Help us to recover from Typhoon HATO
The Victoria Recreation Club (VRC) was dealt a huge blow by the most powerful typhoon to visit Hong Kong in two decades. On August 23, Typhoon Hato – the name is Japanese for pigeon – with winds reaching 184 kph, passed though Hong Kong. The destruction along Hong Kong’s southern coast line has been immense, representing a setback for water sports in Hong Kong generally. Few have been harder hit than the Paddle Section of the VRC, Hong Kong’s oldest international outrigger and dragon boat club, formerly known as Hong Kong Island Paddle Club. The VRC’s Paddle Section lost five of its six-person OC6 outrigger canoes, as well as suffering damage to its dragon boats and a few individual outrigger canoes, or OC1s and double outrigger canoes, or OC2s.
Of the large canoes, four were damaged beyond repair — Lokahi, Matsu, Malani, and Ko’olau. A fifth OC6, the A’e, which was kept on the Big Island in Hawaii for many years and came home in 2012, may be possible to restore. Essentially, our workhorse fleet of standard OC6 canoes, which we used for training, rookie education of 50 new paddlers per year, competitions, and guest loaners for overseas crews in races such as the Around the Island Race, are now gone.
Hato wreaked havoc on three of our prized dragon boats requiring extensive repair. The dragon boats are used not only for training, but essential in our annual Deep Water bay Regatta, which is a key race in Hong Kong’s dragon boat community. The dragon boats were also being used to host training camps for national teams in the run up to the World Championships this year.
Despite this huge setback, we are still on the water training. We have acted quickly to shore up the damaged seawall, to protect ourselves from further typhoons. Other clubs have generously loaned us two OC6 canoes. We have repaired our damaged OC2’s, and we have engaged with the overseas paddling community to source second hand canoes.
It is not possible to replace the five OC6s and three dragon boats out of our existing budget, and we risk losing an entire season if not more in terms of training and competition. We are launching an appeal for funding in order to meet the gap, and urgently require your support in order to be able to keep the paddling season alive with the most important races of the year coming up soon.