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President's Report for 2014

There was a changing of the guard this year with our deferred AGM being completed on 14th February, 2014. Myself and Inge Strompf-Jepsen were elected President and Vice President respectively. Karl Kwok who had been our excellent President for 18 years graciously stepped aside to pave the way for some change at the top. George Li (our Treasurer) also stood down in March and the Council appointed Mei Han Cheung and Andrew Moore to become the new Vice President and Treasurer respectively and complete the Officers quota to Council. 

These Officers were not allowed the opportunity to join the Board of Governors of the Sail Training Association (STA) through their Articles of Association as both Karl Kwok and George Li had resigned their posts from that Board and so vacancies existed. The incumbent STA principals then chose to change the status between our organisations and claim boat storage charges against HKSF which resulted in a small claims tribunal action which is still ongoing. 

Even allowing this distraction, it was agreed by all parties to hold the Festival of Sport Sailing Regatta out of Little Palm Beach in June with some assistance from STA staff. It was a successfully run event with Sofia Mascia doing a sterling job as PRO in difficult weather circumstances (especially on the Sunday). Over one hundred boats were on the water including our new Access 303 and 2.4mR disabled sailing classes.

In the Asian Sailing Championship, which was held in July this year in Incheon, South Korea, the Hong Kong Sailing Team, led by Team Manager Eileen Sze, had a good regatta with Tse Sui Lun and Chik Ho Yin gaining a silver medal in the 420 class as the stand out performance.

The Asian Games was held in September at the same venue as the ASC in Incheon with myself as the Team Leader. We had a small squad who qualified and the Hobie 16 crew of Tong Shing and Kit Tong came away with a bronze medal. Their worst result in 12 races was a 3rd place which showed amazing consistency. Tse Sui Lun and Chik Ho Yin came very close to a bronze also but just missed by 2 points in the 420 class. This was a superb effort against some very strong competition. Our match racing team tried very hard after a somewhat rushed dedicated training program but could not get to the semi-final stage of their event.

Two weeks later in Incheon, the Asian Para Games were held with CK Chan (Vice Commodore of Hebe Haven YC) as the Hong Kong Team Leader. Our 2.4mR sailor, Foo Yuen Wai won the bronze medal with a distinguished display in our first ever international attempt in this discipline and our Access 303 sailors raced well.

Other overseas results this year from Hong Kong sailors include Ante Razmilovic’s second at the Newport, RI Etchells World Championships, the seventh place from 69 boats in the 29er North American Championships by Yann Thierry d’Argenlieu and Nathan Bradley. Our National Racing coach spent all of summer away with various members of our squad in Europe. Of distinction was Calum Gregor and Hugo Christensson’s 14th place in the 420 World Championships.

Our annual HKSF International Open Dinghy Regatta was not held this year due to a clash with the Asian Games and will be incorporated into the Hong Kong Race Week which will be held in February next year.

The Asian Beach Games will be held in mid-November with our Hobie 16 team being our only representative. Results are unknown at this time.

We are currently advertising for a new Coaching Director who will look after all our training and coaching programs plus overseeing our elite athletes. We are now an Elite B sport under the Hong Kong Sports Institute Scheme and get additional funding to support our developing coaching program. Our National Racing Coach, Craig Cobbin has returned to Australia to look at other personal opportunities there. 

The Asian Sailing Federation (ASAF) continues to grow under the Presidency of Malav Shroff and HKSF are active in the new initiatives being undertaken. The ASAF Youth Cup will be incorporated into the Hong Kong Race Week next year as one of four annual events to decide the Asian Champions in the respective youth classes. The next Asian Games are scheduled for 2018 in Jakarta. The Etchells class will hold their World Championships in Hong Kong in November, 2015 and the 29er World Championships will be in Hong Kong in 2018. Both of these events will be run by the RHKYC.

Karl Kwok (ISAF Area J Council member) and I attended the ISAF Annual Conference in early November and heard submissions on our sport from various factions.  It was a good opportunity to network with fellow ISAF administrators and note the direction of our sport.

Our PVOL Grade 2 courses were all admirably run by Nick Robinson this year due to the untimely demise of our other lecturer and longtime member, Vic Locke. New lecturers are now approved and we will continue with more courses scheduled to cover the demand.

As a member of the Hong Kong Water Sports Council, HKSF are involved in working with various government departments in establishing new water sports centres at Kai Tak, Tsung Kwan O and Tung Chung. These may take some time to eventuate but will provide a beneficial future for our sport.

The new Sea Safety and Survival courses were updated, providing more practical on-water demonstrations and successfully run by our local members Nigel Reeves and Cameron Ferguson. The sailing centre inspections continued and we now have two new centres in the Hong Kong Schools Sailing Association at Tei Mei Tuk and at Shatin at the Chinese University Sailing Centre.

Our Member Clubs continue to play a significant role in the sport of sailing and supporting the HKSF. Their many and varied courses and races both within Hong Kong and offshore Category 1 races contribute to making Hong Kong the leader of sailing in Asia.

Last but not least, I wish to give thanks to my fellow Officers and Council members for their valuable contribution throughout a difficult year. Also, we have had the pleasure to appoint a new Secretary General, Ms Eileen Sze who joined us in mid-March this year. She has taken on this position with skill and a pleasant determination to get the job done in a timely, efficient manner. I am grateful to her and Hei Cheng for their hard work. Thank you very much indeed. 

Finally, may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!


Warwick Downes


6th November, 2014