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Sun Hung Kai & Co. Hong Kong Race Week 2023 - Day 1

by Vivian Ngan 15 Feb 15:15 PST 14-19 February 2023

10kts of breeze greeted the competitors this morning as they arrived at Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Middle Island for the first day of the Sun Hung Kai & Co. Hong Kong Race Week 2023 which is held across three race tracks located in Repulse Bay, Stanley Bay and Po Toi.

This year's edition incorporates the inaugural 29er Asian Championship which has attracted 15 entries - 11 from Hong Kong and the remaining four from Australia, Japan and Thailand.

Japanese sailors Mihiro Okada and Iwao Yasuda are participating in their first Sun Hung Kai & Co. Hong Kong Race Week / 29er Asian Championship and are currently Ranked #1 in the 29er Class in their country! Australians Annabelle Sampson and Piper Attwood are also making their debut in Hong Kong to compete in the 29er Asian Championship. Thai National Youth Team members, Bunyamin Klongsamoot and Kan Kachachuen together with Chatree Makmul and Manintorn Leelas received words of support from The Royal Thai Consulate-General, Hong Kong which has wished them well in the event.

Amongst the 11 home-grown Hong Kong teams are Hong Kong team sailors Jamie Tsang and Mak Cheuk Wing. Mak Cheuk Wing was the winner of Hong Kong Sports Institute's Outstanding Junior Athlete award and the first windsurfer in Hong Kong to win a medal two years in a row in the Junior Windsurfing Championships. She's now changed tack, has turned into a sailor and is racing with Jamie Tsang on a 29er as crew.

Cameron Law and Christopher Lam have come into the event having just taken 1st overall at the Hong Kong 29er National Championship but it's the female team of Emily Polson and Tiffany Mak who recently won 2nd place in the Silver Fleet at 29er World Championship in Spain which have moved into the top spot today after three races!

At Po Toi, Race 1 started in 14-15kts of breeze, however the wind gradually soften and shifted easterly over the day with big swell throughout the day, delivering promising racing experience for the first day. Emily Polson and Tiffany Mak lead the 29er fleet with four points ahead of Cameron Law and Christopher Lam.

Over in the ILCA 6 division, Chinese entry Zhaohui Ding got three bullets taking the lead and in the ILCA 4 fleet, it's Isaac Goh from Singapore leading with two bullets.

The racing at Stanley Bay had similar conditions to Po Toi with an average of 8 to 14kts of north easterly breeze shifting right during the day. In the Optimist main fleet, the biggest fleet of the regatta with 72 sailors, it's a real battle field for all international sailors, with the only Greek entry, Emmanouil Anastasios Vomvylas coming away with three bullets, leading Wasawat Puengpradit from Thailand with 17 points! Chinese sailors dominated the top four places in Optimist Intermediate fleet, with Feiran Wan taking 1 place at the end of day 1.

The Fusion and Pico Green fleet have now finished two days of racing - their first competition ever! The winner of Fusion fleet is Wong Tsz Lung, who is from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's own community outreach programme, Sail To Change. He said "I learn a lot from racing with other Sail To Change teammates and other competitors and I definitely would like to join next year."

Principal Race Officer Barry Truhol commented, "it was a challenging day for sailors in Po Toi, with very long swell up to 2m in height, good wind but quite shifty so some sailors had a difficult time, luckily most of them did well. For Optimist course at Stanley Bay, it was big wind shift after Race 1 and the whole race course was reset. At the end of three good races, many tired sailors at the end of today, a lot of food being consumed with no sad faces. "

We hope all of you enjoyed today's sailing and we look forward to tomorrow with similar conditions!

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