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Hong Kong Race Week 2019 - part of the ASAF Youth Cup

by RHKYC Media 20 Feb 2019 19:54 PST 14-17 February 2019
Hong Kong Raceweek 2019. 420. Eloi Defline and Thibault Minne (HKG), winners. © RHKYC / Guy Nowell

The 6th edition of Hong Kong Race Week came to a close on Sunday last. Competing in the event were 245 sailors from 10 nations including China, Cambodia, India, Macau, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and first-time entries Guam, Myanmar, Norway and Sweden.

As predicted, there was a big breeze for the final day - at its peak, it averaged 20kts with gusts up to 35kts. With such a strong breeze it was decided to send the Green Fleet sailors out to watch the action from the comfort of spectator boats. Due to the stronger conditions the Optimist, RS Feva and 2.4mR race track was based in Repulse Bay, and the Laser 4.7, Laser Radial, 29er and 420 race track moved to Stanley Bay which is more sheltered.

Even with the move of race tracks to the more sheltered areas, there were quite a few capsizes and retirements recorded throughout the day. The 29er fleet only got one race in before gusts exceeded their class wind limit and they were sent back to base. Hong Kong's Malo Kennish and Anatole Martin took the win with an impressive 11 bullets in 13 races. In the 420 fleet Hong Kong's Eloi Defline and Thibault Minnie came out four points ahead of Hong Kong's Duncan Gregor and Matthew Clark after a very close battle that took place over the course of the week, with either team taking the first or second position in every race.

Principal Race Officer Barry Truhol commented on racing on the performance track, "We always knew that today would be a challenge. Today was huge. The breeze on both courses was 18 to 20kts; the sailors had very challenging race conditions - they had short chop, deep chop and gusts up to 35kts. It was extremely challenging for them. There was a little bit of attrition, but they all came through and did a great job."

In the Laser 4.7s, Hong Kong's Patrick Ziteng Feng took the win followed by India's Rammilan Yadav and Chinese Taipei's Chi Yu Wu, the first female in the fleet was China's Xinran Chen. In the Laser Radial fleet, Chinese Taipei's Hsiu Chu Daniel Huang came in first followed by Hong Kong's Stan Picard and Hong Kong's Stephanie Norton. Huang said, "It was tough sailing today but very exciting. I am very happy. The wind was very strong, and I was hiking hard. It was a good day; it's a great event."

On the Repulse Bay race track the Optimists got their three races in and the 2.4mRs and Fevas each got in two. The conditions again were challenging. The wind was fixed but there were times when they were getting gusts of 28kts coming down the race track. Taking the win in the biggest fleet of the regatta was Norway's Optimist sailor Julia Jacobsen. Jacobsen said, "It's been really fun the past few days. When I accomplish something new, it's fun. It's been exciting to see such a big line up of international competitors. This event is really fun and social; I met at lot of new people from other clubs and also overseas sailors from India and China. Where next? In the future, I hope to qualify for the 2019 Optimist Worlds."

In the 2.4mR, parasailor Chi Yueng Puk took the win for the second year running in front of Yuen Wai Foo. In the RS Fevas, Hong Kong's Johan van den Berg Riccardo Tocco sailed their way to the win in front of Macau's FeiChi Cai and YuJun Chen. In the Optimist Green Fleet which did a total of six races on Friday and Saturday, eight-year-old Felix Mulder took the win. Mulder said, "On Friday it was tough and I capsized and I nearly didn't want to go sailing. Today we had really good winds and everyone was really determined to sail but it was very windy so nobody sailed. It's very exciting to win but I also think the other sailors deserve to win. It's a really fun event and there are sailors from all over and it's really great."

In closing, Truhol said, "Overall it's been an excellent Hong Kong Race Week, we've had four fantastic race days of competitive racing, and I hope that everyone goes away with good memories and smiles."

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