Sailors around the world are delighted at the recent announcement of the new Louis Vuitton World Series. Sailors in Hong Kong are no doubt delighted that the city is still on the short list of places to host a regatta in the Series.
But it's not a done deal, yet. Not by a long way. The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club has picked up the ball, and very reasonably tried to enlist the assistance of the Hong Kong Government by applying for a HK$10m grant from the Government's “Mega Fund”, a bucket of cash set aside to help promote sporting events and Hong Kong's international image in general. But the Hong Kong Government have as much imagination as a box of whelks, and tend to see problems before opportunities. Will they be albe to appreciate the enormous media and PR exposure that a LVWS event in Hong Kong would generate for the city?
The RHKYC has proposed that the race ‘village' be at the almost-finished Pier 10 in Central – not at the Club itself. “We see this as an event for Hong Kong, not just for the RHKYC,” says Club Commodore Warwick Downes. Good call. “One of the pre-requirement for applications to the Mega Fund is that the proposed event has to have the potential to draw more than 10,000 spectators.” Only 10,000? That's less than a quarter the capacity of the Hong Kong Stadium, and only 1,000 more than turned out for the East Asia Games torch relay. As long as the promotion is done well, AC class yacht racing in the natural amphitheatre of Hong Kong harbour should be able to get those sorts of numbers.
So what's the down side? Well, you'd have to close the harbour to through traffic for a few days – or part of those days. Those of us who spend a good deal of time on the harbour know the traffic well – there are the Star Cruises liners (send ‘em round the other way), the rusty coastal freighters (send ‘em round the other way), a few fuel barges (restrict them to the edge of the harbour), some gambling ships (they only move after dark), and some ferries and harbour cruises (politely point out that there are three cross-harbour tunnels and a very good MTR system, charge the tourists more for their cruise, and keep them off the race course). [NB earlier this year the Bosphorous, one of the busiest city-harbour channels in the world, was completely closed for a P1 Powerboat racing series recently. It can be done.]
So no problem there, then.
No, the problem is more likely to be inside the heads of the men in suits, the Money Mandarins with the power to say ‘yes' (or ‘no'). Ever since the HarbourFest of 2003, the event billed to resurrect Hong Kong in the eyes of the world in the aftermath of SARS, there has been a marked reluctance for anyone to stick their hand in the air and say ‘Hey! That's a really good idea, let's do it!' The result is bureaucratic constipation, and world class events wandering off to places like, well... Singapore.
There's a nice story from the last Volvo Ocean Race, which has two Ericsson execs looking down the harbour from an office in Exchange Square, when one says to the other “What on earth are we doing in Singapore?” And don't forget, hosting a VOR stopover was one of the things that earned Singapore the rather spurious title of “Asia's Maritime Capital” - the port that can't arrange immigration clearance for a yacht race ‘outside office hours'.
The RHKYC made their “face-to-face” presentation to the HK Government on 08 September, and have been advised that an answer will be forthcoming “in a few weeks”. Strewth! – Nice and Auckland are already signed up, and Athens, Valencia, Newport, Cape Town and Abu Dhabi are jumping up and down in their seats yelling “Me! Me! Me!”, and Hong Kong is sucking their teeth and saying, “Oooooh, dunno about that...”
This is an event that would pay enormous dividends in promoting the city (think of what the Rugby 7s has done for Hong Kong's image and reputation), and could be a precursor to visits from the Volvo Ocean Race, the World Match Race Tour, the Extreme 40 circuit and maybe an RC44 regatta.
Please, Hong Kong, don't blow the tack on this one. If you do, we'll be left floundering in someone else's wake for a long time to come.
l'Hydroptère sets new record for the 500 and 1000nm plus Video Richard Gladwell, Sail-World, l'Hydroptère, the French foiling trimaran became the fastest yacht on the planet yesterday, setting a new record for the 500 metre mark of 51.36 knots, thus beating the previous record set by kitesurfer Alex Caizergues who held the previous record of 50.57kts set in Namibia last year.... [more] Onsend this story
BMW Sailing Cup - Hong Kong selections RHKYC Media, The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's 2009 BMW Autumn Regatta has been chosen as the selection event for a team to represent Hong Kong at the BMW Sailing Cup Final, which will be held in April 2010.... [more] Onsend this story
Sparkling season opener at Aberdeen Boat Club, Hong Kong Sail-World Asia, Two days of sparkling sunshine and good breeze were a real signature opening to the Hong Kong sailing season. The Aberdeen Boat Club's Opening Regatta has been the first date on the calendar for some years now, and with the support of long-time sponsor Sunseeker, is a growing event.... [more] Onsend this story
Punta Fuego Sailing Fiesta 2009 - NOR Event Media, For those sailors outside the Philippines, Punta Fuego is halfway between Manila and Puerto Galera. It was, just once, the finish line of the China Sea Race, and there are plenty of people who will tell you it's the best place the CSR ever went. It's on the west coast of Luzon, south of Corregidor... [more] Onsend this story
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China host Hobie 16 International Regatta - Weihai Cup International David Brookes, Weihai Cup International Regatta. The IHCA's newest Hobie Fleet 619 in Weihai, Shan Don, China has just completed a successful Hobie Regatta. The Weihai Cup International Regatta hosted by the Royal Marina Club was by invitation only.... [more] Onsend this story
Yacht and Boat Korea 2009 secures 100 confirmed exhibitors Kate Duryea, Close to 100 exhibitors from Asia and Europe are confirmed for Yacht and Boat Korea 2009 to be staged October 29 to November 1 this year.... [more] Onsend this story
China Hosts 14th Asian Sailing Championship Asian Sailing Federation, Racing will be held in six men's, five women's and three open events, including the Optimist, 420, 470, Mistral, RS:X, Laser, Laser Radial and Hobie 16 classes.... [more] Onsend this story
Images from 'Frisco: Big Boat Series, Day 1 Erik Simonson, h2oshots.com, Erik Simonson of www.h20shots.com provide this gallery of images from the Big Boat Series sailed in San Francisco, today.... [more] Onsend this story
New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup- World Yacht Clubs invade Newport Barby MacGowan, New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup - It will be reminiscent of Newport's America's Cup days when 19 yacht club teams from 14 nations descend on this 'City by the Sea' next week.... [more] Onsend this story
RS:X Windsurfing World Championships - Two new Champions Rory Ramsden, RS:X Windsurfing Worlds. An emphatic win for both the Mens and Womens Champions. Over in the women's medal race, the battle was for the bronze medal. And in the Mens competition it has been a long time coming. The last Olympic windsurfing world champion from Great Britain was Barry Edgington and that was back in 1992.... [more] Onsend this story
Oyster appoints Asia Yacht Services as Hong Kong/South China agent Asia Yacht Services, Luxury yacht builder Oyster Marine, renowned for its top-quality, blue-water cruising yachts, has appointed Asia Yacht Services (AYS) as its representative in Hong Kong and South China. AYS will be the exclusive agent for Oyster's highly regarded 46ft to 82ft deck saloon range, and will also be an agent for its sleek new 100ft and 125ft superyachts.... [more] Onsend this story
Images of Hyeres; l'Hydroptere cracks through the 51kt mark Gilles Martin-raget, Top international photographer, Gilles Martin-Raget was in Hyeres to record the French foiler, l'Hydroptere crack through 51kts setting two new speed records over 500 metres and 1000metres - both marks are yet to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Council... [more] Onsend this story
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Gladwell's Line: Louis Vuitton's fabulous gift to Sailing Richard Gladwell, The announcement, overnight, of the Louis Vuitton World Series, should see a huge hole filled in Sailing's shop window. While some might quibble as to whether whether the right processes have been followed in obtaining the sanction of the International Sailing Federation, the world sailing body should not waste too much time on this at its upcoming Executive Committee Meeting. It's a no brainer.... [more] Onsend this story
Solo 16-year-old sailor hits merchant ship BW, Jessica Watson, 16-year-old who had set off from Mooloolaba to Sydney on a leg which was to be a precursor to her attempt to solo sail the world non-stop and unassisted, has hit a cargo ship less than 24 hours after leaving port.... [more] Onsend this story
RS:X World Championships Race Report for day four Rory Ramsden, RS:X World Championships Race Report for day four. Now that the fleets have been fixed with the top half racing in the gold fleets and the rest in the silver. We have changed the procedure so that the two gold fleets go out together. First off the start line were the women. For once the Spanish dream team were not in control.... [more] Onsend this story
Fisher's View: Louis Vuitton World Series Bob Fisher, It may not be the America's Cup, but sure as Hell it promises to be a great deal more exciting and fun. And the excitement and the fun will not be restricted to the sailors but will extend to a broader audience – the spectators and the television viewers at home. Based on the same formula as the highly successful and popular Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup that was held in Auckland in February...... [more] Onsend this story
World Match Racing Tour - Minoprio leads standings WMRT media, World Match Racing Tour. The sixth stop on the nine event World Match Racing Tour, saw Adam Minoprio (NZL, ETNZ BlackMatch Racing) knock out past Tour Champion Peter Gilmour 3-0 in the quarter finals followed by defending Tour Champion Ian Williams (GBR, Team Pindar) 3-0 in the semi-finals, and then out gunning Torvar Mirsky (AUS, Mirsky Racing Team) 2-1 in the final to win the event.... [more] Onsend this story
Louis Vuitton World Series: First events in Nice, Auckland and Italy Keith Taylor, The Mayor of Nice, the World Sailing Team Association (WSTA) and Louis Vuitton are pleased to announce that the first Louis Vuitton World Series event will be held in Nice, France on the 7- 22 November 2009. The second Louis Vuitton World Series event is scheduled for March 2010 in Auckland, New Zealand, followed by a Series in La Maddalena (Italy) in May 2010.... [more] Onsend this story
Extra splash for 20th edition of the Raja Muda RMSIR Event Media, Over 60 yachts have already expressed an interest in or have formally registered for the regatta with a good balance across all seven classes. Following the format of recent years, there will be four IRC classes, two non-IRC classes (one of which will be for classic-style yachts) and an OMR multihull class being assembled by Henry Kaye, the first winner of the Raja Muda Cup in 1990... [more] Onsend this story
Win a Laser sailing boat!! - value AUD$9,200 - NZ$11,495
What would you do with a new Laser? Some will sail them, lots in Masters, Others plan to give it to their Grandkids...but if you've not entered the competition you wont have to think about it!! Have you entered this competion yet? It closes on September 25th, so do it NOW!! http://www.laser-sailing.net/sweepstakes_form.cfm?SSid=32!Enter_online_now!new to win a choice of a Laser 4.7, a Laser... [more] Onsend this story
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup preview KPMS, The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the big boat event of the season, has upped its numbers from last year in a period that has seen most numbers dropping. Some of the finest sailors in the world are gathered in Porto Cervo to do battle over the next six days on some of the finest yachts built.... [more] Onsend this story
St Moritz -Adam Minoprio crowned King of the Mountain 2009 World Match Tour, The last day of St. Moritz Match Race proved to be a tricky one for both the organisers and the competitors. The Northerly breeze was blowing very inconsistently, forcing the Race Committee to cancel many start procedures during the final series between Adam Minoprio (NZL, ETNZ/Black Match) and Torvar Mirsky (AUS, Mirsky Racing Team).... [more] Onsend this story
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