Sea School favoured to rule the waves

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 January, 2005, 12:00am

With ITS BASE just one minute from the beach, the Hong Kong Sea School has been tipped to win the annual inter-school regatta on Saturday.

Nine schools will take up the challenge set by The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) when they compete in the fourth regatta off Middle Island near Repulse Bay.

Races will be held in two classes (types of boat): Topaz Class, for those familiar with life on the ocean waves; and Topper Class, for the less-experienced sailors. Topaz Class has a two-member crew, while the Topper category is for solo sailors.

Competitors will sail around a triangular circuit, with a chase boat enforcing the rules. Penalty points can be accumulated for things such as starting too early or hitting a marker. The school with the most number of wins at the end of the day will be the champion.

'West Island have been strong and won the competition last year. However, the Hong Kong Sea School at Stanley have entered and their sailing is always of a high standard,' said Paul Dalton of the RHKYC. 'If I were a betting man, I would put my money there.'

Chinese International School, King George V School, Hong Kong International School, French International School, South Island School, Island School and Sha Tin College are also taking part in the race.

'We have a total of 19 races on the day and we need clear water but, most importantly, wind,' said Dalton.

The regatta is becoming more popular every year. Hong Kong Sea School is the only Chinese institution in the fray, but it is hoped that more local schools will join the competition next year.

'The event is organised by the Youth Sailing Class of the RHKYC and part of our mandate is to develop sailing within schools,' said Dalton. 'We have our Middle Island club used by six schools each week for after-school activities. This has been a direct result of the inter-school regatta generating interest. Last year we had seven schools, this year we have nine so slowly yet

surely the sport is becoming more popular.

'The government has an excellent training programme for sailors at three centres around Hong Kong. So, if a young person wishes to sail and is over 14 years of age, there is nothing to stop them.

'What we are hoping to undertake is a more specific race interest, and the interest must come from within the local schools for them to move forward.'