Centre in Sai Kung East is surrounded
by mountains on three sides which form
a natural barrier that’s perfect for a
scenic ride, and the Chong Hing Water
Sports Centre at Sai Kung Country
Park has a vast artificial lake that’s ideal
Our aim is to
get children to
have fun, build
confidence in
the water and
get them excited
and interested in
for day-camping and family-friendly
water activities.
Sail away
Oliver and Sebastian Engelhart are
twin brothers who have sailed with the
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club since
they were six years old. Oliver says, “I
remember being petrified on our first
day. It was the middle of winter, we
didn’t have any wet suits on and the
boat kept capsizing, but the instructors
kept encouraging us to keep at it.
Today, we are assistant instructors
teaching new cadet sailors in the same
boats we sailed ten years ago.”
In recent years, the sailing clubs
in Hong Kong have seen a burgeoning
interest in the sport. “When I first
started at Aberdeen Boat Club (ABC),
we had six Optimist dinghies, and we
now have 25,” says Kevin Lewis, dinghy
sailing manager at ABC. “A majority of
Olympic sailors started their careers on
Optimist dinghies, which are fibreglass
vessels measuring seven feet long and
designed specifically for children.” The
Junior Sailing programme at the ABC
is open to non-members and is one of
the club’s most popular programmes
geared towards children between the
ages of seven and 11. “At the end of
the first course, which runs for five
half-days, there is no expectation of a
skill level. Our aim is to get children to
have fun, build confidence in the water
and get them excited and interested
in sailing. At the end of the second
programme, they are required to sail
around a course. And, by the third, the
emphasis is on the right techniques.”
Young explorers
For twin brothers Oliver and Sebastian, sailing has opened up opportunities and
epic adventures. They spotted the Pangea – a beautiful 100-foot, self-sustainable
mega-yacht moored in Repulse Bay in 2009, when they were out sailing their
Optimist boats. For years, they followed its expeditions and the Young Explorers
Program it sponsored. In the spring of 2012, as soon as they met the minimum age
requirement, they applied to the programme, emphasising in the applications their
experience in sailing and their activism against shark-finning.
After several rounds of selection from a pool of hundreds of applicants, and
months of intense physical training that included cycling over 400 kilometres in
Hong Kong and running in the Swiss Alps, they were two of the nine young explorers
chosen to join the extreme adventurer Mike Horn on an expedition along the coast
of Namibia and South Africa.
The objective of the programme is to get youngsters to explore the
planet, learn through interactions with local communities, and participate in
environmental projects. During the expedition they experienced nature at its
harshest – encountering a three-day storm along the Skeleton Coast of Africa that
crushed their yacht’s railings and left everyone on board seasick. They also got
to see nature at its most vulnerable, assisting in experiments to study the impact
of mining on the Orange River in Namibia. Learn more about the programme by
Oliver and Sebastian have come away empowered, and connected with
a community of 200-strong expedition alumni who continue to advocate for the
Summer 2013