HK yacht club enjoys the perfect start at New York regatta

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 September, 2011, 12:00am


The unheralded entry of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club raised more than a few eyebrows when they finished second overall after the first day's racing at the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup in Newport, Rhode Island.

The 22-strong fleet, all racing in identical Swan 42s and representing leading yacht clubs from around the world, figured in three tough races on the opening day of the regatta. The Hong Kong team led by Nick Burns finished a creditable second overall to the Royal Canadian Yacht Club.

'It was a great first day for us. I think what was great for the series was that they had a lot of practice racing and allowed the people to really learn how to sail the boat,' said Patrick Pender, helmsman of the Hong Kong team.

'Often you go to regattas and by the end of the regatta you go, 'crikey, we're ready to go now'. They did a fabulous job yesterday of giving a really, really good explanation about how the tides work both inside [and outside of the bay],' said Pender, praising the organisers' decision to give crews several practice days to familiarise themselves with the conditions.

Pender's team managed a 3-8-2 finish in the three races and he was quick to credit his crew. He said: 'The crew's doing an awesome job, mechanically the guys are working very hard. We did a really difficult drop on the last race, coming in hot and fast to the left-hand gate. It was a hard manoeuvre and we got clear air, had a really good rounding. We sailed very well on the last short beat and protected a good second place finish.'

Burns added: 'There were superb conditions, flat water and 12 to 16 knots of wind, in a very competitive fleet. The dynamics on the boat worked very well, and we had good boat speed up and down wind.'