WORDS: VIVIAN NGAN | IMAGE: GUY NOWELL
One of Hong Kong’s biggest celebrations of sail, the Club’s annual Around the Island Race, took place on 8 November 2020. The line up boasted an impressive entry list of 227 boats from 14 classes including seven one-design classes, Sportsboats, HKPN, IRC, dinghies and beach catamarans.
Race Officer David Norton set two start lines off of the Kellett Island Clubhouse with the line closest to Kellett Island used to start the one design boats and the outer line for HKPN, IRC and beach catamarans divisions. The race course, a full 26nm circumnavigation, took the fleet around Hong Kong Island to starboard (clockwise).
The first start was at 0830hrs with the Pandoras and HKPN Monohulls setting off in a variable easterly breeze of 4 to 11kts. Thereafter, a start rolled off every five minutes until 1100hrs. The biggest yacht in the fleet was Peter Cremers’ Warwick 75 Shahtoosh while the smallest were four single handed dinghies including three RS Aeros and a foiling dinghy WASZP skipped by Adam Neveux. Last to start and new on the scene, was RHKYC Team Agiplast, sailing their one-design foiling monohull, a Persico 69F, in their debute race in Hong Kong.
Before the majority of boats could get out of the harbour, a weakening northerly breeze led to a large portion of the fleet parking up at Lei Yue Mun Gap, battling an incoming tide. As the main fleet neared Shek O, a northeasterly breeze began to strengthen; building up to 8kts. As the fleet made their way around Stanley point, it was a colourful sight to behold with hundreds of kites on the horizon.
As the fleet progressed around the island, the wind softened again around noon. With Hong Kong Island itself creating a wind shadow over the course, large wind holes developed near Ap Lei Chau. RO David Norton noted that two HKPN boats were well ahead of the main fleet and it was a tough decision as to whether or not to shorten the course. Norton said “two fast HKPN boats started relatively early and were well ahead so that limited our choices. By noon, we recorded good wind at Green Island so we made a risky decision to finish at Kellett Island so sailors could do a full circumnavigation of Hong Kong Island.”
Niccolo Manno’s Nigel Irens Trimaran 40 Carbon 3 was the first boat to cross the line back at Kellett Island at 1320hrs, followed by Sam Chan/Alex Johnston’s Nelson Marek 68 FFreefire and Shawn Kang’s Tp52 Alpha+.
With so many boats of different designs and sizes on the water, it’s usually hard to predict who has won until the numbers have been crunched. Eventually, it was established that Shawn Kang’s Tp52 Alpha+ was the ATI overall winner with a corrected time of 5h 10m 03s. Tam Nguyen’s Dragon Zephyr took 2nd place only one minute and 10 seconds behind followed by Sam Chan’s Flying Fifteen Full Power in 3rd.
More than 150 boats finished ahead of the cut off time limit at 1700hrs, with the very lucky Impala Shikari being the final boat to cross the line just nine seconds before the cut off to get a full circumnavigation finish. The HKPN divisions, Dragons, Pandoras, Ruffians and RS Aero results were counted at Cyberport/Stanley gate.
Sincerest thanks go to St. James’s Place and Peroni for their continued support. It was fantastic to see St. James’s Place Partner and recent introductory scheme graduate and new Club member Jason O’Leary competing in his boat Lady Butterfly with wife Magdalena. It’s fantastic to see sponsors taking the next step and becoming active members... welcome to the Club, Jason!.
The Around the Island Race requires an enormous pool of volunteers without whom we simply couldn’t run the event. The Club would like to thank the race management team of PRO David Norton, ARO Inge Strompf-Jepsen, Fiona Gregor and Lesley Anderson, Cyberport Gate RO Elberti Uiterwaal-Postma with Aidan James Slinger, Jennifer Li, Letizia Leung and Vincent Yum, Stanley Gate RO Sheila Chan with Donna Choi, Elizabeth Seymour-Jones, Suzy Rayment and Tina Over, Starter’s Box and Gun Room assistants Gina Littlefair, Guinness Siu, Joyce Kwong and Sian Wynn-Jones.
The safety team was flat out from pre-start to post-finish and a huge thank you goes to Safety Officer Barry Truhol with Ah Hung, Andy Wong, Angel Olausson,Baden Wong, Carey Jack, Ernest Wong, Harris Leong, Harry Pang,Ian Hornett, Johan Olausson, Keith Man, Ken Wong,Mae Loh, Niclas Rydin, Oscar Hemberg, Paul Oen, Pooky Makinson, Rhoda Chan, Robert Rogers, Ronan Hasle, Serena Shing, Simon Frusher, Stephen Fung, Steve Wordsworth, Ting Chan, Tommy Chan, Tony Cheung, Victor Tsien and Warwick Jones.