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25 June 2005, 08:23 am
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SINOLINK Mangrove West Coast Shenzhen Hong Kong Open Regatta 2005
Hong Kong

Excitement is building in Hong Kong in the run-up to this new event, destined to become an annual Regatta known as the 'Mayor's Cup Regatta'. Taking place on the anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty at the invitation of the Mayor of Shenzhen, the event will include a race on 1 July from Hong Kong to Longcheer Yacht Club in Shenzhen, followed by two inshore races in Daya Bay.

This preliminary event has attracted the attention of a major player in the burgeoning Chinese real estate sector, Sinolink, who perceive the event to be complementary to their massive development of Mangrove West Coast on the banks of Shenzhen Bay.

Unprecedented cooperation between the two Yacht Clubs and the Chinese Yachting Association has brought the event to fruition, with 42 keelboats of varying sizes currently confirmed on the entry list. The list includes yachts that need no introduction to anyone familiar with the Asian circuit, such as Jelik, Ffree Fire, Mandrake and Jaywalker, together with a very enthusiastic HKPN fleet of smaller yachts.

In addition, China No.1 will make her first visit to Hong Kong since competing in the 2003 China Coast Race Week. Ironrock, skippered by Wei Jun, will compete in her first Hong Kong event, together with San Li Xing, a brand new Bavaria 42 skippered by ex-RHKYC Commodore, Vic Locke.

Asked about the significance of this event in relation to the development and growth of Sailing as a sport in China, RHKYC's China Committee Chairman, Dr. Y.K. SZETO responded 'It's very exciting. This has to be the largest fleet of keelboats to race in Chinese waters in the history of China and yet it's officially a warm-up event for the inaugural Mayor's Cup in 2006. The original idea was to establish a Mayor's Cup in each of the nine provinces of China and we hope that the event will lead to improved communication between the provinces and SARs and also increase the number of inter-provincial Sailing events. The format of this event is exceptionally well suited to provinces lying on China's coast, especially as the waters are relatively safe for the smaller boats. '

The importance of sailing links with mainland China has long been recognised by RHKYC, culminating in 2004 with the setting up of its China Committee, whose brief is to consider and explore new racing destinations within China. Planning is underway for a Hong Kong to Qing Dao race, scheduled to tie in with the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the Club is assisting with the organisation of a Shanghai to Hong Kong Race, pencilled in for 2006/2007.

Lindsay Lyons (As Amended by ISAF)
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