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Sun Hung Kai & Co. Around the Island Race 2022

by Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club 21 Nov 2022 00:41 PST 20 November 2022

Hong Kong's biggest annual celebration of sail, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Sun Hung Kai & Co. Around the Island Race, a 26nm circumnavigation of Hong Kong Island, took place on Sunday 20 November with an impressive entry list of 224 boats from 14 classes including 7 one-design classes, Sportsboats, HKPN, IRC, dinghies and beach catamarans.

It took two start lines set off Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Kellett Island Clubhouse and 24 consecutive starts to get the fleet away. SHK Scallyway FUKU Orma 60 Trimaran was the last starter at 1110hrs, 10 minutes behind its smaller opponent, the Nigel Irens 40 trimaran, Carbon 3. Thesmallest boat competing in the race, the single-handed RS Aero 7 skippered by Stefan Lecher headed off at 0840hrs. The youngest participant of the race was 2.5 years old Danielle Law, who took part in her first Around the Island Race on board Ding Dong with her 5 year old brother Sean and her father Dominic.

The day started in 8 to 10kts of north-easterly breeze off the start line. The fleet made their way up the island side of the Hong Kong Harbour, avoiding exclusion zones for Hong Kong's busy marine traffic and then made their way seamlessly out through the Lei Yue Mun Gap. Kites were hoisted out of the Gap, where the fleet compressed as the wind lightened off to an easterly breeze of around 6kts.

By Shek O and the approaches to Cape D'Aguilar, Nim Ye's J92s Delight, was in the lead with the breeze starting to pick up again to 10kts. However, Rune Jacobsen's J/80 Jammin soon took over the lead passing through the Stanley Gate at 1240hrs with the 29ers right behind them. In the meantime, things were also hotting up at the back of the fleet as SHK Scallywag FUKU powered up and started working her way through the armada of yachts, leading the fleet through the Cyberport Gate a mere 9 minutes later and the Sandy Bay club mark 4 minutes later by 1253hrs.

With the fleet under kite from Cape D' Aguilar experiencing good consistent conditions, Race Officer David Norton confirmed the race would make the full circumnavigation with the finish off Kellett Island. Spared the typical Cyberport park-up, the majority of the fleet had converged on Green Island by 1500hrs before they started the last challenging section of the course - negotiating the tricky beat back up through the harbour to the finish.

In what was to be a quick race for all, David Witt's SHK Scallyway FUKU Orma 60 Trimaran took the fasted elapsed time of 02h 25m 21s, just short of the race record of 2h 13m 11s established by Aberdeen Extreme 40 in 2013.

The big winners of the day were Noel Chan's TP52 Rampage 88, followed by another TP52 Phoenix owned by Robert Wiest/Victor Ku and David Ho and Patrick Pender's VX One Serendipity. For the HKPN division, Niccolo Manno's Nigel Irens Tri 40 Carbon 3 took the win, followed by Birdget Chan's Ker 11.3 Minnie the Moocher and Raymond Yip's Beneteau First 44.7 Harpseal taking 3rd place.

Race Officer David Norton was satisfied with the steady conditions, "Unlike the 'feast and famine' conditions that we see most years, the 2022 Around the Island Race had a consistent 8-12kts around the whole course, the only real soft spot was around the Green Island mark. Great sailing conditions along the Lamma channel!"

The outgoing tide helped most of the fleet through Lei Yue Mun, but the payback was a strong adverse current in the western harbour on the 3.5 mile beat back from Green Island mark to the finish.

The SHK Scallywag FUKU trimaran got close to a record course time, but missed their target by a little over 12 mins, I hope that Witty and his team can give the record another shot in the coming few days.

Well done to the 207 boats that completed the race and we must thank the 50 plus volunteers that made this event happen.

Thanks also to Sung Hung Kai & Co. for their sponsorship of the event and for bringing the Orma 60 to Hong Kong for the race.

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