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Diverse Sailors Make Splashes at Hong Kong Race Week

The 2024 Hong Kong Race Week drew to a close on Sunday, ending six days of sailing  between local and international athletes, including competitors from mainland China as young as 7 years old.

Young sailors from mainland China flock to Hong Kong Race Week, seeking competition and a taste of the international stage

Hong Kong Race Week, the city’s premier international regatta for dinghies and invited classes,  was suspended for three years since 2019 and resumed for the first time last year. 

The scale of this year's event continues to grow from last year. According to the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, this year’s race attracted over 270 sailors from 10 countries and regions, compared with 236 participants last year. 

Ten classes including 29er, ILCA 4, ILGA 6, Optimist Fleet competed in five race areas including Repulse Bay, Deep Water Bay, Stanley, Tai Tam and Lo Chau. 

Singaporean sailor Isaac Goh, who clinched the silver medal in the Boys ILCA 4 Single Handed event at the Asian Games, raced against Hong Kong sailors Stephanie Norton and Nancy Highfield in ILCA 6 for the first time.

Singaporean sailor, Isaac Goh at his second international event as an ILCA 6 sailor during Hong Kong Race Week

“Compared with the first time I competed in Hong Kong I was more at ease,” said Goh. “I do have confidence, and the goal I set for myself is to maintain the position I am in now. ”

Goh ranked second in this Class, only after Stephanie Norton, the silver medal winner at the Asian Games of ILCA 6.

Norton will represent Hong Kong in Europe on Monday as a ILCA 6 veteran

“For me, this (event) was more like training,” said Norton. “But I do like to win, and the Singapore team is really strong.”  

Hong Kong Race Week this year incorporates the second 2024 29er Asian Championship as well.

Japanese players, Yuto Tsutsumi and Taishi Goto, who were the champion 29er sailors in Japan and ranked third in the 29er Class, were the only national team leading the board besides Hong Kong teams.

YutoTsutsumi and Taishi Goto deemed the event a chance to win international glory

“We don’t have many sailors competing in the 29er Class,” said Yuto. “This is an experience where we can compete with sailors from other countries and learn.”  

There were also over 90 mainland Chinese sailors among the 270 participants, ranging between 7 and 17 years of age.

Li Hongxi, 15, coming from Shenzhen, ranked sixth place in the Optimist Main Fleet class, which was his first time to compete in Hong Kong.

Li Hongxi, the Shenzhen 15-year-old sailor (right), described sailing as a combination of competitive sports and embracing nature

“Competing in Hong Kong is quite different from that in Shenzhen,” said Li, “The sea water here is more stormy and conditions are more variable, which require us to stay composed and make choices wisely.” 

Li started sailing at the age of 11 as a member of the Chen Jinhao Sailing Club, which was formed by the previous world champion, Chen Jinhao.  

Chen led in total 14 young sailors from his club, including two who have ranked second and fourth in the mainland China Optimist Main Class.

Chen (right) with Alan Huang(middle) and Yin Weihang (left). The two boys ranked second in the previous two rounds, but the sudden break of their mast forced them to pause

“Hong Kong Race Week is very international,” said Chen. “Competing with different competitors here will provide a good training and learning opportunity for our little sailors moving towards an international level.”

Parents from the mainland gathered on the shore, waiting for their children to return from the race

Li Jianzheng, 7, also competed in the Optimist Main Class today. Even though the results were not as expected, "it's only his fifth month of sailing," said Li Jianzheng’s father, Michael Li.

"Our initial goal is to make my son strong," he said, while waiting for his boy to come back from the race.  

"We don't care about the rankings, we just want our children to overcome inner fear and pump up courage for wind and waves," Michael Li added.






《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.


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