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An Illusion of Normality

by Guy Nowell 13 Oct 2021 05:38 PDT

There’s quite a lot of normality about – the three principal clubs in Hong Kong have all opened the batting for the 2021-22 sailing season. Aberdeen Boat Club had their well-attended Opening Regatta, Hebe Haven Yacht Club ran the ever-popular Port Shelter Regatta, and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club counted 80-something boats on the water for the annual Autumn Regatta. The 31st Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta is slated to start on 10 December, there’s a Malaysian team sailing in the prelim rounds of the Star Sailors’ League, Hong Kong sent a ‘disruptor’ to the Moth Worlds in the shape of Nicolai Jacobsen (youngest competitor in the fleet, and finished 18th) and had two crews in the 420 Worlds. There’s more. Next weekend is the RHKYC’s blue riband event for big boats, the China Coast Regatta, postponed from last weekend by a close brush with a typhoon that wasn’t a typhoon. You get the picture.

But. While Europe and the USA have decided that Covid is something to cope with, like measles, many of the Asia countries (plus Australia and New Zealand) are still pursuing a completely hopeless zero-Covid policy. Maybe if we sit on our hands and do nothing for long enough, maybe it’ll all go away? Well, in the first place it’s going to be a very long sit, and secondly everyone will have a bad attack of Hygeine Drama the moment the door is opened and one case creeps through the crack. When is a ‘wave’ a wave? And when is it a drip, or a ripple?

So while there’s a lot of normality happening, sailing activity is for the most part restricted to local events. I have covered every Raja Muda regatta bar one since 2003 (and 2020, when it didn’t happen), but I am not going to be there for 2021 because the prospect of 21 days quarantine on my return to Hong Kong (including Christmas) doesn’t bear thinking about – and never mind the expense. Hope you chaps have a great regatta between Port Klang and Langkawi, but without the socials it will be a very different Raja Muda. That’s what we are left with at the moment - events that are pale reflections of their former selves, hamstrung by daft regulations and stymied by nonsensical bureaucracy. What a shame, when it is all so unnecessary.

Standing by on 72.

Guy Nowell, Asia Editor

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