Boxing Day Treasure Hunt 2019

As the race management team gathered on Hebe One, there was much talk about beautiful blue skies and hardly anything said about wind . . . 3 to 4 knots, if that. But then the Hebe Haven Yacht Club’s Boxing Day Treasure Hunt is not really about tacking and gybing, hoisting spinnakers or protesting rivals. It’s about having fun, getting out on the water, and enjoying some of the tastiest seafood in Hong Kong. A perfect way to wrap up the Christmas celebrations.

In his briefing, race officer Nigel Slattery pointed out to volunteers and guests alike that the first rule on the committee boat was “one hand for your beer and the other for the boat.” The second rule was “one hand for your beer and the other for the boat.” The third rule was “one hand for your beer and the other for the boat.” Then he made it clear that if a child fell overboard there would be a fee to rescue it. If a husband or wife fell overboard he would be willing to negotiate a price. No-one was offended, everyone laughed, and Hebe One cast off and headed out towards Port Shelter.

The first waypoint was reached in the entrance to Hebe Haven (near the fish farms on the left). With only one competitor in sight (Fuzzy Duck), the committee boat continued to the second waypoint southwest of Shelter Island. Other boats appeared astern as Hebe One made for the third waypoint positioned near the gap between Kau Sai Chau and Jin Islands.

Rounding the western end of Jin Island, the fourth waypoint lay ahead, north of Bay Islet, inside Rocky Harbour. The fifth waypoint on the other side of Rocky Harbour was moved to become the ODM for a finish line with the seafood restaurant, Yau Ley, in the background.

First to approach the finish, under power and well outside line, was Fuzzy Duck, with a clear objective . . . lunch! After a bit of shouting and waving of arms, the helmsman spun the little boat around and backtracked, finishing at a quarter past 12.

Next over the line was Windseeker in their orange livery and, right behind, Ichiban singing Bells, Bells, Bells to the race officer. Lazy Piggy was the fourth and last to finish. Incidentally, by this time the wind had built to a good 10 knots and the boats were soon anchored and crews ferried ashore.

Plates stacked high with prawns, noodles, squid, san choi, scallops and more appeared on the tables and the sailors wasted no time in demolishing all that was put before them. Tsingtao beer, white and red wine made for a wonderfully convivial afternoon, not forgetting the little bowls of soy sauce placed outside for those wanting to witness the winter solstice. Only in Hong Kong!

A quiz followed with some pretty difficult questions to answer . . . especially after such a feast. Crews sang Christmas songs and there was even a best-dressed fender competition. In the end, the race officer, unofficially assisted by Bridget Chan, presented prizes to overall winner Ichiban for the race, quiz, song and dress (42 points) with Windseeker 2nd, Fuzzy Duck 3rd and Lazy Piggy 4th.

Well done to all for keeping such a great club tradition alive. See you Boxing Day 2020.

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