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RHKYC Nations' Cup 2024 at Victoria Harbour

by Vivian Ngan 29 Apr 09:40 BST 28 April 2024

The Nations' Cup, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's most fun and colourful event, took place on 28 April at Victoria Harbour. Not even the heavy rain could dampen the spirits of the sailors who donned all kinds of costumes to represent their nation and many decorated their boats in colourful flags.

71 boats spanning 17 nations and regions turned up at the start line. In keeping with this special annual occasion, sailors separated from their usual sailing partners to form a team with all crews being from the same nation or region.

36 boats represented Hong Kong, with the second largest participating nation being England with 8 entries. Also sailing were boats representing Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. On this day even the race management team joined in the fun, dressing up in blue to represent the United Nations.

All Pandora crews impressively dressed up in matching costumes, each vying for the title of Mr. Pandora and Ms. Pandora. A group of Belgian J/80 sailors dressed up as characters from the comic Tin Tin; even renaming their boat Tin Tin in Hong Kong for the day. A flock of flamingos were also spotted out racing; likely representing the colourful birds that Hong Kong's Zoological and Botanical Gardens are known for. Sweden came dressed in yellow and blue and must have had the youngest average crew with skipper Peter Backe taking out his daughter and a group of young Sharks sailors.

Boats were split into six starts based on their ratings, with two PHS divisions starting first. Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen elected to set a course from the Club start line, sending boats to pass Lei Yue Mun, rounding TCS4 in Junk Bay, rounding both Shau Kei Wan mark and Dock Buoy before sailing back to Causeway Bay for the finish.

The race started in an easterly breeze of 10 to 12kts, with heavy rain soaking all the sailors and their wigs. The wind softened by Junk Bay, however thankfully picking up again to send the fleet back to Club line for finish.

In the end, it was Gideon Mowser's Gambit representing England that came in first. Gambit's win handed England their third Nations' Cup victory in the event's history and snagging England the most important bragging rights of having their flag displayed at the Main Bar until next year's event. In second place was the Philippines followed in third by Hong Kong. Johnson Yuen's Zoe representing Hong Kong won the first place in the PHS division. The best dressed crew award went to TinTin in Hong Kong.

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