Tai Pak Beach, Discovery Bay – Sunday October 9th, 2016
Outrigger canoe clubs from all over Hong Kong gathered on the beach at Discovery Bay for the annual Lantau Classic, hosted by Lantau Boat Club. This was the first competitive event of the autumn season and involved a series of races of varying distances. Squads from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, the Victoria Recreation Club (VRC), Lamma, South Lantau and the Hong Kong OCC made the trip over to make this one of the biggest Classics ever.
LBC had a full squad of women, men and mixed
teams ready to do battle in the ‘Around Peng Chau’ (9km), ‘Around the Rock’ (3km), OC1 sprint relay (500m) and OC6 sprint relay (800m) races. Also present for the first time this year were the LBC rowers, who competed in the 9km race.
The first event of the day was the 9km race around Peng Chau Island. LBC men in the first heat looked to have put in a good time finishing second in the heat behind the Yacht club who had a strong team on display. The second heat did not go as well for the other LBC men’s team with a false start and a time penalty before they even got going. Lamma won that heat, but their time was not up with the pace of the first heat and so the silver medal was confirmed for LBC men from the first heat.
Like the men, LBC women put in an immense display too with a great performance in their heat against solid opposition. Second in their heat but third overall for LBC women, behind the Yacht club in second, and the VRC in first place.
While the Peng Chau races were in action, teams waiting on the beach competed in the OC1 sprint relays – three legs of 500m in the bay for women and for men. The Yacht club excelled in this event claiming first place in the women’s category and first and second places in the men’s category. LBC’s team of three women put in a fantastic performance finishing second behind the Yacht club. LBC men not so well, finishing well down the order in this event.
The ‘Around the Rock’ race event was next for the mixed teams. This was a 3km sprint in which LBC entered three teams. Two of the teams, in the same heat, were tangled up at the turn which dented their chances of finishing in the medal positions. The final heat saw the third LBC team finish strongly in first place. But it was the Yacht Club who dominated again with the top two times overall, VRC finishing third and LBC fourth – just outside the medal places.
The day’s events ended with a new addition to the schedule – the OC6 relay. This involved three legs of an 800m course with a mixed team, followed by a men’s team and then a women’s team for the third and final leg. This event was billed as the ‘fun’ event at the end of a long day of racing, however, all the clubs put in their all and produced some thrilling action. LBC featured in the first of two heats in which the Yacht club posted a strong time, with LBC not far behind in second place. The second heat proved to be a slower race and LBC’s silver medal was confirmed, making sure we finished the day on a high!
A fantastic day concluded with the prize giving, eating and plenty of partying. Well done to the Yacht Club with strong performances across all the events. And a big thank you to all the organisers who made this event one of the best yet, in particular thanks go to Maaike, Anthony and Adie for all your time and effort. This event is a popular fixture on the outrigger calendar that offers something different for the paddlers of Hong Kong.
The busy outrigger season continues throughout October and November with races at Lamma, Around Hong Kong Island and in Palau for the annual Micronesia Cup.
– Leam Murphy