Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

15th Asian Sailing Championships- Nine medals for Hong Kong

by Florence de Changy on 29 Feb 2012
15th Asian Sailing Championships, 2012. HKG team members take a water break Kevin Lewis
Hong Kong was called nine times to the podium during the prize ceremony that drew to a close the 15th Asian sailing championships, on Saturday 25th February on the Malaysian resort island Langkawi.

The event gathered 275 sailors from 19 countries and 60 technical officials (including international jury, measurement controllers and race officers). Participating countries included China, India, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Korea. Hong Kong entered the highest number of participants, 25 boats and 35 sailors, second only to the host country, Malaysia, which entered 32 boats. Hong Kong was present in all categories except match racing.


Most races took place in light conditions 5-12 knots of wind and scorching heat that the young sailors fought by drinking gallons of water. Several races had to be called off after the wind dropped below racing conditions. Strong currents related to the tide complicated the conditions for sailors unfamiliar with these waters.

Commenting on the overall results of the Hong Kong team, HKG Team Manager Warwick Downes said: 'We always expected the windsurfers to do well, considering how solid Hong Kong has become in this sport. And yet, this is not even the A list since the very best windsurfers were training and qualifying for the Olympics elsewhere in the world. The medal we got in the Hobie 16' was also sort of expected, and Nagisa Sakai (Laser Radial) is a strong sailor. But the rest was a bit unknown. Cosmas and Nathan's class (29ers) is new, so it was great to see them win so comprehensively. It is very unfortunate that our 470 men were disadvantaged by a jury decision in one race and the vagaries of the wind in some others. They won three races and surely should have medalled. Then, we had many other sailors who were here for the experience, especially in 420 and Optimists. '

The biggest surprise came from Aberdeen Boat Club Sailors Cosmas Grelon and Nathan Bradley who created a sensation by winning gold in the two handed high-performance 29er class against one of the very best young sailors in the world, the former Optimist World Champion 2010, Thai national Noppakao Poonpat. After a few days of racing, the struggle between the pink spinnaker (THAI 1946) and the pale blue spinnaker (HKG 1952) looked more and more like a match race. 'We started pretty bad' remembers crew Nathan Bradley with a smile.' First we did the wrong course and though we finished first, the second boat went through the finish line and beat us. We still managed to finish second on that one. Then, during race 2, we had gear failures; the tack-line of our spinnaker came loose. So we sailed without a spinnaker...' But things started looking up for the two former Optimist sailors after the third race, when it became clear that two teams, namely Thailand and Hong Kong, were the strongest contenders for gold.


Hong Kong started second behind Thailand with India close on their heels. They became first on the second day by one point. Then Thailand secured two wins on Day 3 and took the lead by one point. After eight races, a single point was still separating the two best teams. But HKG1952 secured four consecutive bullets that created an almost unassailable lead. Malaysia won the 12th and last race while HKG1952 concentrated on covering its main contender, THAI 1946, and finished second, two places ahead of Thailand. Hong Kong won overall, six points ahead of Thailand. 'We kept our cool throughout the regatta and worked closely together during the whole time' said helmsman Cosmas Grelon, 17, who won the Junior World Championship for Hong Kong in the RS 500 class in Weymouth (UK) in August 2011.

'Our sailors were good, they improved over the week and their consistency paid off' said race coach Rory Godman, from Aberdeen Boat Club (ABC). 'The competition was of high level, and their result is all the more impressive that they've only trained in this kind of boat for two months before the regatta' added Godman. The predominating light conditions made it harder for the heavier ABC 29er team Peter Simpson and Louis Bond-Smith who finished sixth overall.

Both Hong Kong 29ers teams were selected after a qualification regatta took place in Hong Kong in extreme conditions early December 2011 with wind gusting to 25 knots and boats capsizing several times during most races.

A bright future, funding permitting

Looking to the future, Hong Kong 29er team is hoping to enter the Youth World championships, which will take place in July 2012, in Dublin (Ireland), and then hit the World championships in Germany, funding permitting. Unlike windsurfing, sailing gets little government support, and most events abroad have to be financed privately or with the help of sponsors. On this occasion, the ABC 29ers were shipped to Langkawi thanks to the generous support of OOCL shipping and Hellman Logistics.

29ers : an exciting newcomer to Asia

29er is an exciting dinghy class that the Asian championships welcome for the first time this year, though it is widely spread in Europe and Australia. Currently, only ABC, HK Sea School and RHKYC have included this type of boats in their flotilla, but other clubs are considering acquiring some too. 'They are very fast, very unstable and very spectacular sailing machines that offer a new experience to young sailors who have grown out of the Optimist class' commented ABC race coach Rory Godman. 'After several years of sailing Optimists, it's completely different. The size, the speed, the sails... The tactics are also less detailed in 29ers. Now, we want to minimize tacking whereas in Optimist you don't lose as much speed when you tack. Angles are also very different, especially on the downwind...' commented Cosmas Grelon, skipper of the winning 29er and a former Opti sailor.

A strong team spirit

Warwick Downes, from the Hong Kong Sailing Federation, and Hong Kong Team Manager, wants to emphasize the strong team spirit that dominated this campaign. 'We had a big team, 35 sailors, 4 coaches, and myself. We were all hanging out together, socializing, so that the whole thing came across as a real team effort. It is very important that even the windsurfers got included. It created a unified spirit. When someone did well, everyone rejoiced,' commented Downes.



'Since our first 1996 gold medal in the 1996 Olympic games, windsurfing has become very popular in Hong Kong. The government has supported the sport a lot, and this is bringing results' said Ho Chi Ho, coach windsurf Hong Kong, who won silver at the Asian Games in 2006, after his six windsurfers all got medals in this latest competition. 'China is always our strong competitor but like us and like Korea, they have not sent their stronger team to Langkawi. Some are preparing for the Olympics. Our best girl, Vicky Chan, is currently doing the European championships and Andy Leung, is training in New Zealand. They will all go to Spain for the qualifications next month' said coach Ho.

All junior sailors had to take time off school to be able to represent Hong Kong at this international event.

































Results : 9 medals

Gold (2)
29er: Cosmas Grelon
Windsurf MOD Men: Ma Yik Kau

Silver (4)
Hobie 16: Tong Shing
Laser radial: Nagisa Sakai
Windsurf MOD Women: Ma Ka Him
Windsurf RSX Women: Sonia Lo

Bronze (3)
Windsurf MOD Women: Chin Yim Law
Windsurf MOD Men: Kong Chim Lam
Windsurf RSX women: Lydia Chau

Further Information available from:
Florence de Changy florencedechangy@gmail.com (author of this report)
Kevin Lewis dinghysailing@abclubhk.com (Dinghy Sailing Manager at Aberdeen Boat Club)

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignHelm Events 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Vendee Globe- No tethers in Southern Ocean?
I was interested to see that Seb is wearing neither a pfd nor a harness while racing in the Southern Ocean. Take a look at this pic of Seb Josse racing in the Vendée Globe. He is in the Southern Ocean sailing in rough seas and I imagine he is hitting speeds in the mid-twenties. I know what it’s like to sail down there. I have done numerous Southern Ocean transits and I know it to be an unforgiving region. So I was interested to see that Seb is wearing neither a pfd nor a harness. Interesting.
Posted today at 7:59 am
Sailing World Cup Final - Finn racers put to the test
The top Finn racers at the Sailing World Cup Final presented by Land Rover are putting each other to the test The top Finn racers at the Sailing World Cup Final presented by Land Rover are putting each other to the test and for Rio 2016 Olympians Jake Lilley (AUS) and Caleb Paine (USA), it's business as usual after a period of rest.
Posted today at 7:03 am
Vendee Globe - Rescuers in the zone
The evacuation of the skipper de Pavant is expected to start around daybreak once there is sufficient light. The Marion Dufresne, the research and supply vessel which serves the remote French islands in the South Indian Ocean, has arrived close to the stricken French skipper Kito De Pavant. The evacuation of the skipper de Pavant is expected to start around daybreak once there is sufficient light.
Posted today at 6:11 am
2017 Sunfish Int’l Masters and Midwinters NORs are now published
The Sunfish Int'l Masters is scheduled for March 26, 27 and 28. Midwinters is scheduled for March 30, 31 and April 1. The Sunfish International Masters is scheduled for March 26, 27 and 28. March 29th is an off day and the Midwinters is scheduled for March 30, 31 and April 1.
Posted today at 4:40 am
Sailing World Cup Melbourne - Volunteers, the source of energy
Energy is not something that can always be measured, but strength that volunteers in sailing bring is critical to events Energy is not something that can always be measured, but the strength and vitality that so many volunteers in sailing bring to the events that and clubs that they help out is an amazing resource that is critical to events such as Sailing World Cup Melbourne.
Posted today at 3:54 am
SWC Final - Melbourne - Nicholas Heiner follows famous dad into Finn
Former Laser world champion Nicholas Heiner is competing at his first international event in a new class he hopes Former Laser world champion Nicholas Heiner is competing at his first international event in a new class he hopes to medal in for the Netherlands at the Olympic Games, just like his father did 20 years ago in Atlanta, USA.
Posted today at 3:03 am
Vendee Globe - Kito de Pavant believed to have been lifted off
Marion Dufresne, the research and supply vessel has arrived close to the stricken French skipper Kito De Pavant Vendee Globe race control advised earlier at the Marion Dufresne, the research and supply vessel which serves the remote French islands in the South Indian Ocean, has arrived close to the stricken French skipper Kito De Pavant. The evacuation of the skipper de Pavant was expected to start around daybreak once there is sufficient light.
Posted today at 2:57 am
Speed Thrills. Pain Kills. Minimise potential damage with Kollition™
We all love seeing the foilers get faster and faster. We all love seeing the foilers get faster and faster. One brand, Zhik®, was the first to develop a range of lightweight, low profile, flexible and waterproof padding in a purpose built wetsuit to help protect the sailors from damage when they or boat stops abruptly.
Posted today at 1:45 am
Vendee Globe - Rescue plan for stricken de Pavant + onboard Video
French skipper Kito de Pavant was enduring an anxious wait this afternoon aboard Bastide Otio after he struck an object French skipper Kito de Pavant was enduring an anxious wait this afternoon aboard his Bastide Otio after he struck an object which destroyed his keel housing, ripped off his aft keel mountings and left the appendage supported only by the hydraulic keel ram.
Posted on 6 Dec
RORC Transatlantic Race – Leopard 3 due to finish sunrise Wednesday
Leopard is 600 miles ahead of their nearest rival, Arco Van Nieuwland and Andries Verder's Dutch Maxi Marten 72, Aragon At 1200 UTC Mike Slade's British Maxi, Leopard 3 was 240 miles from Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada and expected to take Monohull Line Honours at around sunrise on Wednesday. Leopard is nearly 600 miles ahead of their nearest rival, Arco Van Nieuwland and Andries Verder's Dutch Maxi Marten 72, Aragon.
Posted on 6 Dec