Sailors learn the ropes on how to stage a mega event
It helps when you know the ropes in Hong Kong. There are many parallels between competitive rugby and sailing, says former Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club commodore Harald Dudok van Heel.
'For starters, the competitions are getting tougher and tougher; more money is being put behind the sport; the younger you start, the better [just ask the Kiwis and the Fijians]; and team work is not the only thing - it's everything.
'Also, it's good to see more women in both sports, too. There have been plenty of great female sailors in the Olympics, such as Shirley Robertson, who has graced our fair shores on more than one occasion.
'Now I think we'll see more rising stars in women's rugby. Australia's got some great players, but watch out world, China's moving on up!'
Dudok, who originally hails from Holland, has been living, working and sailing in Hong Kong for around 27 years. 'I've only missed a couple of Hong Kong Sevens,' he said.
The yacht club is also preparing to stage a mega event comparable to the Sevens - the Louis Vuitton Hong Kong Trophy - after impressing the bean counters at the Mega Events Fund, a new scheme to promote sport and the arts.
'Hong Kong is perched on the precipice of even more yachting growth and is fast becoming a fixture on international yachting calendars,' Dudok said. 'Last November, it hosted the inaugural Extreme 40s Asian regatta in amazing catamarans, and the Louis Vuitton Hong Kong Trophy will be held next January in AC class boats.
'The Sevens is a great example of how to stage an event combining sport with entertainment. We look forward to emulating this model.'
Added Hong Kong Sailing Federation chairman Karl Kwok: 'I am also one of many looking forward to the Rolex China Sea Race next month and the Asian Sports Boats Championships in November. Just as former and current greats come out of the woodwork for the Sevens each year, we'll see the same thing for sailing in the coming 12 months.'