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Sun Hung Kai & Co. Around the Island Race 2023

by Vivian Ngan 30 Oct 2023 15:28 GMT 29 October 2023
Sun Hung Kai & Co. Around the Island Race 2023 © RHKYC/ Lance Fung

Hong Kong's Biggest Annual Celebration of Sail, the Sun Hung Kai & Co. Around the Island Race took place on Sunday 29 October.

The racecourse is a 26nm clockwise circumnavigation of Hong Kong Island and in ideal conditions, boats race all the way around Hong Kong Island and finish back where they started. And yesterday was the perfect day!

218 boats took part in the 2023 edition and Race Officers David Norton and Inge Strompf-Jepsen set two start lines in front of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Kellett Island Clubhouse, with the line closest to Kellett Island used to start the day boats and the outer line for the cruiser, racer and beach cat divisions. The first of 17 starts in total commenced at 0830hrs with the Pandoras, PHS Monohulls and Multihull Cruisers setting off in an easterly breeze of around 8 to 10kts and all the boats sailed out of Lei Yue Mun without much delay in the harbour.

Once clear of the harbour, the yachts were greeted by a fresh breeze and big swell running along the Sheung Sze Mun Channel. With an ominous grey sky at the start, sailors were relieved when the sun came out at around noon coinciding with kites being hoisted after the fleet rounded D'Aguilar. With gusts up to 15kts it was a sight to behold! With some boats 'fully launched' and able to surf on the run towards Stanley Gate, there were a few exciting moments resulting in some retirements due to broaches.

As the easterly breeze gradually weakened blocked by Hong Kong Island, there was a slight park up off the Cyberport as the wind dropped to about 3kts, and the fleet squeezed through the Cyberport Gate. Once the fleet rounded Green Island, however, the breeze increased a little giving the fleet a fast ride back into the harbour to finish the full circumnavigation. Only nine boats could not finish before the cut off time of1700hrs.

Taking the ATI overall win was Noel Chan's TP52 Rampage 88 for the second year in a row. Rampage 88 was followed by Marcel Liedts' Ker 46 Zannekin in second place and Hobie 16 Big Car helmed by Karl Chan in third overall. In the PHS division, Chris Mang's Valuable was the overall winner, Alfred Lau's Easy Breezy II took 2nd place and Shenton Drew's Athena took PHS 3rd place overall.

RO David Norton was pleased that racing went well "We started off with a great forecast and a nice easterly breeze and it seemed like everyone went very smoothly, down through the Lei Yue Mun gap down to Cape D'Aguilar and around the corner. I think it was only a bit slow around Cyber Port. The first boat finished at 1310hrs and we had a steady flow of boats finishing until about 1630hrs. I think it's been a pretty good Around the Island Race and although it was not a record-breaking year, at least nearly everyone got around without too much difficulty."

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