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Ocean Safety 2023 - New Identity - LEADERBOARD

One regatta, one boat show, one no-show, four AC75s and more...

by Guy Nowell 16 Oct 2020 10:02 BST
St. James's Place China Coast Regatta 2020 © RHKYC / Guy Nowell

Last weekend’s St James’s Place China Coast Regatta, turned out to be a real treat on the water. Three days of sparkling breeze (ok, there was one small, and short, flat patch), with sunshine every day. There had to be some government-mandated ‘social distancing’ of course, meaning that 147 passengers squeezed into a double decker bus is ok, but a group of more than four on a pontoon or waiting for the ferry across to Middle Island is not. But I digress…

This is Hong Kong’s premier big boat inshore regatta of the year, run by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. Five windward/leeward races for the principal IRC divisions, and two islands races. Sam Chan’s Free Fire raised a flag on day 1 by beating Shawn Keng’s Alpha+ (formerly Luna Rossa) on the water, twice. That fight went right down to the wire, with Alpha+ winning by a single point after discards were applied.

When I review the photos after it’s all over, I am reminded yet again that Hong Kong really is a great place for sailing – both cruising and racing – which probably accounts in part for the fact that there are over 10,000 pleasure vessels registered here. And that in turn makes one wonder why it is that Hong Kong doesn’t have a boat show (the Hong Kong Yacht Show has just been cancelled, see below) while our neighbour across the water, Macau, with a total of just 49 registered pleasure vessels on the books, has a boat show at the end of this month.

Something that’s going to keep everyone glued to their screens for the next couple of months is the Vendee Globe, starting on 08 November. 33 entries inc 6 ladies. Solo, non-stop, unassisted, all the way round the globe, starting and finishing in Les Sables d’Olonne. Just thinking about it makes me feel nervous, and I’m not competing. The genesis of the Vendee Globe lies in the Golden Globe race of 1969, when Sir Robin Knox-Johnston completed the first solo, non-stop, unassisted circumnavigation. RKJ went on to set up the Clipper Round the World Race, which was won in 1998 by Ariel, skippered by Alex Thompson - and Thompson is now one of the favourites for this edition of the Vendee. As a Englishman, I know who I am cheering for.

And here’s a sobering thought to end my musings: we sailors really are in a minority sport. Sailing occupies a great deal of the chat time in this household, and last week, a visiting non-sailor asked over dinner, “Excuse me, but what is a regatta,?”

Guy Nowell,

Editor, Sail-World Asia

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