Force takes top sailing honours
The Hong Kong Police Sailing Team has taken top honours again at the 9th World Police Championships held in Phuket, Thailand from October 21 to November 5, emerging as the overall winners of the 10-race series after beating teams from Holland, Australia, Switzerland and England.
This was the second time Hong Kong had sailed into the lead after winning the inaugural race in 1990 and was down to the crushing lead achieved by able and determined Skipper Steve Tait in the early days and added to by grit and determination by all team members on the final and most demanding races.
Acting Chairman Paul Stripp expressed his delight with the result. "After coming second to the Swiss Team in the 2004 event, it was particularly gratifying to win in 2006 and reflect the hard work and good team work that the Hong Kong Team had developed over the last two years. Despite relatively calm conditions, the concentration required from the team, in particular Skipper Steve Tait, was intense and led to a very close series of races in what all considered to be a very sporting atmosphere with no protests requiring the attention of the attentive International Jury".
The championships drew teams from places far afield - Europe, Asia and Australasia - with competitors arriving to practise in the first week before embarking on the hard fought race series in the second week. Despite relatively low winds and clear skies, several boats came to grief during the highly competitive team races, including our own Alfa Boat that was inexplicably rammed amidships by the English whilst the Australians came to a serene but nonetheless worrying stop atop a sand bar during one of the more competitive races at Au Chalong.
The entire programme was put together by the Hong Kong Police Sailing Club under the able leadership of its outgoing Chairman, David Madoc-Jones, assisted by the enigmatic Estella Sung and the Chairman (Des) Paul Stripp (an able man on the anchor...). The highly experienced and determined skippers on the Hong Kong boats included Steve Tait (aka 'Rottweiler'), Kenneth Chan (aka 'what 720') and Ian Blair (aka 'broken finger').
Following the completion of the 10-race Regatta, all team skippers and organisers thrashed out the venue for the next World Championships - Freisland in Holland in September 2008.
The Force teams are now back in Hong Kong recovering from strains, burns, tongue lashings and other damage inflicted to their bodies in the harsh environs of Au Chalong Bay and parts elsewhere. All are looking forward to 2008.
"The pressure will now be on Hong Kong to retain the trophy in what promises to be an extremely competitive event in Holland in 2008 where a significantly larger fleet will be made available," said Chairman (Des) Paul Stripp.
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