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2020 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Cup Regatta & Macao Cup International Regatta Day 4

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia 13 Jan 23:48 PST 9-12 January 2020
Parade of Sail in front of Macao Science Centre. Macao Cup International & Greater Bay Area Cup Regattas 2020. © Guy Nowell

But first of all there was another Parade of Sail, which provided a pleasant and colourful sight as the combined Macao Cup and GBA Cup fleets cruised along the waterfront to the Macao Tower and back again before heading out to sea and round to the racing area. "An opportunity to bring understanding and appreciation of yacht racing to the people of Macao" as the MC put it, later on.

RO Leon Zhou had no difficulty starting on time, and the competitors' biggest decision was how far to reef down. Dianshan Lakers solved the problem with a "100% reef" meaning they didn't hoist the mainsail at all. Interestingly, this did not relegate them to the back of the division, finishing 9th out of 11 boats. Experience really showed: the top boats in each division just got on with it - and at the end of the day the podium places were unchanged from the close of play on Saturday.

Jun Avecilla's Subic Centennial Europa enjoyed the brisk conditions and posted their best two scores for the regatta (2,2), and will have been disappointed to miss the podium by just one place for the second year in a row. And talking of repeat performances, Jono Rankine decided that for the youngsters on Team NZ Victoria, discretion was the better part of valour. "We took it easy and played it safe," said the skipper. "We were light - only eight up, and some of them pretty small - and even lighter after one of the crew lost his breakfast over the side!" The other youth team, RHKYC Sharks, dug deep and finished a very creditable 5th in both races.

Over on the GBA Cup scoresheet, Team Wink Culture Group sailing a Beneteau 40.7 (so why weren't they in the B40.7 division?) wrapped up the series with 1,2 finishes and lifted the Cup by the slimmest of margins - just one point in front of Alan Chung's Blu, who in turn were one point ahead of Macau Sugram Seamo, Zhong Jingsheng's superquick Soto 40 who finished up 3rd overall.

The closing day of the Macao/GBA Cup was a return visit to the coffee urn. When you are in only 8m of water, and the breeze is coming straight from the direction of the river mouth, the chop gets up very quickly and kicks up the silt. Sure, this ain't the Caribbean, but wind waves and sunshine are all positive, and the only thing to suffer from brown water really is the photography!

Quite obviously, the format of the Macau Cup invites comparison with the China Cup International Regatta, now 13 years old. A division of chartered boats, an exotic destination (unless you live in Hong Kong) and, in the case of Macau, prize money. What's not to like? It is, to all intents and purposes, a sailor's packaged holiday with a regatta thrown in. Maybe this is the way to grow sailing in Asia? Buy a regatta, buy some boats, buy some competitors. The hardest thing to acquire is credibility, without which the top class international competition will not beat a path to the door. Rome wasn't built in a day, and nor was Cowes Week. Two Macau Cup regattas have now proved to be popular with the fly-in competitors as well as the sail-in entries from the Greater Bay Area, particularly Hong Kong, "just across the way." Encouraging some intra-GBA interaction is after all what this is all about.

Here's a problem: if the event is to grow, it will need to find a new home. Fisherman's Wharf is a central and accessible venue, but it is limiting by size, and with just 22 boats in the regatta it is already full. No doubt the principal sponsor of the event, the Sports Bureau of the Macau Government, is keen to keep the event front and centre, but... There's new marina being built on the west side of the Cotai Strip, with an estimated 120+ berths. It would be a good location with easy access to the present racecourse, sure - but how deep is the water in the entrance channel? The fact is that for this regatta to grow, there needs to be some improved infrastructure in place.

Once upon a time, Macau was the pre-eminent port on the China coast, far outstripping Hong Kong. How nice it would be to see a significant sailing event grow and flourish here. Three cheers for the 2020 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Cup Regatta & Macao Cup International Regatta, and here's looking forward to something even bigger and better in 2021.

Standing by on 72.

Overall Results: (podium)

Macau Cup (Beneteau 40.7)
1. Team Péan (FRA) 1,3,1,5,2,1,1,3 (12)
2. Team Windy (EST) 9,1,2,4,5,3,3,1 (19)
3. Vivat Sailing Team (RUS) 2,6,3,3,1,5,4,4 (22)

Greater Bay Area Cup (IRC)
1. Team Wink Culture Group (HKG) 1,OCS,1,3,2,1,1,2 (11)
2. Blu (HKG) 3,1,3,2,1,4,5,3 (17)
3. Macau Sugram Seamo (MAC) 2,2,6,1,3,2,4,4 (18)

Full results: www.macaoregatta.com/en/result2020

Official reports: www.macaoregatta.com/en/news

All other information: www.macaoregatta.com

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