During 5 days of April (16th - 21st April), Sailability Hong Kong, took part in a training day and their first 4 day major sailing Regatta at RHKYC, Middle Island, Hong Kong. In the run up to our Asia Games participation in October 2014, the Regatta represented a crucial introduction to high level racing.
As a new sport for people with disabilities in Hong Kong, there were many challenges to face as few sailing clubs have suitable facilities for wheelchair access or people with limited mobility. Just to get to the venue of the race, our sailors had to run a gauntlet of obstacles, from steep steps, gaps in gangplanks, no lifts, difficult access arrangements and inadequate toilet facilities. All made even more challenging in the wet environment of a sailing club. We were thrilled to note that our sailors took to these challenges with the same tenacity to which they have undertaken the challenge of training to compete in the Asian Para Games. They pulled together and found ways to achieve each task and for 4 gruelling days, they trained and raced.
We would like to offer our sincerest gratitude to the following for enabling us to participate in this great weekend event:
VRC, Deep Water Bay – thank you for allowing us to use your premises to ferry our sailors to Middle Island. Your staff were very helpful and enabled us to take this route instead of the only other alternatives of navigating the beach, a shore launch or a flight of steps – as you can imagine, none of these are helpful to wheel chair users let alone those reliant on crutches.
RHKYC, Middle Island and the organisers of the Regatta. We understand that there was some initial anxiety about whether or not our sailors would manage to get there let alone be able to handle whatever the weather decided to throw their way! Thank you for allowing them to prove that they could do both! The experience on the water was invaluable. Everyone involved in Sailability had a wonderful time, and our sailors were thrilled to be able to compete.
Certain individuals at the event, we don't know who you are, but you do! During the course of the weekend, several people came up to our sailors and offered help, with opening doors, pushing up ramps and getting in and out of boats. Thank you for spotting a moment of need and extending a hand of friendship.
Sailability and our fleet of 6 Access 303(w) dinghies competed in all 10 races of the event, the results of which can be seen below. Our huge congratulations to all the sailors.
Results from RHKYC Race Week - Access Class
|1st Place||Ping CHO||Chi Yeung PUK|
|2nd Place||Man Hing CHAN||Kin Wah LAM|
|3rd Place||Yuen Wai FOO||Ka Man CHAN|
We are delighted to announce that we will be sending a team of 6 sailors to represent Hong Kong in the Asian Para Games, these to be held at Incheon, S. Korea 18th – 24th October 2014.
We shall be sailing in two classes – the Access 303(w) – double handed and the 2.4mR -single handed. Two teams will represent Hong Kong in each Class.
Currently, our sailors are now taking part in a number of selection Regattas and those chosen to represent Hong Kong will be the most consistent over the RHKYC Regatta (April), the HHYC Regatta taking place in May and the Macau Regatta being held in June. We look forward to announcing who has been nominated in due course.
Access 303(w) - on the left, and competing in the RHKYC Regatta on 19th April and the 2.4mR, on the right, undergoing sea trials at Hebe Haven Yacht Club waters earlier this month:
I am sure you will join all those selected to represent Hong Kong all good fortune in Korea later this year.
SATURDAY APRIL 12TH AT HEBE HAVEN YACHT CLUB | 10.30 AM
Naming and launching of Hong Kong's 2.4mR entry in the FIRST Para Asian Games
dinghy racing event this October in Incheon, South Korea
The above photograph is of Mike Rawbone, Chairman of Sailability Hong Kong putting the 2.4mR dinghy (Victoria 1026 donated by the Victoria Masonic Lodge) through sea trials.
The naming and launching ceremony will be attended by Edmund Wong, Director of Sports, of Hong Kong Paralympic Committee & Sports Association for the Physically Disabled. Mr. Wong is former Head Fencing Coach and Sports Administration Manager of Hong Kong Sports Institute.
The HK$150,000 2.4mR dinghy has been donated to Sailability. Mr. Charles Doyle, former Master and present Charity Steward says: "To celebrate our 150th anniversary we decided to raise HK$1million for charities we annually support and also wanted to identify a charity in Hong Kong that we could support in a special way. Of several charities we chose Sailability. It enabled Sailability to purchase a specially designed yacht for Hong Kong to compete in the Para Asian Games in Korea and other future international events."
Hebe Haven Yacht Club is at: 10.5 miles Hiram's Highway, Pak Sha Wan, Sai Kung, Hong Kong.
We are most grateful to Victoria Lodge for the donation of $150,000 which has enabled us to order the very first 2.4mR racing yacht in Hong Kong. This is one of the yachts we will be sailing in the Asian Para games in October this year, and is special in that it is scaled down version of an ocean going racing yacht and adapted to be sailed by one sailor with disabilities.
The yacht is currently at sea on its way to us from Finland and a formal launch is due to take place upon arrival. More on this later.
Many thanks to all members of the Lodge for their generosity and support.
We are delighted and thrilled to announce that Operation Santa Claus 2013 have selected us as a beneficiary for this year.
We are very grateful for the support of the Hong Kong Sailing Community with the donation of our new Access 303 dinghies. In particular we would like to thank the general committee and members of ABC (Aberdeen Boat Club), HHYC (Hebe Haven Yacht Club) and RHKYC (Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club). With their generosity and support our journey towards representing Hong Kong in the Games is a step closer.
Bathed in a gushing cascade of sunlit champers bubbles, Team Danger named, launched and presented Red Dragon to Sailability – an Access 303 dinghy the Team raised the funds to pay for.
Leader of the magnificent team of young ladies, Elena (Ellie) Houghton said: "We pulled all of our resources [together] and in true Hong Kong fashion we held a party!! With the help of many people (too many to mention them all) we held an Auction Night at Sam Chan's stunning house in mid-levels.
Our most sincere and grateful thanks go to the Dutch community for their donation of HK$127,346 to Sailability Hong Kong.
This very generous donation has enabled us to acquire our own safety boat (which will be delivered to us later in the year). Fortunately, this substantial donation has left sufficient funds for us to purchase a 'person lift/hoist'. These lifts enable sailors with physical disabilities to get in / out of sailing dinghies more easily.
Words by: Mike Rawbone
Sitting in the HHYC bar one evening in April 2009, the then Commodore of HHYC; Mark Houghton commented to me that HHYC should consider doing more for the local community and in particular, for those who had a disability "rather like the RYA does in the UK with their Sailability program" he suggested. Seeing the chance to start something new and really worthwhile at HHYC (and for that matter - in Hong Kong) I got Mark to pay for my bar bill and volunteered to give Sailability a go!
"What a thrill," gasped 20 year-old Cynthia Zhang Ying Chan, as she clambered ashore after her first trip at the helm of one of our Access 2.3 dinghies. "It was so exciting I'll bring my younger sister next time, she said.
Cynthia, like her sister, is visually impaired. They experience difficulty with distance seeing. But under the expert guidance of Sailability volunteer Katrina, Cynthia was able to guide the dinghy from our HHYC pier out into the main Sai Kung channel and back again.
A big Thank You to Michelle Adams for hosting the Garage Sale and Sausage Sizzle on Sunday 18th May. The day was a great success with nearly $8,000 raised and a great time had by all. Many thanks to Michelle and everyone else for supporting her.