Sailing through 'Yacht' competition

WINNERS of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Centenary Schools Competition were privileged to receive their valuable prizes from Princess Anne, in a ceremony held at the Compass Room of the Yacht Club.

Princess Anne visited the club during her four-day official visit to the territory, and was invited to present the prizes to winners of the competition.

The contest involved essay-writing and painting on the theme of sailing and the sea. The event aimed to stir interest among young people in sailing and give them an opportunity to take part in the exciting sport.

The event was organised to mark the club's 100th anniversary of the granting of its royal charter by Queen Victoria.

''The purpose of the competition was to involve a wider community in the Yacht Club's celebrations, and we felt that would best be achieved by encouraging Hong Kong's youth to enjoy watersports,'' said Commodore Vic Locke.

Ms Kate Kelly, one of the competition organisers, said they were pleased and satisfied with the response.

''The quality of work was high, and the judges were very impressed,'' she said.

A total of 140 entries were received. Vivian Wong of South Island School and Ho Yiu-chung of St Francis Xavier's School in Tsuen Wan won first prizes in the 11-to-14 years essay and painting sections respectively.

For their outstanding performance, both received a sailing dinghy and sailing lessons.

''I was so excited, I never thought I'd get the prize,'' said Vivian. ''When the letter came, I just glanced at it, not expecting first prize!'' Vivian, 12, had been out sailing only once before, with her class, and confessed she found the watersport ''difficult and complicated''.

Her essay ''Weeks in the Life of a Ship'' won high praise.

''It came naturally, I just wrote whatever came to my mind,'' the student said.

Belinda Van Der Westhuyzen of Sha Tin College and Lo Pui-man of Po Kok Girls' Middle School came first in the 15-to-18 years essay and painting categories, winning a complete windsurfer and a weekend of sailing lessons.

Belinda, 17, wrote about sailing with the family in her essay.

''When I was in New Zealand, I used to go sailing often with my family,'' said Belinda, who was looking forward to windsurfing outings with her prize.

She said she was ''nervous'' to receive the prize from Princess Anne.

''It's the first time I met a member of the royal family. It was pretty exciting.'' Calvin Chan of South Island School and Kim Chi-yee of Buddhist Wang Fung Ling College received second prizes in the 11-to-14 years essay category.

The second prize in the 15-to-18 years painting section went to Chan Yim-chun of St Francis Xavier's School.