YOKOHAMA — A recent officially supported international friendship dinghy race held off Yokohama saw nine nations represented in a crowded field of 17 vessels.

After the three races Saturday, all of the crews and the backup staff shared a common opinion — that more such races should be held.

“This was a great opportunity for international communication on the water,” British businessman and local “yachty” Chris Jackson said after the event.

“It was a really great day,” echoed a New Zealand entrepreneur, and perennial entrant in the race, who goes by the name of Johnny, as his Kiwi embassy teammate, also just Johnny, nodded in agreement between gulps of beer after the thirst-making competition.

The 7th International Friendship Sailing Festival, supported by Starboard Inc., the Foreign and Education ministries, the city of Yokohama, The Japan Times and various marine sports and student associations, has been held yearly at the end of May off Hakkeijima.

But for those present, seasoned and inexperienced sailors alike, once a year is not enough for the solidarity such international dinghy meets generate.

“We see familiar faces from past races and make new friends as well,” one of the Johnnies said.

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