19th Flying Fifteen World Championships - 33 overseas entries

2009, FFI Worlds, RYCV Melbourne, Australia.
Teri Dodds
RHKYC’s Official Logistics and Shipping Partner, GAC Pindar, this week delivered eleven 40’ containers to Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s Middle Island sailing centre, bearing the 33 overseas entries in the 19th International Flying Fifteen World Championship that will take place from 25 October to 8 November and which includes the Hong Kong Nationals.

Designed by Uffa Fox in 1947, the Flying Fifteen is a two-person keelboat which is officially classed as a dinghy and as the containers were being offloaded at Middle Island, overseas sailors began arriving in Hong Kong to reassemble hulls, keels and masts before official measurement starts today.

50 boats will participate in the Nationals, and 53 in the Worlds, with defending champion Graham Vials from Great Britain shipping his two month old boat Foof in for the event. Also competing will be three-time champion Steve Goacher (1995, 1997, 1999), also in a new boat – as yet unnamed. Steve has competed in the previous Hong Kong Worlds in 1997, noting 'we’re hoping for better luck this year … just prior to the last Hong Kong Worlds the boat was written off by a collision with a stolen car .. a new boat was supplied in double quick time and we worked night and day for two days to get it ready and went on to win'.

Many of the regular competitors cite Hong Kong’s vibrant night life as one of the things they are most looking forward to, along with 'sailing in 25kts of breeze, sunshine and shorts' and most particularly, the camaraderie and meeting up with old friends from around the world.

Some of the competitors have silverware in their sights, while others will be happy to finish mid-fleet against previous winners such as Alan Bax (1990), Nick and Janet Jerwood (2005), and Grand Alderson (2009). Flying Fifteen International Commodore Greg Wells will also be competing in Betty, now five years old and, while he has great respect for the other sailors on the water, claims 'the biggest competition is going to be the Hong Kong nightlife'.

The oldest boat on the water will be Bobby Salmond’s Vamoose which he first sailed with his father at the age of 13. The youngest competitor will be French Fries crew Wataru Takada, at 17 and the youngest helm Cosmas Grelon at 18 years of age, sailing on Noisy Forefather. Both will be sailing under the Hong Kong flag, although Wataru originally hails from Japan and Cosmas from France. Unsurprisingly Hong Kong has the largest representation with 19 boats, while Australia has 16 and Great Britain 14. Two boats from New Zealand, one from Spain and one from Ireland make up the entry list.

An event of this stature requires and immense amount of planning and an army of volunteers – Race Management will be led by International Race Officer Jerry Rollin from the Philippines, with his deputy Charlie Manzoni from Hong Kong, while the International Jury will be chaired by Great Britain’s Penny Carter.

Racing gets underway on Monday 28 October with a practice race before six races over three days of racing in the Hong Kong Nationals. There follows a lay day on 1 November, then the 19th International Flying Fifteen World Championship is contested over seven races from 2 to 7 November, with a re-sail day scheduled for 8 November.

Event Schedule [all racing is scheduled to take place in the waters south east of Lamma]
Hong Kong Nationals Competitors’ Briefing – RHKYC Middle Island – Sunday 27 October

Practice Race – Monday 28 October - 1400hrs
Hong Kong Nationals Race 1 and 2 – Tuesday 29 October – First start 1200hrs
Hong Kong Nationals Race 3 and 4 – Wednesday 30 October – First start 1200hrs
Hong Kong Nationals Race 5 and 6 – Thursday 31 October – First start 1200hrs
Hong Kong Nationals Prizegiving – Thursday 31 October

Lay Day – Friday 1 November
Competitors Briefing – RHKYC Kellett Island – Friday 1 November

International Flying Fifteen World Championships – Saturday 2 November – First start 1200hrs
International Flying Fifteen World Championships – Sunday 3 November – First start 1200hrs
International Flying Fifteen World Championships – Monday 4 November – First start 1200hrs
International Flying Fifteen World Championships – Tuesday 5 November – First start 1200hrs
International Flying Fifteen World Championships – Wednesday 6 November – First start 1200hrs
International Flying Fifteen World Championships – Thursday 7 November – First start 1200hrs
International Flying Fifteen World Championships – Friday 8 November [Re-sail Day]
International Flying Fifteen World Championships Overall Prizegiving – Friday 8 November