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Webasto AUS 2020 LEADERBOARD 2

RHKYC Team Agiplast on the podium


Revolution on Lake Garda

Clipper Ventures 2014

Revolution 1, Lake Garda - photo © Persico 69F / Studio Borlenghi

Dear Recipient Name

Congratulations to RHKYC Team Agiplast who wrapped up the first-ever Persico 69F regatta in third place against some substantially more experienced opposition. The racing format included 16 teams and 14 races, and the second series of the Persico Revolution Cup is under way already on Lake Garda. Here's where to go for all the info:

I was racing a few weeks ago – before the Hong Kong Government clamped down on all forms of “organised sporting activity” including solo dinghy sailing, while still allowing 147 passengers to squeeze into a double decker bus. Bless ’em; it seems that officialdom’s understanding of social distancing is deeply flawed.

One of the crew, four years an owner of a 40ft cruising boat, and proud holder of an RYA Coastal Skipper ticket, was a self-confessed racing novice. But obviously he has basic competence, thought I, as he is much better qualified than I am. (For the record, after 56 years of sailing everything from dinghies to superyachts, across oceans and round the cans, I have no formal sailing qualifications). We went through a tack, and I asked the newbie to trim to “an inch off the spreader”.

And then he asked me… “what’s a spreader?” One of the UK sailing academies that offer RYA courses describes the Coastal Skipper as “an advanced course for experienced skippers studying towards formal certification to command vessels up to 200GRT or to apply for a MCA Master 200 Oral Examination.” Presumably, being able to identify a spreader is not part of the syllabus.

Fast forward to a short ocean voyage from Hong Kong to Taiwan, organised by Outward Bound, and a young friend was on the paid crew of five, with 11 students along for the 330nm ride. Coming out of Kaohsiung on the return leg, there were 38kts across the deck and a 5m+ sea running: one of the paid hands was holder of a Coastal Skipper ticket, but had never been to sea before, and one of the students likewise. Neither of them was competent to take the helm under the prevailing conditions.

Time was when anyone interested in sailing big boats offshore earned their stripes in delivery crews, kept a logbook, got the skipper to sign off on the accumulated mileage, and got themselves by virtue of experience. My friendly insurance broker tells me that regardless of pieces of paper that are waved, insurers value experience very highly, and will take more notice of mileage than of certificates – we are talking private boats here, not commercial ones. And where MCA qualifications are de riguer, there are no short cuts.

What all this means is that a few years before the mast and a couple of China Sea Races on the cv is worth a good deal more than any number of certificates.

RHKYC Team Agiplast on the podium in Garda
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