Nations' Cup

The Nations’ Cup is arguably one of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s foremost fun events and even the heavy rain and unusually cold weather (the coldest May for over 100 years, in fact) could not stop sailors dressing up in costumes to represent their nations. Fifty-nine boats from 18 nations (well, 19 if you include the Metaverse) turned out on the 1st of May.

Twenty-one boats represented Hong Kong, with the second largest participating nation being England with 10 entries. Also sailing for the glory of their nations were Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and Wales.

Often referred to as sailing’s answer to the (Hong Kong) Rugby Sevens, where many attend in fancy dress, the majority of participating sailors celebrated the spirit of the day by wearing costumes and decorating their boats with national flags and other paraphernalia – all this despite the interminable drizzle.

Big Boat AmaZe made sure they were well protected in full Covid gear, while Pandora sailors on Hakuna Matata, Panopae and Windfall came in cheongsams and qipao; featuring as the main characters of the legendary Hong Kong film – Rouge. An American all-girls crew on Ruffian Scallywag dressed as Britney Spears, albeit in various outfits that she made famous. Sadly, many of these amazing outfits were eventually covered up and hidden under foul weather gear while sailing. However, the sailors were still enjoying their displays of national pride.

Boats were split into six starts based on their RHKATI or HKPN ratings, with the two HKPN divisions starting first. Sailors were greeted with around 10 knots of easterly breeze (gusting to 15) at the Kellett start line.

Race officer, Bonnie Cheng, sent the everyone to Junk Bay rounding TCS4 and then back to Tin Hau, upwind to Kowloon Bay before heading back to the club finish line. The wind weakened at Lei Yue Mun and Junk Bay, where the fleets parked up twice.

When all was said and done, the results saw Mike Burrell’s Impala 1 representing Scotland crowned top nation for the second time in the history of the Nations’ Cup, while they also claimed the right to have the Scottish flag hung over the Main Bar until next year's Nations' Cup. In 2nd place was England followed by Ireland. Fukushima Kunihiro’s White Rabbit representing Japan won 1st in HKPN division.

Said Mike Burrell of Scotland: "It was a surprise; we had a good run to Lei Yue Mun. This is the second Scottish win for the Nations’ Cup, and we are nearly up to New Zealand’s standard who have won three times, so we are going to win again next year!" Burrell also thought the weather contributed to their win. "It was perfect weather for Scots."

                                                                                                                                        photos by RHKYC / Guy Nowell

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