very successful event

Hong Kong Race Week came to a close today amidst very strong winds running up to 35kts. "We took about two thirds of the fleet out leaving some of them on shore and those that did get out got in some good races in very strong conditions which were a challenge for the sailors but successful racing and exciting," said PRO Charlie Manzoni. "The week was variable; everything from 1 kt to 35kts and most boats have sailed in most race course areas in order to go and find the breeze and the breeze stability so it's been a varied week but massively successful and there are a lot of very happy little sailors which is what it is all about," he added.

Strong winds were a challenge for RO David Norton's team this morning. "Our normal race area at Beaufort was too far to send the fleets and the wind near Round Island was very shifty so the course was set in Stanley Bay. With the wind speed over 25kts, gusting over 30kts, the decision was taken to keep the 420s and 470s ashore. Three 29ers finished Race 9 but a broken main sheet meant HKG2166 was unable to start Race 10. In all across Hong Kong Race Week, ten races were sailed for the 420s, 470s and 29ers in a week of both strong and light winds and cool conditions."

The wind strength continued to build and so RO Norton handed the course over to the windsurfers and RO Barry Truhol. The windsurfers were challenged by the strong offshore breeze, which grew to a steady 34kts, gusting to 39kts. Truhol said, "We combined courses with the 29er fleet, so only managed one race, but it was a good one! We dealt with a number of tired sailors, then returned to base with the windsurfers heading straight home to Stanley, all arriving safely. It was a very windy, great day!"

It is no surprise then that it was a challenging day for the Optimist gold fleet with an average of 17kts with gusts of 28 to 30kts. For safety reasons the silver fleet was kept on shore and the gold fleet headed out for their last three races of the regatta. The first two races lasted for about 50 minutes each and the third for 38 minutes. The Optimists sailed the inner course of the trapezoid, sharing the race course with Lasers and the 2.4mRs which sailed the outer course. The course was on an axis of 80 degrees on an average length of 0.4nm. RO Sofia Mascia said, "It was fantastic to see the sailors handling the very windy conditions while their boats flew. We saw some very good racing under conditions not common to Hong Kong."

RO Brenda took her fleets and joined up with the Optimists in Repulse Bay given the strong winds ruling out other race areas. "We set up an inner and outer trapezoid. The Laser Radials were started at 1112hrs and were sailing three loops of the long outer trapezoid course. The 4.7s were doing three loops of the short outer course and the 2.mRs two loops of the outer long course. The starts were clear; the sailors not wanting to go through recalls in the strong conditions. We had an average of 16 to 17kts gusting 25. 13 Radials, 15 4.7s and four 2.mRs came out to play. The second races got underway with a few less Radials, and all but one of the 4.7s were there and three of the four 2.4mRs. We shortened the course slightly and the winds were averaging 16kts gusting 25. There were competitive starts and good races meeting the target times for all classes. For Race 12, the wind was an average of 18kts, clear starts, challenging races and the sailors went home tired but happy looking forward, no doubt, to hot chocolate and hot showers. It's been a great regatta with two windy days, two lighter wind days, different courses and different race areas. We look forward to next year."

The Green Fleet had a wonderful week "but unfortunately got blown out today" said RO Alex Hill. The winds were too strong and the safety resources were such that it was decided that the Green Fleet would not race in the end (the same went for the second half of the Optimists - the Silver Fleet). " In any case," said Hill, "we had a wonderful two days of sailing and we had conditions between 2 to 3kts up to about 12 to 15kts yesterday. Today we probably would have been trying to sail in 20kts – certainly the gusts in Deep Water Bay would have been too much for the children. We had a nice prizegiving this morning and everyone had a good time and learned a lot. We had some very good racing,actually, in fairly clean breeze and ended yesterday on a high note with lovely weather and sun so I think it was a little disappointing that they weren't going to give the heavier wind a try today but in reality I think it would have been too challenging for many." Overall Hill is happy. " We had a wonderful Green Fleet and we look forward to our next crop of 'Green Fleeters' at the next Hong Kong Race Week!"

The prizegiving ceremony was held after racing at Middle Island. Hong Kong Race Week Race Chairman Peter Davies began the proceedings. "I would like to say well done to all of the competitors. They have experienced all sorts of conditions over the four days of racing. It's been a great test of all round skills and the winners can truly be called champions. On behalf of the organising committee, I think thanks must go out to the huge number of volunteers and staff who have made this event possible and they too have been experiencing a wide range of conditions.

I would like to thank the Government, particularly the Home Affairs Bureau and also the Leisure and Cultural Services Department for their support. This is an international event and I also thank the Asian Sailing Federation, which we are part of, for their support also. This event is part of their Youth Sailing Cup.

Lastly, I would like to thank Far East Boat who approached us earlier this week saying they'd like to donate one of their charter boats in support of local sailing in Hong Kong so together with HKODA, we decided to hand the boat over to the Hong Kong Schools Sailing Association which is a group based out of Tei Mai Tuk that is currently building the future of sailing in Hong Kong amongst the schools. We look forward to seeing you all next year and thank you all for a fantastic Hong Kong Race Week."

Davies then invited RHKYC Rear Commodore Sailing and Hong Kong Sailing Federation Council Member, Anthony Day, to say a few words. Aileen Loo of the Asian Sailing Federation then took to the stage and congratulated the sailors on their week and thanked HKSF and RHKYC for hosting the regatta and looked forward to the event's continued success. Anthony Day was then invited to present trophies to the winners of the RSX Youth, Techno 293, Techno Junior and 29er classes and Aileen Loo presented prizes to the 420, 470, Laser 4.7 and Laser Radial winners. Lastly, Viola Sun of the Government's Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) rounded off the ceremony by presenting the awards to the 2.4mR, Optimist U10, Optimist U12, Optimist Silver and Optimist Main fleets.

Provisional results are available online at www.hongkongraceweek.com/#!results/c17ko

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