Nick Moloney sets new sailing speed record

Nick Moloney, professional sailor and renowned ocean adventurer, yesterday set a new sailing speed record in partnership with The St. Regis Macao.

Tying the two historic sea port cities together, a 26-mile (42km) route across the Pearl River Delta from south of Lamma Island in Hong Kong to a waypoint off Macau’s Hac Sa Beach in Coloane, Moloney spent 5 hours, 29 minutes and 43 seconds to complete the journey.

Moloney set the record in partnership with The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central, the ultra-luxury hospitality brand that is part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT), who open their doors next month.

Paul Cunningham, General Manager of The St. Regis Macao, said: “With 15 world sailing speed records under Nick’s belt, the aficionado spirit of St. Regis came alive in Macau today.  Our passion for delivering experiences beyond expectations, of taking people’s dreams and making them a reality, was embodied in today’s record attempt. There are moments in life that will forever remain embedded in our hearts.  It has been thrilling for us to work together to create that experience with Nick here today, and we endeavour to create those moments for all our guests at The St. Regis Macao.”  

Using a brand new Goya board, sails and equipment imported from Hawaii especially for the attempt, Moloney said: “We have been watching the weather for the last few weeks, waiting for the right conditions.  Finally today we had a weather window that gave us variable conditions from light winds to strong. It required many manoeuvres and a lot of extra distance to be sailed to complete the course. In total I windsurfed 85.7km, hit over 40km/h at times and surfed down some big waves. Thank you to The St. Regis Macao for being such great supporters of unique experiences both on and off the sea, as adventurers and athletes from all walks of life pursue their true passions.”

Cunningham continues, “The St. Regis Macao invited Nick Moloney to achieve something exciting and unforgettable that lives and breathes the St. Regis spirit of pursing adventure and speed. It was important for us to create a legacy, something that would be more than a simple one-off record, so we created The St. Regis Macao Cup.”

The St. Regis Macao Cup recognises the fastest passage between Hong Kong and Macau on a specific route, on any wind powered vessel at any time of year.  

Moloney admits that setting this record on a windsurfer was a considerably more challenging feat for him personally.

He says, “We decided to attempt the record on a windsurfer although we also considered other options.  I am a professional sailor by trade yet only an amateur windsurfer. Personally I love establishing and breaking records, but am now committed to promoting water sports to as many people as I can.  We therefore designed the route for any sailing vessel.  The windsurfer seemed fitting for the broader Hong Kong region and hopefully it will encourage people to get on the water to try and add their name to The St. Regis Macao Cup.  Windsurfing has few obstacles and a strong fraternity.  You can be almost any age and become part of the windsurfing world, a world that is relaxed and freer. For me, it is the perfect water sport for people who feel that urge to get onto the water, experience and learn about sailing, and chase the horizon.”

Windsurfing is still the only discipline that has earned Hong Kong an Olympic Gold Medal when Lee Lai Shan became an Olympic Champion in the 1996 Atlanta Games and the city has high hopes for Olympic hopefuls Hayley Chan Hei-Man and Michael Cheng Chun-Leung in Rio next year.

“It is, without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable and challenging water sports. I know there is a strong, core group of windsurfers in Hong Kong and Macao but, as with many places around the world, it seems to have taken a back seat over the last decade or two with newer developments such as kitesurfing, standup paddle boarding and surfskiing. But nothing beats the unforgettable experience of plaining at high speed when the wind, the sail and the board work in sync together.”

Nick Moloney is the only person to have windsurfed the notorious Bass Strait between mainland Australia and Tasmania, unassisted and solo.

He set the record in 1998 shortly after learning to windsurf.

Sailing is in Nick’s blood; he has twice competed in the America’s Cup, raced around the world three times under sail, held numerous sailing speed records and strongly believes that the key basic windsurfing principles apply to any sailing vessel regardless of the type of wind powered water sport.

“Aero and fluid dynamics, understanding currents, wind directions and wind shifts are key aspects of sailing any boat. These attributes are highly amplified in windsurfing and good windsurfers generally make very good all-round sailors.  Anyone who loves the water should give windsurfing a try and I am looking forward to seeing who claims the next St. Regis Macao Cup sailing record.”

– Nicola Evans

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