Dragon Interport in Japan

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Kansai Dragon Interport 2014 was a three-way Dragon Team Racing Interport consisting Kansai Yacht Club, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. There’s nothing like a weekend away from the heat of Hong Kong especially when there is team racing on offer. Our hosts, Kansai Yacht Club, at Nishinomiya, Kobe, Japan, kindly organised three days of top flight racing, bringing in boats from as far away as Tokyo for the event. We are exceedingly thankful for their effort and generosity. Our competitors represented by the Kansai Yacht Club and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, fielded competitors with a great depth of team, fleet and match racing experience. The competition was going to be good. Unfortunately though, the team from Royal Vancouver Yacht Club could not participate this year; however they vowed to host the next Asia-Pacific Dragon Interport in 2016 instead.

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For those of you not able to visit Japan and more importantly the Kansai and Osaka bay region; this area is a must for sailors. Indeed so seriously do they take racing here that the competing Universities will never sail together – only as competitors!

So seriously do they take [their] racing here that the competing Universities will never sail together – only as competitors!

Andreas Brechbuhl our team Captain; put together the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Dragon Team 2014 and with the tactical support of both Phyllis and Lowell Chang pulled off a satisfying victory for the Club. The team, made up of three boats; left hand boat or pin end boat being manned and lady-ed by Phyllis and Lowell Chang, Nikki Claringbold and Peter Baer. Middle boat manned by Harald Berge, Richard Easteal and Guy Brearey. The right hand boat, or committee boat end, manned and lady-ed by Andreas Brechbuhl, Christiane Huegelmann and Rupert Street.

A very significant contribution comes from Guy Brearey our team trainer; leading several team race training session on shore and on the water prior to our trip to Japan. He instilled and lived the spirit of team racing during the entire event and every second of each race, great job indeed! Each day consisted of two round robins of four races for each team; except on the last day, when winds got light we sailed only two races each team. Days one and two left very little between the teams with regards to points. Entering the final day; Japan led, Hong Kong second and Sydney third. Hong Kong having lost to both Japan and Sydney in the previous days had to win both their races to ensure Victory.

It was going to be a tight and aggressive final day. The first race of the day was between Japan and Sydney, which Hong Kong sat out. The second race, showed what team racing was all about, with the Hong Kong team dominating the start against Sydney, leaving their team pinned beneath all our three boats. Try as they may, they could not catch up, Phyllis became the lead boat never giving up her position, the second boat with Andreas, Christiane and Rupert covered the edges of the field and the final boat with Guy, Richard and Harald ensured that anything that had escaped was locked in at the final mark. This included a spectacular mark trap capturing and defeating three of the Sydney boats.

Now first equal with Japan, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club team had to show no mercy. We won; but how we won was very important and is the key to team racing. Sadly for the Japanese, the HK team was in full stride, not only did we cover properly at the start, each boat within the team took their allotted position on the course, leaving the Japanese with virtually no chance of getting through.

The final decimation of their late charge saw Guy, Richard and Harald locking them out at the last mark. Result – victory for the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and a big thank you to Kansai, Sydney and The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for its support for the team and this event. Roll on Vancouver. Finally a thank you to the support from Rick & Ruth Herbst, Jacqueline Petts and YM Szeto for travelling to Japan to support the team. A final and special THANK YOU of course to the RHKYC to generously sponsor a nice and prestigious gift for the KYC host club, as well as contributing to our team expenses.

Words by Rupert Street

Photo courtesy of Kazushige Nakajima / [email protected]

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