25th Anniversary Cup, (RHKYC)

In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the first race of the 25th Anniversary Sailing Cup kicked off on Saturday, the 11th of June 2022, delivering a spectacular celebration of sail in 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 battle flag on their backstay. They were joined in the celebrations by throngs of spectators who lined the shore 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 Paul Chan (financial secretary), Andrew Leung (LegCo president), Kenneth Fok (LegCo member and vice president of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee), Philip Chen (Jockey Club chairman), Vincent Cheng (legislative councilor) and Ivan Wong (chairman Wan Chai District Council).

In his speech, Paul Chan thanked the Hong Kong Sailing Federation and Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for their efforts in organising this race. “It was 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,” he said.

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club commodore, Denis Martinet, noted in his welcome speech that “it was very pleasing to see over 500 people from all walks of life, some experienced, some novices on 89 sailing boats, big and small, competing in this iconic setting, but more importantly celebrating 25 years since the establishment of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.” He added: “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 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 the Kellett Island clubhouse and the financial secretary, Paul Chan, was on hand to start the first fleet at 1405, 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 and the yachts were sent off in a south-westerly breeze of around 10 to 12 knots with varying degrees of rain. By the end of all six start sequences, a severe squall hit the harbour bringing with it gusts up to 30 knots, just as the remaining six yachts including two TP52s set off at 1455. Very exciting and some yachts even had to retire.

Race officer, Barry Truhol, sent the fleet westwards to Admiralty, across to Tsim Sha Tsui, downwind to Kowloon Bay before heading back to the Club finish line. Spectators 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, representing Tai Po District, was crowned HKPN overall winner while Karl Chan’s Hobie 16, Big Car, representing Southern District tool 1st overall in the IRC / ATI division.

Truhol felt honoured to be part of this amazing event, commenting: “The wind started off very light and built up towards the first start and a squall came through just as the horn sounded, which might have shaken the will of some of our sailors. However, the 2nd to 5th starts went without issue. Another ripper squall came through during the start for the TP52s and the fast boats resulting in a few torn sails, but most sailors did very well in handling the situation. It was a very demanding day for everyone with some quite intense weather patches, but it was fun and I hope all sailors had a good time.”

The 25th Anniversary Sailing Cup, co-ordinated by the Hong Kong Sailing Federation and with Hong Kong Jockey Club as exclusive sponsor, is the first sailing event conducted across multiple venues 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. The second race, facilitated by the Aberdeen Boat Club, will be held on Sunday, the 19th of June, and the final race at Hebe Haven Yacht Club on Saturday, the 25th of June.

Boats may enter and take part in one, two or all three races.

photos by RHKYC / Guy Nowell

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