The first-ever edition of the Macao Cup International Regatta kicks off today and will run until Sunday, with 20 teams divided into two different competitions.
Up for grabs will be prizes for overall winners of HKD20,000, 10,000 and 8,000, respectively for first, second and third in each group.
In the first group are ten teams representing ten different countries: Australia, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Japan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Teams will be racing in a unified boat category using Beneteau First 40.7 sailing boats.
The second group comprises ten teams from the Greater Bay Area that will race according to International Rating Certificate rules, a system of handicapping different design and size sailboats and yachts for the purpose of racing.
In this group, the Macau SAR is represented by two teams (Wanboyu Sailing and Macau Sugram) that will face strong competition from more experienced teams coming from Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
The four-day event will take place in the waters around Hac Sa Beach in the form of round-the-island and course races. The start and finish is at the Macau Fisherman’s Wharf (MFW) with a fleet parade to be organized on the first and last days of competition so the public can enjoy the sailing action up close from both the Peninsula coastline between MFW and the Macau Tower and from Taipa’s Ocean Gardens area.
Concurrent with the competition, a sailing exhibition will be held for the four days of the event between noon and 3 p.m. in the waters of the south section of the Inner Harbor and Macau Tower.
The event, co-organized by the government and a local company, Across Four Oceans Sailing Event Management, is said to have a total budget of around MOP20 million, of which “one-third would be supported by the government through the Sports Bureau [ID] and that one-third is a little over MOP6 million” according to the head of the Macau Grand Prix and Major Sporting Events Department from the ID, See Lei.
Lei also noted that the idea of organizing the event came from Across Four Oceans Sailing Event Management, and the government and in particular the ID, “thought it was a good idea, as it was a good opportunity to make us of our sea, promote Macau and also promote this sporting activity.”
In her opening speech, the acting president of the ID, Christine Lam mentioned, “this is the first time for Macau to host a large-scale international regatta, ushering in a new era for water sports in Macau at an international level,” adding, “it also plays an active role to facilitate the development of water sports.”
Lam also noted the rich experience of many of the participants, saying that the presence of “some claiming numerous international awards and accolades,” is a reason to expect that “the races will be thrilling and exhilarating.”
As a piece of advice, Lam said the Fleet Parade would be “a rare sight” that “residents and tourists should not miss.”
Among the noted entry list, the highlight goes to French legend sailing captain Lionel Péan, winner of several international sailing events, including the 1986 Whitbread Round the World Race now known as Volvo Ocean Race.