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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Sail-World Asia Newsletter 07 Nov 2020

by Guy Nowell 7 Nov 2020 02:51 GMT
Great Cape Race 2021-22 © Great Cape Race

Next year, add a new Round the World race to your calendar. First there was the Whitbread, then there was the Volvo, which has become The Ocean Race (possibly the most feeble race name ever). Now stand by your bunks for the Great Cape Race, brought to your chart by Andrew ‘Capey’ Cape (no coincidence) and departing UK in October next year. Capey has done eight laps around the planet, and knows the way. If you ever thought that a sailing race that included a one-point motoring leg to Nansha in China had probably taken the concept of sponsor sycophancy just a port too far, and if you ever wondered how a Round the World Race managed to cover 44,000nm when the equator is a smear more than 21,500nm… well then, a fully crewed, uncomplicated, ORC handicapped, four-leg, lets-get-on-with-it race is now on the cards. It’s a BYOB event (Bring Your Own Boat). Read below, and god bless all that sail in it.

World Sailing has recently elected a new President. Lee Qian Hai rose to some sort of prominence as head of the China Yachting Association, which position he was gifted by virtue of the fact that his father was in the Navy and therefore he must know something about boats. Really. It is noted that he entered the lists armed with a sponsor promising to shell out USD10m over the next couple of years, which must have looked sweet to the voting representatives of an organisation with “severe financial difficulties”. We remember a certain Russian gas company that made similar financial promises, and then withdrew in confusion. If something like that happens, what else does Mr Lee bring to the WS table?

Talking about round-the-world races, the Vendée Globe fires off again on Sunday 08 November. Is there is any sporting event on the planet more brutal than this? 28,000nm of sleep deprivation, cooking hot temperatures, freezing cold, incessant brutal battering, fear (Alex Thompson told me that), jubilation, and unending exhaustion. Maybe the Iditarod – but even that has a maximum of 15 days on the clock. As an Englishman, I am cheering for Alex Thomson, against whom I raced on board Chrysolite when he skippered Ariel and won the Clipper Race in 1998-99. With an IMOCA 60 on steroids (and of course foils), and after just too many appearances as the bridesmaid, Thomson is bidding to be the first non-Frenchman to win this race. Please, Alex, don’t find any containers, or whales, and cruise back into Les Sables d’Olonne in a couple of months’ time at the head of the fleet.

Boat Shows and their ancillary entertainments have been cancelled all over the world, and some of us have had more than enough of the terminally boring online replacements. However, the Macau Yacht Show managed to keep afloat, after a fashion, and more particularly so did the MYS Conference, otherwise known as the Asia-Pacific Yacht Industry High-Level Forum. This was a real/virtual event, with speakers and a small audience in Macau, and online guest ‘appearances’ from Hong Kong, Sydney, Geneva and Sanya (China). Buzzword of the Day is “Boating in the Greater Bay Area.” Full report of proceedings, below.

This coming Sunday 08 November, and slightly shorter in duration (26nm) than a round-the-world race, is the RHKYC’s annual Around the Island Race, taking off from Club HQ in Victoria Harbour and trying to get 200+ boats to circumnavigate Hong Kong Island, breeze permitting. Some of the boats are serious racers; some are more interested in the onboard wine cellar. In terms of sheer numbers, this is the biggest event on the Hong Kong sailing calendar. There’s always a hole at Cyberport, and the biggest question is usually where does the PRO call the short finish? Watch this space.

Guy Nowell, Editor, Sail-World Asia

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