Macau along the way

The seventh edition of the Macau International Dinghy Regatta began on Saturday, the 18th of June 2016, in a moderate to fresh breeze, under a clear, sunny sky. There were 44 entries, with the biggest ever Optimist fleet of 22 sailors. Altogether, 68 sailors took part.

Other fleets of Toppers (11), RS Fevas (7), Laser Standards (8) and Stratos (3) enjoyed a reasonable first day of racing but were not unduly challenged by the weather. Considering the age and size of most of the youthful competitors, this was just as well. A thunderstorm did threaten, but the committee decided to carry on. The storm skirted Macau and headed straight to Hong Kong making a dramatic backdrop for the photographers present.

On the second day (Sunday), the wind dropped but it was still sunny and good enough to complete three races by early afternoon. Thus making a total of seven races sailed and allowing everyone a discard.

The two-day event followed a now familiar format with the three Hong Kong Clubs — RHKYC, HHYC and ABC — each sending a container over to Macau on Thursday with some of their dinghies and RIBs which were unloaded and rigged on Friday, added to the Macau fleet for the weekend, raced and then packed and sent back to Hong Kong the following Monday.

Club official, Eric Crowter, commented on how things were now much easier as Associação de Vela de Macau (AVM) had grown considerably. Eight Fevas, 12 Toppers and 20 Optimists have now been added to its overall fleet, meaning the need to temporarily import boats from Hong Kong has been reduced.

In a sign of progress, this year’s regatta proved to be a greater China affair with visiting teams from the Mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and, for the first time, Taiwan.

The most interesting group was the Optimists. Jason Chuang from Kaohsiung had been leading after the first four races but, on the second day, Felicia Chan from Macau won all three races and pushed her way into 1st place. It was Felicia’s first win against non-Macau sailors. Recently she had attended the Asian & Oceanian Optimist Championship Event in Sri Lanka, which shows the importance of exposing Macau sailors to good outside competition to lift their level of competence. Nevertheless, Macau sailors with a generally lower level of experience than their visitors managed to feature in all four classes. Results are shown here:

Optimist 1st Felicia Chan (AVM); 2nd Jason Chuang (Kaohsiung); 3rd Sean Liu (HHYC); 4th Terence Liu (SZ)

Topper 1st Lumier Ng (HHYC); 2nd Cai Fei Chi (GWZ); 3rd Lua Castro (AVM)

RS Feva 1st Nicole Scholler / Pei Yip (HHYC); 2nd Timothee Lacouture / Nathan Turner (HHYC); 3rd Augustin Clot / Casey Law (ABC); 4th Derrick Ip / Nicholas Lo (AVM)

Laser Standard 1st Antonio Franco (HHYC); 2nd Somao Deunier (AVM); 3rd Peter Ko (ABC); 4th Ryan Wong (ABC)

The three-way Stratos race between AVM, HHYC and ABC clubs was won by C Wong / C Francony & A Orange from ABC.

The prizegiving was assisted by Ini Chan from the Macau government’s Sports Department, Leung Pak Hei from Marine & Water Department and Joanna Chuan from Nam Kwong. Joanna is a key organizer behind the Macau Boat Show which,
for the second year running, will be held at Fisherman’s Wharf in early November.

AVM is both the local sailing federation and organizer of training and club activities. It has only one paid staff member and operates out of the Macau government’s Centro Náutico de Hác Sá. In the space of three short years, AVM has managed to join the World Sailing and Asian Sailing Federations, grown a fleet of more than 80 dinghies and windsurfing boards, train approximately 50 young sailors, organize a series of local races and send teams to compete overseas at events such as the World Youth Championship in Langkawi late last year.

The association has received support from the Macau Government Sports Department, but the main impetus has come from the members themselves.

To enhance the social side, it was recently decided to hold a ‘first Sunday of the month’ gathering. The inaugural event was held on the 3rd of July, with fun activities and a BBQ. Participants were asked to help sponsor our team of young sailors led by Tomas Amaral who, on their own initiative, have decided to compete in the Topper Worlds in Ireland towards the end of July.

New president, Carson Ma, with management chairman, Brian Sou, and vice chairmen, Eric Crowter and Robert Li, congratulated the young sailors Felicia Chan, Thanaree Aguas and Nicholas Lo, on their endeavours.

The Macau government always talks about diversifying and moving away from the gambling industry, but seems to lack ideas on how this can be done. AVM has made its own proposal regarding the modernisation of the sailing centre with a new boat shed, renovation of the lower floor of the present centre and building of a new large semi-circular access ramp to the beach and water.

As well as improving the facilities for local training, a modernised sailing centre could be used to attract overseas sailors and enable Macau to bid for larger sailing events. It just so happens that one of our current members, Adalberto Tenreiro, is an architect with sports project experience and was immediately able to put some flesh on the bones of our proposal. We hope the government will bring the project to life.

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