Trophy Oar to Kyle Chea of Nassau RC

Kyle Chea (on the right) was presented with a trophy blade to commemorate that the Bahamas for the first time has sent a crew to an international regatta. On the left is ‘oarmaker’ Jonny Cantwell, of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
Kyle Chea (on the right) was presented with a trophy blade to commemorate that for the first time the Bahamas has sent a crew to an international regatta. On the left is ‘oarmaker’ Jonny Cantwell, of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.

Jonathan ‘Jonny’ Cantwell, who is a member of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) in Hong Kong, writes to HTBS:

We have recently presented a gift to a friend and past member of our club to recognise his achievements. Hopefully your readers at ‘Hear the Boat Sing’ will appreciate this.

Kyle Chea was a short-term member of the Rowing Section at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club whilst he worked as an intern at a major financial firm. Sadly the Global Financial Crisis cut short his time in Hong Kong, but this was to prove to be a wonderful thing for rowing in the Bahamas. The working culture in the Bahamas is a little more laid back than in Hong Kong, so Kyle had time on his hands which he put to good use founding the Nassau Rowing Club. (Read an article about Kyle and Nassau RC’s learn to row camp here).

In a short time the club has grown and the Bahamas has now sent its first crew to an international regatta, which was noted on FISA/Worldrowing’s website, take a look here. The trophy blade marks this occasion and we were able to present it as a little surprise to Kyle on 5 December when he was visiting town. He had just collected a couple of ‘pots’ at the Middle Island Masters Regatta, held at the Middle Island Clubhouse of RHKYC.

Trophy oars are always lovely gifts, and this one is especially fun as the Bahamas coat of arms is quite exotic with a marlin and a flamingo for supporters. I always enjoy a challenge when painting an oar.

HTBS asked Jonny about RHKYC and how he came to paint trophy oars. Here is what Jonny answered:

At present I am located in Hong Kong where my wife and I are both active rowers at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. For seven and a half years I was the full-time Rowing Manager at the Club, but in a case of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’, I am now simply a member. Don’t let the name of the club fool you, though, it’s been a rowing club longer than it has been a sailing club (and 5,000 sailors drinking at the bar is a fantastic fundraising model for new rowing boats…).

The club has three locations: the already mentioned Middle Island off the south side of Hong Kong Island near Deep Water Bay, a sailing ‘outpost’ and marina at Sai Kung, and the main club house at Kellett Island in Causeway Bay (not far from the famous ‘Noon Day Gun’).

Although, mostly a hobby, I do paint the oars professionally and for some years in Australia maintained a website (, but at present the site is not working. In the past 15 years, I think I have painted more than 170 oars and objects for a number of clubs. My first oars were done for my ‘home’ club in Melbourne, Richmond Rowing Club.

In the magazine Row360, there was an article a few months ago about their newly renovated building. There is a special feature wall for trophy oars in the new design.

Here is a link to a Facebook album, I have just put a number of photos up on a different album, albeit without any captions, take a look here.

One comment

  1. My relatives the Boyde family (Prof Tom Boyde and his late wife Shirley Radley and children) were reponsible for promoting rowing in the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) many years ago. Only Simon Boyde still lives there now

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