Round the Island

Hong Kong’s largest annual celebration of sail, the Round the Island Race, started in picture-perfect conditions, early on Sunday, the 14th of November. Sponsored by Sun Hung Kai & Co, the 26-nautical-mile event drew 228 boats in 14 classes, including seven one-design classes, sportsboats, HKPN, IRC, dinghies and beach catamarans.

Race officer, David Norton, set two start lines off the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Kellett Island clubhouse, with the line closest used for starting day boats and the line farthest for cruisers, racers and beach catamarans.

The first start was at 0830 with the Pandoras, HKPN Monohulls and Multihull Cruisers setting off in a northeasterly of around 8 knots. By the completion of the 21 start sequences, the breeze had built to 15 knots, ideal for the final start at 1100. This featured the Fast Fleet 3, consisting of three TP52s and a Trimaran 40, Carbon3.

Presenting a breathtaking sight from either land or sea, spectators gathered at the newly-opened East Coast Park precinct to catch a glimpse of this amazing sight.

The steady breeze in the harbour enabled the fleet to sail effortlessly through Lei Yue Mun and enjoy a fresh 15-knot northeasterly past Shek O and Stanley, where hundreds of colourful spinnakers filled the horizon.

By noon, a softening breeze saw the fleet compress as it approached the infamous hole off Cyberport. From there the boats made for the final turning mark into the harbour and on to the finish.

The Mills 41, Ambush, was the first boat to reach Kellett at 1341, followed by the Ker 42, Seawolf, and Mills 41, Quest. Brian Tsang’s Hobie 16, Curry, crossed the finish in 8th place, with the first class boat to make it being the Etchells, King of the Pin.

Said Drew Taylor of Ambush, “It’s our first line honours for the event. We only stopped for some 40-odd seconds which is a big difference from last year’s experience. We benefitted by using our Code 0 down past Shek O and our crew did a great job changing from the Code 0 to spinnaker. It was a great run from Lei Yue Mun to Cape d'Aguilar and also from d'Aguilar to Ap Lei Chau. A great battle with Seawolf all the way along the south side.”

The RO said, “Almost 95% of the fleet finished the full course and there were boats from each of the classes finishing before 1600. So the conditions made it easy for race management to go for a complete circumnavigation. Apart from the tide during the last leg approaching the finish and not quite hitting the race record set in 2013, it was a fantastic day all round.”

                                                                                  – photos RHKYC / Guy Nowell

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