Zoke Around the Island Race, hosted by Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC), got underway today (Sunday 20th November) at 0830hrs on Victoria Harbour. Over 240 yachts took to the water in one of Hong Kong’s best loved and most inclusive sailing events.
One-design class boats were on the inner start line and Cruisers and Beach Catamarans on the outer start line. The starts took a full hour and 20 minutes to complete in front of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s Kellett Island Clubhouse, with all boats following a 26nm clockwise circumnavigation of Hong Kong Island.
In contrast to the previous few years, Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen was rewarded with a steady 10kt north easterly, which held in the harbour throughout the starts, and continued to deliver, with a little swing, well into the afternoon.
A large contingent of 50 volunteers operated a complicated and vital support network of safety boats and race management stations, to ensure that the RO was able to establish the progress of the head and tail of the classes and was kept apprised of wind strength all the way around Hong Kong Island.
The sailors’ favourite stretch is always the run from Junk Bay past Shek O Rock and round Cape D’Aguilar, consisting of 10nm of spinnaker in 10 to 13 knots. This treat is usually tempered by the Cyberport Chasm, where easterly meets westerly… and disappears. Today was no exception, although the wind gods managed to provide a couple of knots to keep proceedings moving.
Finding a good 10 knots at Green Island at 1200hrs, Strompf-Jepsen made the bold move to allow the race to ‘go all the way’ for the first time since 2005 and was rewarded with the finish of over 220 starters.
With a nice touch of symmetry, Sam Chan’s FfreeFire 70 took line honours, without her owner on board, as he was well on his way to taking the overall title on RHKATI handicap on his flying Fifteen, Noisy Forefather.
Racing for the first time, on board Avant Garde, Zoke chairman Mr Lui Rui Jin, finished 29th overall and fourth in class but, as is often said about this event, 'sailing was the winner'. Many of the boats who join this race are Cruising yachts rather than racers and it truly is a family day out, as well as a highly tactical and competitive race.
Full results are available here
. RHKYC website