On the 13th of October, the three RPAYC members of the Australian Optimist Girls squad (AOGS) made up of, Bayley Taylor, Eva Attwood and Sienna Brown (plus parents and siblings) boarded a 9 and a bit hour flight from Sydney international airport to Hong Kong. After the long flight, we got our sails and bags and headed to the bus which took us from the airport to our hotel. When we got to the hotel, it was around 12am Hong Kong time and 3am Sydney time, this meant that all of us were very tired so we checked in and headed straight to our rooms to sleep.
The next morning, we all slept in a bit and then headed to the breakfast buffet. At breakfast, we ran into Ava Whitten , the fourth NSW member of the squad, her mum and brother. After breakfast we explored the hotel and then met with Sophie and Claudia, the VIC members of the squad and their mums. We spent that first day exploring around our hotel and doing a few tourist activities including a cable car ride over to the Big Budda and then walking up all the hundreds of stairs to the base of the Big Budda. We mainly caught the train everywhere with Josh, Ava’s older brother to guide us around the underground walkways and onto the correct train. After getting back to the hotel we all swam in the pool until 10 minutes before we left for dinner.
On the 15th we all went to Disneyland where we met up with Shelly White, our coach who had just flown in from Perth. We had a great time at Disneyland and when we got back to the hotel, most of us went swimming in the roof top pool where we played Marco polo for hours. That night we went out for dinner as a group to an Italian restaurant. Pizza and pasta was a nice break from Asian food!
On the 16th we all planned to go to the famous Ladies’ Markets in Mong Kok but when we got there they were closed… they didn’t open until 12 pm and it was 10 so we went looking for the Harry Potter Café and after we eventually found it, it was also closed. After this, we decided to head back to the hotel when we decided to catch the ferry to the island. We then got on the ferry and came straight back to Kowloon where most of the group decided to go back to the markets but my mum and I wanted to go to the Space Museum instead so that’s what we did although when we got there, it was closed which was very disappointing.
We then headed back to the hotel and ordered a Go Go van to take us and all our sailing gear 40 min away to our hotel in Sha Tin which was close to the Regatta. Once everyone was in Sha Tin, we went out for a team dinner.
On the 17th we all got taxis down to the water sports facility were the Regatta was held. We got our charter boats and started rigging for a training session. As we were rigging we all decided to play some music on Shelly’s speaker including songs like down under by men at work and Baby Shark! After getting some strange looks from the other teams we finished rigging and went out for a short training session. There wasn’t much wind and it started raining so we came back in after about 2.5 hours.
The next day was another training session but this time lasted for a few hours. We were racing with the other teams out training while finding dead fish floating around.
The 19th of October was the first day of racing and qualifying, we had about 10 -12 knots of wind with the max gusts of maybe 15 knots. All of us had a good day although we still learnt a lot about the conditions and the people we were racing. After getting back to the hotel we went to coach Shelly’s room for a de-brief.
The 20th was day two of qualifying where we all tried our best to aim for gold fleet in the finals the next day. The wind had dropped down to about 8-10 knots and continued to oscillate and shift all day.
Day 3!! Finals are here and we all made gold fleet!! The wind again dropped down to about 3-6 knots, we only go two races in that day with half of us ending our regatta with a UFD. After coming in that day and packing up our charter boats, we were provided with a traditional Hong Kong dish, it consisted of lots of different seafood’s and meats.
The next day was our last day in Hong Kong, most of us slept in and checked out at around 11-1130am. That day we all went to the ladies’ markets and became very good at bartering prices down. After we spent a few hours here we got lunch and started to head back to the airport where we got on our flight and travelled back to Sydney where we were greeted with classic Sydney traffic.
All in all it was a fantastic experience where we all learnt a lot and made some great friends.
By Bayley Taylor