Easy Breezy II triumphs at fun-filled Beneteau Cup
November 3, 2022
A First 41S5 sailboat built over three decades ago won the Beneteau Cup in Hong Kong, although everyone was a winner at the action-packed weekend.
By Nicholas Kunz
Easy Breezy II was bought by Alfred Lau and Castor Kong in April 2022
A classic Beneteau First 41S5 built over three decades ago, Easy Breezy II won top honours at this year’s Beneteau Cup Hong Kong Supported by Aon to the delight of Alfred Lau and Castor Kong, who bought the 41-footer in April this year.
And the scene could not have been more picturesque for the second annual Beneteau Cup Hong Kong, which was again organised by Simpson Marine and Beneteau Asia Pacific with the help of Aberdeen Boat Club.
After the successful first edition in May 2021, this year’s event was held at the end of October to take advantage of the city’s increasingly relaxed Covid restrictions. The decision to delay the event proved serendipitous as sailors enjoyed the lower humidity and stronger winds, and participants were able to gather in large numbers to enjoy the event.
Tiffany Koo (far right) brought her dog along for the ride
The event welcomed all Beneteau sailing boat owners, families and friends to join in for a fun-filled weekend of racing and celebrating, wining and dining.
The cast was diverse and again included Tiffany Koo, who sailed with her beloved dog, a contrast to her competitive days when she raced in world and regional championships, and match racing events. Elsewhere, there was a tight-knit crew of three friends who only just made the first race on time after enjoying Halloween festivities the night before.
“The aim is for fun racing and not only pure racing,” said Erwan Her, Beneteau Asia Pacific’s Sales Director. “Anybody who’s just cruising or who participates in some regattas from time to time can actually join without having the pressure of coming into a big race.”
Racing was held on the south of Hong Kong Island
The first day featured blue skies and plenty of wind, making the island race format ideal, especially for less experienced racers. The 16-boat race started at 11am near Round Island, south of Middle Island, and headed southeast to Castle Rock and Beaufort Island, before turning back.
Robert Cook’s First 405 Ichiban was the third of three HKPN A boats to finish in under 2 hours and won the eight-boat division on corrected time. Tonny Chung’s First 31.7 Foxzhead, last year’s overall winner, was second, ahead of line honours winner Legende II, Pascal Martin’s Oceanis 51.1.
Easy Breezy II, competing in the event for the first time, finished first in HKPN B, also with eight boats, while John Berry’s Oceanis 43 Five O One and Ming Lou’s Oceanis 40 Coral Harbour were second and third.
Saturday’s Pirates of the Caribbean-themed gala dinner
In the evening, the event celebrated Halloween with a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed gala dinner at Aberdeen Boat Club’s MiddleIsland clubhouse. Costumes, accessories and cold beers were handedout, as crews, organisers and sponsors unwound in a perfect settingafter a long day in the sun.
Sunday proved to be another beautiful day as sailors were greeted with clear skies and even stronger winds. Although following a similar route, the format changed to a pursuit race, so handicap ratings were applied to start times, with the slowest boats first to set off.
Foxzhead tackles strong winds on the Sunday
A key change from Saturday was the wind direction. Strong sporadic headwinds made sailing more challenging, with Easy BreezyII winning the race to secure the overall title, although several boats couldn’t finish the race due to the tough conditions.
Arguably the highlight of the weekend was the scenic setting of the after-party and prize-filled awards ceremony on Lamma Island, held at The Bay beach restaurant in Mo Tat Wan. Guests and competitors participated in water sports, enjoyed the all-you-can-eat F&B, and watched the sunset while awaiting the results of the race.
On the beach in front of a packed restaurant, the delighted crew of Easy Breezy II were awarded the silver Beneteau Cup Hong Kong trophy along with a variety of lavish gifts, courtesy of the sponsors. The event debutants were surprise winners, sailing a model discontinued by Beneteau in 1992.
Boats gathered off Mo Tat Wan on Lamma Island after Sunday’s race
“We joined the Beneteau Cup just a few months after getting the boat. This is a very old boat model, but after 30 years, I think it’s still a really great boat, so Beneteau must be really good,” said co owner Alfred Lau.
In addition to having the regatta’s oldest boat, many of the young team had never sailed together before the weekend, with several of them meeting for the first time ahead of Saturday’s race.
“We’re a new team and are still recruiting members,” Lau said. “There are only three core members here, so we met the other four this weekend, but they were really great.”
Easy Breezy II receive the Beneteau Cup
Indy Hung, the third ‘core member’ of Easy Breezy II, added: “It was the teamwork that helped us win – selfless teamwork even under stress. We were under a lot of stress because some gear was broken, but we managed. It was very intense. There wasn’t even time to drink water.”
The Beneteau Cup Hong Kong proved again that racing and competition can be friendly, and that the event is suitable for anyone with a Beneteau sailboat – no matter how old or new.
Richard Allen, Group General Manager of Simpson Marine, said: “Even with an older boat, with the rating system we have, it shows you can still be competitive and don’t need to have the newest boat. We like that. Even though we have newer boats from one year ago, the winning boat is over 30 years old and that’s great for Beneteau. It shows the strength and quality of their brand.”
Sunday’s prizegiving on the beach in front of The Bay restaurant
Another highlight was the generous contributions of partners and sponsors, highlighting the support for the event and its initiatives in Hong Kong.
Erwan Her of Beneteau said: “We had loads of sponsors supporting us and the prizes and awards increased a lot. I don’t think there are many regattas in the world where you have so many prizes like this. It might be one of the best!
“That’s one of the event’s aims. We want everybody to be happy, so it doesn’t matter if you win or not, we’ll find a way to give you a prize because we want to reward all teams for contributing to the Beneteau Cup.”