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Hong Kong Victorious for first time at The Nations' Cup 2019

by RHKYC Media 28 Apr 05:14 PDT

"Sailing today was just about as good as we ever get in the harbour" said Irishman Mick McCool who sailed aboard Jamie McWilliam's Etchells, Finnegan's Wake, the sole Irish entry into the 2019 Nations' Cup. Added McCool, It would mean an awful lot to have the Irish flag behind the bar" but Ireland just missed out, coming in second behind Hong Kong.

We had beautiful weather, blue sky and the breeze was 10 to 15kts; all the way and very consistent, up and down but not shifting much. It was pretty fair racing and a lot of fun for everyone." he added, a sentiment echoed by Commodore John Woo sailing Karina for Hong Kong. Said Woo "We had a lovely day; the wind was constant. It was a short race for us; only two hours but it was lovely weather, the sun was out and we have a result, unlike yesterday when racing was cancelled due to bad weather. Today we dressed up as a 'Hong Kong Emergency Room'; we are here to support and say cheers to all of Hong Kong's medical professionals who work so hard with long hours so somehow we hope to give them a morale boost by dressing like them." At the end of the day the race management team singled out Karina for the best dressed crew award.

By all accounts, everyone enjoyed the day's racing out in the harbour. Over 60 sailing crews representing 17 nations namely Hong Kong, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands, England, Sweden, Turkey, New Zealand, Scotland, Germany, USA, Ireland, Belgium, France, Italy and Japan competed in the Harbour. Besides winning a trophy, the winning nation's bragging rights includes the right to have their nation's flag in the Club's Main Bar for a year.

First held in 2011, the Nations' Cup is different from the Club's usual sailing races with crews formed along the lines of their nation of origin or allegiance or just simply dressing up in anything they like.

Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen set a course that was "easy to handle for teams that are not used to sailing together, one that was interesting enough without being too long and one that could be shortened if necessary." Strompf-Jepsen said "the weather conditions were pretty good; perfect almost. We had 10 to 15kts of breeze and it was all good despite the finishing mark being dragged away from us."

There were all sorts of costumes out on the race track today. One boat carried Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un and Barack Obama lookalikes along with their bodyguards whilst another team representing France sailed in yellow vests. Still others dressed up as mahjong pieces. Best dressed boat award went to Helios.

Another nod to politics came from Nick Atkinson who had an English flag and an EU flag strapped to his Flying Fifteen Uffa Fox Ache. Said Atkinson, "we went as Brexit basically" and when asked how he thought he fared in today's racing he quipped "really badly actually, much like Brexit; we couldn't decide which way to go to save our lives".

Olivier Decamps of Belgium had a fantastic day today "great weather, good team on board, great fun. Just perfect; couldn't have asked for more. We had two boats out for Belgium today, an Etchells and a Beneteau. It's quite unusual to have two boats out for Belgium. What makes this event so special is everyone having fun, dressing up and soaking up the atmosphere."

New Zealand's Drew Taylor was looking for a fourth win in this event. They had a lovely day "the breeze was reasonable; we had eight on board which wasn't really enough but being Kiwis we rose to the challenge and I think we got round the racecourse reasonably well. New Zealand has won this event three times and we'd like more!". Similarly, Australia was very positive. Oliver Merz said "It was a great day for Australia and everyone finished. I think we are in the places but sailing today was a winner. It would be the best to have our flag behind the bar."

In the end Hong Kong was crowned top nation for the first time in the history of the Nations' Cup. In second place was Ireland followed in third by England. Then came Belgium, Australia and New Zealand rounding off the top six. Best Dressed Crew was Hong Kong's Karina and Best Dressed Boat was Helios.

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