Royal Hong Kong YC

22nd January-February 2013, Hong Kong
A second visit to assist with training at this great club.  This time a balance between classroom and on-the-water training.  Robert Lamb led the classroom sessions and mentored the local race officers on the water.  The report for the previous visit last year is here.

The visit started with an event - the Prince Henrik Silver Trophy - a three day team racing event with International Dragons and four international teams of three.  54 races were run at Port Shelter by race officer Charlie Manzoni who did a great job.  Whilst the quality of the team racing was relatively poor, it was a great event with snappy and accurate race management.  The team did a great job.

A third level 1 seminar with 14 students was then run on the next 4 evenings before a second event again in Port Shelter.

The Class Regatta was one of RHKYC's major keelboat events with 5 races for eight classes.  44 boats conmpeted under the direction of Simon Boyd who also did a good job as far as the race management was concerned.  The conditions were tricky and the event complicated by another event in the same race area that managed to put themselves right in the middle of the available space for racing on the first day.  This compromised the racing for Simon through no fault of his own and he had few options.  But the racing was fair and well managed.

It is good to see the progress that has been made by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club since Rob's first visit in October last year.  A final visit will be associated with the Flying Fifteen Worlds in October 2013.  Rob will mentor Charlie Manzoni running the 'pre-worlds' beforre leaving him and the RHKYC to manage the Worlds themselves.

Royal Hong Kong YC

September-October 2012, Hong Kong
Robert Lamb visited the RHKYC for the first of three periods of training.

The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club is a fantastic institution with approximately 16,000 members, three club houses and a turn over in the region of £10M.  The main clubhouse is at the northern aspect of Hong Kong Island bordering the harbour.  The other two are in idyllic locations - one on Middle Island and the other in the New Territories. 

The setup on Hong Kong is very unusual with paid marine staff delivering the race management with club members appointed over them by rota.  Only 1 or 2 members are present on the race course and their primary role is to act as the interface between the race management and the sailors.  The result is that the member race officers are inexperienced, reluctant and sometimes abused by the competitors, so not a popular role.  To make matters worse the Class Captains have a massive amount of influence over the day's racing, to such an extent that the cynical may accuse them of manipulating the racing for their own personal benefit.  


Transport to work each day

The office staff have a lot to do with racing in 3 separate areas each and every weekend in addition to 6 or so major fleet regattas each year.  There are also several high profile offshore events to manage as well, a task that is low on requirement of resource during the race itself, but high in the preparation phase. 

So there was a lot to do for Robert Lamb visiting the RHKYC for the first of three visits.  The organisation and current practice had to be understood before delivering seminars to the marine staff and members.  The sailing instructions were reviewed.


The Noonday Gun

One Club Race Officer Course, two level 1 seminars and one level 2 seminar were delivered to a total of  41 individuals.  A strategy was proposed outlining a way forward and this included further training on the water, mark laying instruction and the development of a race management committee.  The latter would be responsible for all aspects of race management including re-writing the sailing instructions to comply with best practice.


Hong Kong Harbour from the clubhouse

Almost without exception the members are intelligent across the board and the place has a real buz about it.  The potential for the development of a great race manageement team is huge if the resources open to them are utilised efficiently.  Charlie Manzoni is an enthusuastic leader of the project that will, I'm sure, see a revolution in current race management to become best practice over the next few years.

The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club wisely recognises that race management has moved on over the past few years.  They are keen to ensure that they are in a position to deliver best practice.  

Robert Lamb of SolentXtra, an ISAF and RYA Race Management Instructor, has been asked to spend time at the club to assess current procedures and practice, teach members race management at its best and put in place an in-house system for training of race officers and mark layers.


Rob leaves for Hong Kong on September 17th to return after 3 weeks on 9th October.

© SolentXtra 2012