Yesterday we held the inaugural Lock Hong Kit Round Ubin Challenge. It was originally planned for 2021, but was postponed due to the pandemic. Hong Kit became a member of the Club in 1979 but his value to CSC is not restricted to the longevity of his membership. His contributions to the Club were significant, an indispensable part of the Club’s history and the history and development of sailing in Singapore.
Uncle Kit won gold medals for Singapore in the SEAP Games in 1973 and 1983 and a bronze in 1975. He was one of our first CSC medalists. But this was the start and not the end of his sailing career and his contribution to the Club and to sailing in Singapore . When he retired from racing, he dedicated himself to teaching, coaching, acting as a race officer and to race management .
As a qualified international judge he officiated at many regional regattas and he is the only Singaporean to have the distinction of having been both a World Sailing International Race Officer (IRO) and International Jury (IJ).
But whatever his achievements internationally, Hong Kit never forgot the Club, and we are grateful for all the time and energy he gave to us. He was the Chief instructor and Chairman of our Youth Club in the 1990’s and since then he put in so many hours conducting race management courses for us and acting as coach, race officer and judge.
The Round Ubin Race was his all-time favourite Passage Race Course in our waters, taking sailors on a circumnavigation of “Granite Island”. Yesterday’s weather was however most challenging, presenting all 12 boats with becalmed waters and shifty winds. Over the course of the afternoon, there were spurts of wind from varying angles, keeping the skippers and crew on their toes throughout. However the added challenge of strong outgoing tide late in the evening, coupled with the fast approaching time limit meant that 3 of the 12 boats did not manage to complete the race in time. Nevertheless, it was a great turn-out, and an impressive display of perseverance from Jen’s Jaunt, Exodus and Remington of the Keelboat PY B Class.
Having only 2 boats each for the Keelboat IRC and Keelboat PY A, it was great to see a close fight in both classes. Minx and Waka Tere took turns to lead around the island, with the latter eventually consolidating her position and stretching her lead on the northern side of Pulau Ubin. However the distance was just a touch short, as the Nelson 10 was defeated by a mere 4 seconds on corrected time. This came as a pleasant surprise to the crew on Minx, who had the privilege of the late Uncle Kit’s daughter, Joanne crewing with them! In the Keelboat PY A Class, It was a similar result from the returning Bound to Please. Being the first keelboat to cross the finish line, she scored line honours, but could not take the win on handicap. She was bested by the quick and agile Notus, helmed by Lauren Hill. Less known for her keelboat helming skills, she was unfazed and looked every part the confident skipper.
In Keelboat PY B Class, Marut emerged the quicker of the only 2 boats which finished, making it across the finish line just in time before the glassy conditions and strong tides left Olmeto to struggle for over 45 minutes to complete the race.
Despite their initial slow and painful crawl in the vicinity of Serangoon Buoy, the 1 multihull and 2 beach catamarans eventually managed to speed up and pull away from the keelboat fleet on the northern side of Ubin, being the fastest boats to complete the challenge. Congratulations to Miss Visayan and Addiction for winning in their respective classes.
Thank you all for joining us in this memorial race – it is heartwarming to know that Uncle Kit has touched the lives of so many members and sailors. We look forward to incorporating this into our annual Signature Sunday Series, inviting everyone back to participate in this iconic passage race unique to Changi Sailing Club.