Inter-School Sailing Festival

The 16th edition of Hong Kong’s only team racing sailing competition for schools drew to a close on Sunday, the 5th of March 2017, at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s Middle Island sailing centre. Twentytwo teams, compromising 166 students from 16 schools, sailed against each other in teams of three boats, sailing either Feva or Pico dinghies.

Day 1 of the Boase Cohen & Collins Inter School Sailing Festival 2017 saw some great sailing with the race officer, Elberti Uiterwaal- Postma, and her team getting all the sailors through to Race 60 on the Team Racing schedule. Successfully completing Round Robin 1, in both the Feva – Division A and Pico – Division B.

Elberti commented on the racing: “The wind was a bit tricky, coming from every direction and gusting up to 12-13 knots. The conditions were certainly keeping the little ones in the Pico Division B busy with some unexpected capsizes, as they were caught by surprise in the heavier gusts!”

Results officer, Mark Dowding, echoed Elberti’s sentiments, adding how he was really impressed by the level of maturity displayed by the children at this year’s event. “Every time the French International School students came past the finish boat (winners of last year’s Feva – Division A) they gave us a wave and a yell of thanks. As volunteers, it really makes us feel appreciated.”

As DJ, Kevin Lewis, pumped out the tunes along with some insightful commentary, the schools battled it out on the water. Three debutante teams were included in the mix — the ISF Academy, Creative Secondary School and Tai Po Regional Squad. The first timers certainly made their mark on the competition, with stand out performances by the CSS & ISF sailors making it through to the Pico Gold League on Day 2.

Chief umpire, Peter Backe, headed up a team of ‘new blood’ umpires, including Peter Austin, a six-time competitor and past winner at the Inter-School’s Sailing Festival, teamed up with one of Hong Kong’s leading national judges, Cathy Delany. Delany commented, “It’s great to see the sailors step up a level this year. You can really see them working more, displaying some true team racing tactics. The training in the lead-up has certainly paid off. I’m really enjoyed working with former inter schools competitors, and sharing their passion.”

With an electric atmosphere at the Middle Island hardstand, Day 2 started off on a high with cheering and barracking students, teachers and parents urging on the sailors out in front of the RHKYC Middle Island Club house.

A fluctuating and oscillating breeze once again challenged RO Elberti’s duties to the max. “Sunday was a long and tough day and I am glad we got so many races in on the Saturday. An amazing 117 races were sailed over the weekend and the kids kept smiling the whole day through. The race management was impressive, like a well-oiled machine, the work on the pontoon, the safety, the umpires, the results made the event a success!”

In the last race of the day, the battle came down to a threeway tie in the Pico Division for medal places from 2nd to 4th between French International School, Jockey Club Ti-I School and Creative Secondary School. In the end, CSS took 2nd place on count-back from JCT and FIS in 4th with Hong Kong Schools Sailing Association taking a well deserved 1st place.

In the Feva division, the renowned Gregor brothers helped fellow team members secure a solid win for King George V School, victorious over the 2016 Division A Feva winners, the French International School, who took home silver.

The awards ceremony took place immediately after racing, with Colin Cohen, senior partner at title-sponsor, Boase Cohen & Collins, awarding the trophies and medals and sailing scholarship grants to the winning schools and students.

Cohen was delighted to be involved with the 2017 Inter School Sailing Festival, saying “It was great to see the number of schools here. The weather was perfect and we believe there were great improvements made over last year. We had a whole new range of schools participating and we are looking forward to having a long-term relationship with the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.”

Feva Division
1st King George V School
2nd French International School
3rd Kellett School
4th West Island School

Pico Division
1st Hong Kong Schools Sailing Association
2nd Creative Secondary School
3rd Jockey Club Ti-I College
4th French International School

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