Alma Mater Race

The second edition of the Swiss Re YMC Alma Mater Race, organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Young Members Committee, took place on the 18th of December in Victoria Harbour, with a record breaking 62 entries.

The event is much like the Nations' Cup and is meant to be fun. However, instead of going out in teams representing a country or nation, on this occasion teams were formed based on their affiliated schools – be it a local university, international school or secondary school, as long as at least half the team has the same affiliation. Many sailors turned up fully decked out in team uniforms, waving college flags ready to do battle on the water.

Despite the extremely chilly weather (the coldest day of the year so far) and a strong monsoon signal in force, 55 of the 62 entries made it across the line. Nine boats represented Hong Kong University with teams from the Faculties of Architecture, Medicine and Dentistry, Hornell Hall and Ricci Hall. The second largest participating academic association was Wan Yan College with seven entries followed by St Joseph’s College with six entries.

This event also attracted some alumni from academic institutions further afield including Yokohama National University, University of Newcastle, University of Exeter, McGill University, Simon Fraser University, Glion Institute of Higher Education Switzerland, University of Tokyo and University of Cambridge.
Competitors set out under a stunning blue sky and a northerly breeze of 8 to 10 knots within the harbour area. Racing on RHKATI handicaps, the boats were given staggered starts at 15-minute intervals with the HKPN division starting first and the fastest IRC boats starting last. Race officers Mark Dowding and Ian Fleming chose a course that took the fleet through Lei Yue Mun and round a Junk Bay Mark. Once the fleet exited the gap, there were greeted with the strength of the monsoon – 18 knots on the nose. After passing marks in the harbour, the boats sailed back to a club finish line.

The ROs said “We were glad to see that concerns about the forecasted conditions earlier in the week did not deter the many crews that took part. They were rewarded with the best weather we could have hoped for and they obviously enjoyed the event." 

Under RHKATI, the VX One, Probably the Best University (University of Exeter), helmed by Dion Houghton, took the win for the second year, followed by Full Power (University of Manchester), skippered by Sam Chan and then HKSYU Sociology’s Windfall, skippered by Tom Ho. In the HKPN division, Lam Chak Sum’s Voyages 58, representing Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, won with another DC 29, Voyages 55, from Hong Kong Sea School (skippered by Mason Lai), in 2nd place and The Farr Side from Glion Institute of Higher Education Switzerland (skippered by Alex Cheung), in 3rd place.

                                                                                 – photos by RHKYC / Panda Man

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