‘Face of the team’ Tiger Mok dumped from Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag in Volvo Ocean Race
Hong Kong sailor left behind in Lisbon and could now join rival Dongfeng boat which has taken the lead in the round the world yacht race
Hong Kong sailor Tiger Mok has been sacked from last-placed Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag in the Volvo Ocean Race.
Mok’s selection to the Hong Kong team in August was hailed by skipper David Witt as a triumph for Asian sailors and Mok was set to be the “face of the team” when they sailed into Hong Kong in January.
But Mok was not on board Scallywag when it left Lisbon for Cape Town on the second leg of the gruelling round the world yacht race.
Hong Kong born and bred Mok was offered a role as shore crew but rejected that, according to the source.
Another person with knowledge of the teams said Mok may now join the China-backed Dongfeng Race Team, which grabbed a narrow lead in the race on Thursday night.
Mok, who has sailed with Witt before and was hired as backup navigator, acknowledged the 45,000-nautical mile Volvo event would be a daunting move up in distance but said he had the “self belief”.
When choosing his crew, Witt said he hoped Mok’s inclusion would help boost interest in sailing in the city.
“I sailed with Tiger here in the Hong Kong-Vietnam 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.
“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.”
Scallywag is backed by Hong Kong-based Lee Seng Huang, group executive chairman of Sun Hung Kai & Co.
Witt earlier caused a stir when he said he would not have a woman on his boat, then changed his mind and included Olympic silver medallist Annemieke Bes, from the Netherlands.
The boats are expected to arrive in Hong Kong from Melbourne around January 20 for a stopover, which includes a short race up to Guangzhou, before they leave on leg six down to Auckland.