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Stoneways Marine 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Light at the end of the tunnel?

by Guy Nowell 4 Sep 2020 14:53 BST

We need some light at the end of the tunnel, we really do. In the last few days we have seen the cancellation of the Youth America’s Cup, the Singapore Yacht Show, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, and the Swan Rolex Cup. That’s New Zealand, Singapore, and Sardinia - not exactly a geographical cluster. If we could, we should just cancel 2020 altogether.

In Hong Kong, social distancing restrictions have been ‘lifted’ a couple of degrees, and the RHKYC is hopeful that its season-opening Autumn Regatta will take place in the usual September slot, subject to race permits being issued by relevant Government authorities. Yes, please hold your breath. The Autumn Regatta takes place on Victoria Harbour, and usually involves almost 100 boats from the one-design classes and a substantial turnout of Big Boats too. When there’s a dollop of sunshine to put a sparkle on the skyscraper scenery, it always looks great!

The America’s Cup has gone through another round of shenanigans recently – in the first place there was a lot of mudslinging going on about misappropriation of public money, so in came the auditors – who handed out a ‘clean’ verdict all round. Of course, this merely serves to remind us that auditors can do whatever they like with the numbers, and produce whatever result is required. Being a bit old fashioned, we can never work out whether the real AC contest is on the water or off. However, if it was all simple and straightforward, “18ft on the waterline, start 14.00 Saturday” as they used to call it in Sydney, then Sail-World’s New Zealand Editor, Richard Gladwell, wouldn’t have anything to write about – and he does it so well!

As an antidote to cancellations, the 70th Bermuda Gold Cup is going ahead (26-30 October), postponed from March. We reckon if it takes place the same year, that’s a legitimate postponement. And continuing on a positive note, the newly-revamped Lantau Yacht Club marina welcomed its first floating visitors a few days ago. Now there’s somewhere in Hong Kong to park a 100ft superyacht, in case that has been worrying you.

And lastly, another cancellation: the annual Yachting Journalists’ Association MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year Award, always abbreviated to the YJA YOTY. This is one of the very few awards in the sporting world that does not carry a load of baggage in the form of commercial endorsements, and is therefore worth all the other put together. Members of the UK’s Yachting Journalists’ Association (and yes, Sail- World Asia’s Editor is among them) vote, sit down to a cracking good lunch, and hand out the bragging rights. When someone wins the YOTY it is because a bunch of journos with no commercial axe to grind think he or she is worth it. The last time I was lucky enough to be in London for the occasion, lunch was at Trinity House and my companions over the lobster bisque were Clare Francis and Sir Robin Knox-Johnson. There are some small perks in this profession!

Guy Nowell, Asia Editor, Sail-World.com

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