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Sun Hung Kai & Co. Hong Kong Race Week 2024 - Day 1

by Vivian Ngan 1 Feb 12:03 UTC 31 January - 4 February 2024

It was a slow start for Day 1 of the Sun Hung Kai & Co Hong Kong Race Week 2024, incorporating the 2024 29er Asian Championship.

The sun came out at Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Volvo Middle Island Water Sports Training Centre in the morning, however the fog started to roll in later on and the further the race management team sailed away from shore, the thicker the fog was. Ultimately, the low visibility affected the ILCA and 29er classes which had been scheduled to race in the Po Toi Area.

Brenda Davies, 29er fleet Race officer decided to move the fleet to near Round Island and they were rewarded with a beautiful blue sky and the completion of four races.

Brenda commented "When we arrived at Po Toi, the visibility was only 500m and dropped to less than 100m. We sent the team to Tai Tam but there was not much wind to be had so we decided to move to Chung Hom Kok where we emerged from the fog into sunshine. The wind was a bit shifty and the sailing area a bit constrained. The first three races had the same axis and the wind turned more southerly for the fourth race. We started in the fog but ended up with a suntan!"

18 boats are participating in the second edition of the 29er Asian Championship, including a sole overseas entry from Japan. Japanese sailors Yuto Tsutsumi and Taishi Goto are participating in their first Sun Hung Kai & Co. Hong Kong Race Week /29er Asian Championship.

Defending champions Emily Polson and Tiffany Mak, who won Female Under 17 at the 29er World Championships came in as favourites as they try to claim their second victory in the 29er Asian Champs. They will face tough competition from their strong rivals Cameron Law and Christopher Lam, and their younger brothers Louis Polson and Raphael Mak. There's also another family affair in the 29er fleet with Ethan Kong sailing with his sister Chloe Kong.

Emily Polson and Tiffany Mak took four bullets staying comfortably in the lead 3 points ahead of Cameron Law and Christopher Lam. Japanese team Yuto Tsutsumi and Taishi Goto finished the day in 3rd place.

Racing conditions for the ILCA was a complete contrast. They relocated to near Stanley and they had better breeze of 10 to 12kts throughout the day and their racing area was covered by sea fog from time to time. The ILCA 4 fleet had their first race abandoned due to low visibility. At the end of the day, both ILCA 4 and ILCA 6 completed two races.

At Stanley Bay, the racing sequence had not been affected as much; the 2.4mR, RS Feva, Optimist Intermediate and Main Fleets started on schedule at 1100hrs with 6 to 8 kts of easterly breeze gusting up to 12kts during the day.

Inge Strompf-Jepsen, Race Officer at Stanley Bay reported that "it was a good day until the last start where we are changing from a shorter start line to a longer one. After a few recalls, we started with a black flag but the wind died down then. It took more than 20 minutes to the top mark and we abandoned the third race. "

Chinese sailor Jeffrey Zhang, coming away with two bullets in the Optimist Main Fleet leading local sailor Liu Zihan and Margaux Nguyen-Minh is in 3rd place. Chinese sailors dominated the top three places in the Optimist Intermediate fleet, with HanMing Shen taking 1st place at the end of Day 1.

In the RS Feva fleet, Hin Yat Yeung and Sze Ching Tsang are leading after the first day, and 2.4mR, parasailor Fu Yuen Wai enjoyed three bullets today, taking the lead in his fleet.

The Fusion and Pico Green fleet have now finished two days of racing. The winner is Kam Hung Hu from Hong Kong Sea School. He said "I am so happy to have won in my first regatta and I was happy to sail with my friends. I have started to love sailing and I hope I can join again next year."

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