Sunday, January 25, 2009

Phil's 4 Peaks Race

We are always on the look out for new things to try in Hong Kong. Phil recently competed in a sailing regatta. He actually did no sailing but was on the boat and did the running bit, so we think it counts as something new.

Every January since 1985, the Abeerden Boat Club hosts the 4 Peaks Sailing Regatta for about 40 racing boats. The boats sail a set course with 4 landings. On each landing, two crew members must row to shore and then run up and down a mountain. The race typically takes 1.5 to 2 days to complete. We have some British friends who sail and needed additional runners and that is how Phil became the only American on a British racing team. Phil came back saying funny words like “kip” for a nap but had a great time and is ready to sign up again for next year.

The race started in Tai Tam Bay, right outside our apartment’s windows one Saturday mid-morning. (We were not able to watch however as Adam was at baseball and Tori was at swimming). The boats sailed from here to Sai Kung, where the runners went up Ma On Shan Mountain. The boats then sailed on to Lamma Island, getting there in the middle of the night. Phil ran up Mount Stenhouse around 1am and made it back to the boat with only a few stumbles coming off the mountain. From there the boats sailed to Lantau Island and runners went up Lantau Peak. Finally, the boats sailed to Repulse Bay and Phil ran up Violet Hill (a hill we commonly hike, that is right behind the kids’ school) and back to the boat for a short sail to the finish line near Middle Island and Ocean Park. They finished in the late afternoon on Sunday.

As the weather was great, the kids and I waited at Repulse Bay Beach for the boats to come in. We saw the first place boat come in and then Phil’s boat come in. We watched the runners get into a small dingy and row into shore. The kids ran around yelling “Go Daddy! Go other guy!” as we did not know all the team mates. At this point, the kids were fully dressed and looked pretty presentable. During that last hour run up the mountain, the kids took off their clothes and went swimming. When the runners came back, the kids ran over for one last cheer, not looking quite as good but just as excited. Phil’s team got into their little dingy and rowed back out to the big sail boat. While we stood on the pier, another team finished running and their sail boat motored into the pier to pick them up. It looked a little like cheating and we were proud that Dad’s team was not using the motor just then.

Phil got home that Sunday evening and the first question he got was did he win the race. Phil explained that the times were still being calculated based on how much motoring the boats had to do. I quess they had moderate winds on Saturday but almost none on Sunday. Undaunted by waiting for final times, both Adam and Royce reported that their Dad won second place at school the next day. As much as we try to say it is all about having fun and trying new things, it really seems to boil down to whether or not you get a medal at our house lately. Phil has no medal but does have a new appreciation of Hong Kong from the water.


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