The Hobie Asian Classic opened with Registration and weigh-in being conducted on Thursday evening in a Bar. No ordinary Bar as this on was located half way up the Central Escalator. For those not aware of this amazing escalator, it runs from the “Central” area of Hong Kong up the mountain and past the mid level residential buildings.
It is possibly the longest escalator anywhere and runs up a hillside. In truth it is a dozen or so escalators each one joined by a small path or a cross street. The bar is located on a cross street and I found it because local sailor and IHCA Asian Area Chairman, Tong Shing, hung off a balcony and called my name as I ascended the mountain.
A fun night. However the sailing area is equally interesting. Although you could climb down a mountain to get to the club, all sailors prefer to use the parking area on the opposite side of the bay and catch one of two tender boats, owned by Hong Kong Hobie club, to ride to and from the Hobie beach.
Jerry Rollin IRO of Philippines is the annual invitee who runs the sailing. Mark Pryke IJ, IRO of Australia was the occasional Protest Committee Chairman. Jerry worked much harder than Mark who only had one protest to hear. Jerry ran eight races over the weekend in moderate winds. All had their eyes out for the tropical storm coming from Philippines. We were under Cyclone warning flag # 1. It grew to #3 by the time I flew out on Monday night. It was quite serious in Southern China but much less so in HK.
There were six Formula cats and 19 Hobie 16s, mostly from Hong Kong but also from Taipei, China and Thailand. The 16s were won by Damrongsak Vongtim (Thailand) with a perfect score. Second, after surviving a protest, was Tong Shing (HK) and third John Ashwood (HK), who is also a sponsor.
Beach parties were held each night with prize giving on Sunday night. It was a lot of fun and conducted in traditional Hobie style.
The Hobies will have another bigger event in a few weeks at another HK club.
On another matter, we need all Hobie sailors in Asia to speak to their local National Sailing Authorities (MNAs) to ensure that the Hobie 16 continues to be used at future Asian Games.
We can be too complacent about our place in the World sailing calendar. The IHCA Executive and David Brookes, our Executive Director, work very hard for Hobie sailing. Now is the turn of Each and Every Asian Hobie sailor to harass the MNAs and individual Council members to ensure Hobies rightful place in Asian Games.