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Sun Hung Kai & Co. Around the Island Race 2021 - tomorrow

by RHKYC Media 14 Nov 2021 16:00 PST 14 November 2021
RHKYC Around the Island Race 2020 © RHKYC / Guy Nowell

Tomorrow morning, Hong Kong’s biggest sailing extravaganza of the year. 231 boats signed up for the annual Around the Island Race, sponsored by Sun Hung Kai & Co (thank you very much!). Staggered starts from 08.30h until… well, until everyone is on their way. The start line is right outside RHKYC's Clubhouse at Kellett Island, Causeway Bay.

It’s ‘only’ 26nm to circumnavigate Hong Kong island, but there always sand traps. The course takes the fleet clockwise around the island and will have them pass through two 'gates', the first at Stanley Bay and the second at Cyberport. Here’s a quick preview: a soft opening in the harbour, breeze to Cape d’Aguilar, something tricky all the way up Lamma, choppy water in the western harbour, and some highly tactical sailing through the central harbour, past Central, and keep clear of the commercial traffic and especially the jetfoils and jet cats to-ing and fro-ing between Hong Kong and Macau. (A few less than a couple of years ago on account of pandemic considerations ho hum).

Tomorrow’s lineup for the Sun Hung Kai & Co Around the Island Race includes two Dart 18s and ten Hobie 16 beach cats. They are always a delight to see dashing through the fleet with their colourful sails. Last year’s Hobie 16 champion was Brian Tsang on Curry Dog. We’ve got Brian on the list for this year with a more streamlined Curry. Could be part of the strategy to ensure a win! Last year Brian won with a corrected time of 6:17:43.

There are four hardy souls competing single-handed in the race, and three of them are surnamed Surman - Dad Giles and his sons Felix and Otto. Giles is no stranger to the #ATIR so will experience get him over the finish line faster than his young and energetic 16 and 18 year old sons? Out of a fleet of four soloists, there will be two clear competitions going on. One is to see the results of Surman vs. Surman vs. Surman for bragging rights at the dinner table at home, and the other is to see if fourth competitor, Stefan Lecher, can hold off the Surmans en masse to retain his RS Aero 7 title! Giles is sailing in a Laser Standard whilst Felix, Otto and Stefan compete in the RS Aero 7.

There are no fewer than 131 Big Boats entered! Amongst them is last year’s ATI overall winner, Shawn Kang’s TP52 Alpha+ who had a corrected time of just 1 minute and 10 seconds ahead of Tam Nguyen and his Dragon, Zephyr. After last year’s race, Shawn said “we are so happy to win ATI overall! It’s not easy to win a race of this kind, with over 200 different boats sailing together – you have to sail well, and be a little bit lucky too. We only beat Zephyr by one minute on corrected time. We were very lucky to start with a good puff, and the best part for me was passing Lei Yue Mun Gap – at that moment the wind was very light and ‘confused’ and there were so many boats stopped there. We managed to just keep moving slowly through a very narrow channel, and caught up with most other boats that started earlier. The wind forecast which had indicated anything between 5 and 18kts, and very changeable. That made it hard for the competitors, but doubly tough for the Race Management, so I would like to say a big thank you to the organisers, volunteers, sponsors, competitors and all our crew! Thanks all, looking forward for the race of next year.”

Seven Sportsboats will be lining up on the start line. The fleet of five Sportsboats went ‘all the way’ around last year, and are no doubt hoping to do so again. Russ Parker and F.A.B. will be defending their class title, which was won last year with a corrected time of 6:12:34. There are some changes in this class from last year to this. Last year we had F.A.B., Catch 22, Dazibao, Fly By Wire and No Rush…. And this year F.A.B., Catch 22 and No Rush are joined by Carter USM, Furious One, Havoc, and Serendipity.

The mighty Etchells class will have 11 boats on the start line for tomorrow’s Sun Hung Kai & Co. Around the Island Race. Their defending champion is Frank Van Kempen's King of the Pin! Will he be dethroned? CAN he be dethroned? Watch this space!

Amongst the 12 Ruffians entered, Claire Storey and Jarl Borthwick on board Larrikin will no doubt be hoping to follow up last year’s win with another victory. The Ruffians finished at the Cyberport Gate last year, so fingers and toes crossed that the breeze carries them all the way around Hong Kong Island tomorrow. There will also be six Pandoras on the start line: Hakuna Matata, Panache, Panopae, Pasisana, Solstice and Windfall! Last year it was Kui Wang Chair's Solstice taking the win ahead of Windfall at Cyberport Gate. Let's see who will become champion this year and all the best to the Pandora fleet to get all the way around this year.

13 Impalas – is that enough for a herd? Last year's winner, Mike Burrell's Impala 1, isn't going to be out on the start line, so someone else can claim the podium this year! Maybe it'll be Francis Cheung / Daniel Pang's Boss Hogg, who were the 2019 Impala winners?

13 J/80s, and can’t think of a snappy comment, but it’s bound to be unlucky for someone! Last year's winner, Jammin, came home in an elapsed time of 5:44:31 and was massively ahead of the rest of the class, crossing the finish line nearly an hour in front of the next J/80. That was A Segaud/ M Dubreuil/ J Ten Berge are not on the entry list for Sunday, so we're going to have a new champion for 2021!

Thirteen is a popular number this year - there are 13 Dragons entered, including last year's winner, Tam Nguyen's Zephyr. Can he hold off the other Dragons and win again?

Flying 15s! We've got nine, count ‘em, nine. 26nm is a long way in a Flying Fifteen, dedication required. Sam Chan's Full Power was top of the class last year in an elapsed time of 6:09:21, and Sam is back again to defend his title.

On top of all that, be in for the chance to win a really nifty RHKYC tote bag made of recycled sails and a bottle of Sun Hung Kai Scallywag Limited Edition whisky! Share a photo of the fleet as it makes its way around Hong Kong. Upload to FB or IG with the tag #rhkycATIR and you might be one of the two winners to each receive the bag and whisky!

#ATIR #RHKYC Title Sponsor: Sun Hung Kai & Co Supporting Sponsor: St. James's Place Wealth Management Asia Partners: Maui Jim, Peroni Nastro Azzurro,Sail-World.com

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