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Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

Hong Kong sailor Tiger Mok ready for major step up at Volvo Ocean Race

The backup navigator will have a role to play on board Scallywag and onshore

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 October, 2017, 6:18pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 November, 2017, 11:41am

Hong Kong’s Tiger Mok is ready to make a major leap up as one of the crew members for Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag in the Volvo Ocean Race.

Scallywag is the first-ever Hong Kong entry for the round the world event – skippered by Australian David Witt. The 37-year-old Mok has experience in the China Sea Race and also competed in Hong Kong to Vietnam and Hong Kong to Philippines races.

However, the 45,000 nautical mile Volvo event is a daunting move up in distance for the Hong Kong sailor, who will perform roles as a backup navigator on board Scallywag as well as onshore as a shore manager.

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“I’ve never took part in an event of this stature and certainly nothing this long. It’s a big step up but I’m not nervous. As a sailor, you need self-confidence and self-belief. Being a new guy in the game you have got to have that self-belief,” Mok told the event’s official website.

“That’s one of the things I love about sailing; it inspires and demands people to call on their personal reserves of self-confidence and belief. That’s why I think it’s a perfect activity for local youth.”

Witt is hoping Mok’s inclusion in the Scallywag crew will help boost interest in sailing in the city.

“I sailed with Tiger here in Hong Kong-Vietnam in the China Coast Regatta in 2011, so I’ve known him for a while and he’s a very smart guy and I thought he’d be perfect for us,” said Witt. “He’s the Asian in the team, so he’s the guy we want to make the face of our team.

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“We are trying to get kids involved in the stopover [in Hong Kong] and one of the big things for them is if they see Tiger on the boat sailing.”

Mok will be working alongside lead navigator Steve Hayles and is hoping to learn from the experienced Briton.

“Steve is well known for his experience on ocean journeys and to work alongside him will fast track my development. I can make years of progress in just a few months,” said Mok.

“It’s a pretty simple role. First and foremost, you have to navigate to the right place safely. That’s a big ask already, because we know this race has had incidents in the past and I know how serious it is when a navigator makes a mistake.

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“Secondly, you need to have an intuitive understanding of how to read weather and ocean currents and be able to combine that with the technology provided. The on-board routing software gives you a good track to start with, but won’t always get you the fastest route, because actual conditions will change things to some extent. I need to be able to instantly read the actual conditions and make the best judgment call.”

“Then I will need to be decisive when I feel the time is right to present information that will help the skipper make key decisions that will result in us making gains or losses”

Additional reporting by Robby Nimmo