Women's Sailing Festival

The opening ceremony of The Capital Company: Steering the Course Women’s Sailing Festival took place at the Hebe Haven Yacht Club on Friday, the 21st of May 2021. It was attended by local dignitaries, sponsors, supporters and sailors, with welcoming speeches made by the organizer and various charities.

Chair of the event’s working group, Juliet Ashton, said the Festival’s aim was to encourage more women to get out on the water and to realize their potential. The sport of sailing, she said, was the perfect course for character development and a healthy lifestyle. This was supported by Cheung Mei-han of the Hong Kong Sailing Federation who praised the initiative and reminded the audience that Stephanie Norton had recently become the first women’s dinghy sailor to represent the territory in the Olympics.

Lucille Wong gave her encouragement and said that the Hebe Haven Yacht Club, through sailing, had done so much for the Children’s Cancer Foundation. Since 2002, she said, the Club had raised HK$8 million for her charity thanks, largely, to the efforts of Kay Rawbone of Sailability Hong Kong, and her late husband, Mike. Sailing, she added, had changed peoples’ lives.

The Club’s Vice Commodore, Paul Arkwright, addressed the many dignitaries and village elders in Cantonese. This was well received and did much to assure the support of the local people in Pak Sha Wan and further afield.

The Title Sponsor of the 10-day festival is The Capital Company with Beaufort Marine as Silver Sponsor. Olivier Decamps, CEO of Beaufort Marine, gave his encouragement to women in sailing and Andreas Buchental explained the reasons why Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong was behind raising the profile of sailing for women. Mercedes-Benz is a sponsor of Sailability.

World Sailing is behind the drive to increase participation of women and girls in sailing under the title ‘Steering the Course’. Festivals are being held in yacht clubs worldwide while the local festival is organized by the Hebe Haven Yacht Club and Sailability Hong Kong. Incidentally, the Olympic Planning Committee has a goal of complete gender balance in participants and national teams by Paris 2024.

Following the speeches, incense was lit and traditional offerings of roast pig and other ceremonial dishes were made by Sailability and the club’s Kay Patterson.

Then it was down on to the dock and out on to the water for watersports taster sessions, Ladies Helm 80 and Sailability outings. Looking forward, the Festival will incorporate the Sun Hung Kai Scallywag Foundation Open Dinghy Regatta on Saturday, the 22nd and Sunday, the 23rd of May. This is an extremely well-supported annual regatta with 150 boats anticipated.

A team of volunteer club members will be working with the HHYC Sailing Centre to ensure the success of the Festival. Activities scheduled include dinghy, kayak and paddleboard taster sessions; trips on the cruising catamaran Moments; Race Management seminars; Art Jam; Box Fit and racing. As part of the Festival, an Inter-Club Ladies / Girls’ Championship Regatta will take place on Saturday, the 29th of May. The Festival will conclude on Sunday, the 30th of May with a Sailaway Day and BBQ at a local beach
More information can be found at http://bit.Iy/HHYCWomenSailingPR

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