T he Inter-school Sailing Festival, organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club off Middle Island over the weekend, showcased a brand-new style of competition.
The races in both of the two divisions featured various boat types. In two-member teams, Division A sailors competed with Feva boats, while Division B sailors set off in Q'ba or Pico vessels.
Every race featured three boats from each team - six in all. A first-place finish meant one point, while a sixth-place one meant six points for a team.
During intensive qualifiers, the objective of the teams was to score as few points as possible overall to gain a better ranking for the final.
In the final of the Division A contest, Hong Kong Sea School's team C beat second-ranked KGV in the 'best of three' final races.
French International School beat defending champion South Island School for third place.
Sea School's team leader, Form Four student Tse Sui-lun, attributed his success to the experience he gained at the recent Asian Sailing Championships in Malaysia, where he represented Hong Kong. His team came sixth in the boys' under 18 Laser 4.7 division there.
In the Division B final, Chiu Lut Sau Memorial Secondary School went head to head with Hong Kong Sea School. Chiu Lut Sau won the first race, but Sea School rebounded in the second.
The third, and decisive, race proved to be a real thriller. Sea School took the lead early on, holding the first two positions.
They covered both sides of the course to prevent Chiu Lut Sau boats from overtaking.
Trailing slightly behind, one Chiu Lut Sau team, which comprised siblings Emily Ha Oi-tung and Jason Ha Cheuk-lun, tried a legal blocking at the finish line, but failed.
In the end, another Sea School boat managed to sail past, so the school's three teams claimed the first three places in the race. Chiu Lut Sau's own three teams had to make do as runners-up.
Emily, a Form Six student from Chiu Lut Sau, said nervousness overcame her and her younger brother.
'We won all our round-robin matches, but we knew Sea School is a strong team. We were eager to finish the final in two straight races. After losing the second, we were more tense and made a couple of errors in the deciding race,' Emily said.
The winning Sea School team comprised Form Four student Vincent Luk Yat-ping and Form Three student Eddie Chik Ho-yin. They told Young Post that they managed to sail to victory calmly after some initial setbacks.
'After picking up our form with a more serious attitude, we made a comeback,' Vincent and Eddie said.
Sea School's Team B, led by canoe specialist and Form Five student Li Yin, came fourth in Division B after losing two straight races to West Island School.