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HKSAR 25th Anniversary Sailing Cup

by RHKYC Media 14 Jun 22:10 PDT 11, 19, 25 June 2022
HKSAR 25th Anniversary Sailing Cup - Victoria Harbour, RHKYC © RHKYC / Guy Nowell

In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the first race of the HKSAR 25th Anniversary Sailing Cup (HKSAR 25ASC) kicked off on Saturday 11 June, delivering a spectacular celebration of sailing within Hong Kong’s iconic Victoria Harbour.

Amid heavy rain and an amber rainstorm warning, 89 boats participated in this commemorative event, each displaying a special HKSAR 25th Anniversary battle flag on their backstay. They were joined in the celebrations by throngs of spectators who packed the city shoreline to watch the spectacle.

To further expand the festive atmosphere and city-wide participation of the event, each boat signed up to represent one out of the 18 districts of Hong Kong. Yachts nominated to race under the categories of IRC/ATIR or HKPN Divisions and were split into six starts at 10-minute intervals based on their RHKATI or HKPN ratings. Three HKPN divisions started off first, followed by three RHKATI divisions.

Dignitaries invited to officiate the start of each of the six races included The Honourable Paul Chan Mo-po, GBM, GBS, MH, JP Financial Secretary of the Government of the HKSAR; The Honourable Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, GBM, GBS, JP, President of the Legislative Council; Mr. Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, JP, Legislative Council Member and Vice President of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong; Mr. Philip Chen Nan-lok, GBS, JP, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; Mr. Vincent Cheng Wing-shun, MH, JP, Legislative Councillor; and Mr. Ivan Wong Wang-tai, MH, Chairman of Wan Chai District Council.

In his speech, the Hon. Paul Chan expressed his sincere gratitude to the Hong Kong Sailing Federation and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for their exceptional efforts in organising this race. He noted that “it is indeed a fitting way to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. Sailing is a sport that requires strategy and teamwork; sailors must be united, and with no fear of the elements. This exemplifies the spirit of the Hong Kong people who have helped each other over the past 25 years and echoes the theme of the 25th anniversary - A New Era – Stability. Prosperity. Opportunity.”

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Commodore, Mr. Denis Martinet, noted in his welcome speech that “it is very fitting to witness over 500 people from all walks of life, some experienced, and some novices, on 89 sailing vessels big and small, competing in this iconic setting, but more importantly celebrating 25 years since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.” He added that “when spectators face this breathtaking scenery and witness the fun these participants are having, it is easy to understand why sailors are so passionate about our watersports – but equally importantly passionate about sharing this with our community. The HKSAR 25th Anniversary Sailing Cup is a fitting example of that.”

The start was set just off Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Kellett Island Clubhouse, and the Hon. Paul Chan was on hand to start the first fleet at 1405hrs, suitably waving the flag of the HKSAR as the horn sounded, at which time the heavens opened and a heavy downpour ensued.

Each of the next five starts were presided over by an officiating guest,. The yachts were sent off in a south-westerly breeze of around 10 to 12kts with varying degrees of rain. At the end of the start sequence, a severe squall hit the harbour bringing with it gusts up to 30kts, just as the remaining six yachts (including two TP52s) set off at 1455hrs. For some, it was too much to handle, and there were retirements.

RO Barry Truhol sent the fleet up the harbour to Admiralty, across to Tsim Sha Tsui, and then downwind to Kowloon Bay before heading back to the Club finish line. Members of the public were treated to a stunning display of Hong Kong yachting at its best, as they gathered in the newly developed East Coast Park Precinct, Wan Chai Waterfront Promenade and the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade.

When the final results were in, Hui Chak Hei’s Baring Asia 2 (J/80) representing Tai Po district was crowned HKPN overall winner, while Karl Chan’s Hobie 16 Big Car representing Southern district took 1st overall in IRC/ATI division.

The RO was very honoured to be part of this amazing event, commenting that “the wind started off very light but built up towards the first start. Then a squall came through just as the horn sounded, which might have shaken the will of some of our sailors; however the second through fifth starts went on without much issue. Another ripper short squall came through during the start for the TP52s and the fast boats resulting in a few split spinnakers, but most sailors did very well in handling the challenging situation. It was a very demanding day for the sailors with some quite intense bad weather patches, but it was fun and I hope all the sailors had a good time”

The HKSAR 25th Anniversary Sailing Cup (HKSAR 25ASC) is coordinated by Hong Kong Sailing Federation, with the Hong Kong Jockey Club as exclusive sponsor, and is the first sailing event to be conducted across multiple waterways in Hong Kong. Three races hosted and co-organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, Aberdeen Boat Club and Hebe Haven Yacht Club will be sailed successively on Victoria Harbour, the Southern Island District and Sai Kung (Port Shelter). The second race facilitated by the Aberdeen Boat Club will be held on Sunday 19 June, and the final race at Hebe Haven Yacht Club on Saturday 25 June. Boats may enter the HKSAR 25ASC and take part in one, two or all three races. Strengthening sailor relationships between clubs, boats are encouraged to form a team with one or two other boats from the same represented district and in the same division to compete in all three races to obtain an overall score for the HKSAR 25ASC.

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