The early races were held at Stanley Bay (outside the
present pubs) for a long time. Due to the convenience of
location, it created a strong community festival atmosphere.
But considering the waves and inadequate public facilities
of the venue, the race was moved to Stanley Main Beach.
Never once have the races been cancelled due to bad weather
even though race day is always held during the typhoon season.
One year the race day was held between two number 8 signals!!
Over the years, Race Day has been a great festival with plenty
of competitors and spectators enjoying themselves in a wonderful
party mood. Some special incidents need to be noted, like the
team record for sinking the most often on race day is held by
the navy from HMS Tamar. The most spectacular finish was in
1976 when the Grenadier Guards from Stanley Fort crossed the
finishing line at full speed to be confronted by an old lady
slowly rowing her sampan. The guards had nowhere to go and
proceeded to hit the sampan amidships and cut it in half.
It is generally believed that, compared with other districts'
regattas in the territory, the Stanley event retains the
earliest history of expat participation. Besides, it has always
been the one with highest competitors turnout, highest company
team turnout, and is most popular among expats. In 1996, we had
a record total turnout of 130 teams.
Those were the days
Many years ago Stanley (Chek Chue)was best known as a small fishing village
to the south of Hong Kong Island. As many of the local Chinese
relied on the sea for their livelihood it was only natural that
Dragon Boat racing became a very popular way for them to
celebrate the Tuen Ng Festival.
Stanley has long been an important settlement and since the
Qing Dynasty the east and the west mix here. (According to
the 1841 govt gazette No. 2, Chek Chue was the capital of
the Island, with a population of 2,000). In the late 60's
the local races started to arouse the interest of several
expats who were living in the Stanley area. In the early
70's the expats started to join in the racing against the
local Chinese. In consideration of this, and in addition
to the fact that the Chinese teams dominated the race,
around 1975 the organizers separated the expats from the
Chinese to compete in a new category. This was followed by
the introduction of a Ladies Competition around the end of
Due to their body weight, it was mandatory for expat mens teams to
compete with 2 rower fewer than normal, until the mid 90's
the organzer standardised the number of rowers
in all categories.
The race was originally organized by local residents as such
the Stanley Residents Assn. was established, with the Dragon
Boat Race the principal project every year. Since the Race
Day increases in popularity and becomes "international",
more and more people of different nationalities living or
working in Stanley join the organizing committee or act as
officials. For many years the race has been run on a
low-budget-positive-return principle, so most work is taken
up by concerned parties voluntarily,
e.g. The Windsurfing Assn, Royal HK Yacht Club and ,
HK Telecom offers free rental of speed boats and communication equipments,
The HK Sea School
with the help of the Navy from HMS Tamar have laid the race
course every year. Also the resident army regiment of Stanley
Fort set up the shore facilities until 1994. Due to their
withdrawal from Stanley -- we will miss this marvellous
workforce. Till 1996, HMS Tamar each year anchor a guard
ship near the start line to show their official presence.
Global contact through cyber space
Our official race home page (www.angelfire.com/on/dragonboat) was
launched in March 1999
with great success. There was a hit rate exceeding 8 thousand
in the first year alone. In the same year, RTHK included
the live broadcast of the event in Radio 3 in her web-page;
Then in year 2000 digital cameras are set up for on-line live global
TV broadcast. These break new ground for the history of dragon-boating
in the world. Hence people all over the globe can access the
event in cyber space.
Serving the Community
The boats being used for racing were all purchased by the Stanley
Residents Association. Revenue raised from the entry fees and
donations are used to cover all the expenses of running the Regatta
and ordering new boats with the surplus used to subsidize community
services of Stanely.