One of the yachts in the Volvo Ocean Race which was involved in a fatal collision earlier did not leave Hong Kong with the rest of the competitors early today.
Vestas 11th Hour Racing will not be taking part in the fifth leg of the race from Hong Kong to Guangzhou as its yacht was damaged in a collision with a fishing boat before arriving in Hong Kong on January 20.
While the team has yet to confirm when and if it will rejoin the race, the other six yachts taking part in the event left Hong Kong at 2am this morning.
They will depart Guangzhou on Monday and sail back to Hong Kong, from where they will sail to Auckland, New Zealand.
Hong Kong team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag came first in the fourth leg from Melbourne to Hong Kong, while Spanish sailing team MAPFRE are at the summit of the overall standings.
Organizers said a total of 100,000 visitors, including 12,500 school kids and 450 volunteers, joined the 15-day Volvo Ocean Race Festival in Hong Kong at Kai Tak runway park.
During the closing ceremony yesterday, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee said the competition has made history in many ways.
“It is the first time that Hong Kong as hosted a stop in the Volvo Ocean Race,” she said.
“It is also the first time we’ve had a Hong Kong team, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, taking part in the toughest sailing event in the world,” Fung said.
She also congratulated the Hong Kong team on winning the fourth leg of the race.
Fung said Hong Kong completed two objectives by hosting the race. The first was to have the city hold a new sports event during the 20th anniversary of its handover. The second was to enhance the city’s status as a sports hub.
“It is a great opportunity to enhance the interest of Hong Kong people in sailing and water sports,” she said.
Fung said she was glad that Sun Hung Kai was willing to sponsor 9,000 days of free education and sailing to underprivileged children in Hong Kong over the next two years.
She said the upcoming Kai Tak sports park, which will be completed in 2022 to 2023, will possess a 50,000-seat stadium, a 10,000-seat indoor sports center, a 5,000-seat public sports ground and an open space for the public.
“By that time, Hong Kong will be able to attract more international sporting events like the Volvo Ocean Race.”
The Volvo Ocean Race is a global yacht race in which teams have to sail 45,000 nautical miles across four oceans, touching six continents and 12 host cities.
It is the first time in the race’s 45-year history that Hong Kong has been listed as one of 12 host cities.
The 2017-18 edition of the race began on October 22 in Spain and will conclude in June in the Netherlands.