HKSAR celebrates 25th Anniversary with Sailing Cup
Dignitaries officiated the start of the first official sporting event to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
RHKYC hosted the first leg of the HKSAR 25th Anniversary Sailing Cup; Photos: RHKYC / Guy Nowell
Honouring 25 years since the establishment of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the first race of the HKSAR 25th Anniversary Sailing Cup delivered a spectacular celebration of sailing in Victoria Harbour. Amid heavy rain and an amber rainstorm warning, 89 boats participated, each displaying a special HKSAR 25th Anniversary battle flag on their backstay and watched by spectators along the shoreline.
The Dufour 390 Ananta finished fourth in HKPN
To 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 / ATI 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.
Kenneth Fok, Vincent Ng, Cheung Mei-han, Andrew Leung, Paul Chan, Philip Chen, Vincent Cheng and Ivan Wong
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; Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, JP, Legislative Council Member and Vice President of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong; Philip Chen Nan-lok, GBS, JP, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; Vincent Cheng Wing-shun, MH, JP, Legislative Councillor; and Ivan Wong Wang-tai, MH, Chairman of Wan Chai District Council.
Paul Chan, HKSAR Financial Secretary
In his speech, Paul Chan expressed his sincere gratitude to the Hong Kong Sailing Federation and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) for their efforts in organising this race. “It’s a fitting way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland,” he said. “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.”
Denis Martinet, Commodore of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
RHKYC Commodore Denis Martinet said: “It’s very fitting to witness over 500 people from all walks of life, some experienced, some novices on 89 sailing vessels big and small, competing in this iconic setting, but more importantly celebrating 25 years since the establishment of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. When spectators face this breathtaking scenery and witness the fun these participants are having, it’s easy to understand why sailors are so passionate about our watersports. Equally importantly, they’re passionate about sharing this with our community. The HKSAR 25th Anniversary Sailing Cup is a fitting example of that.”
Financial Secretary Paul Chan at the race start
The Financial Secretary was on hand to start the first fleet at 1405hrs, waving the flag of the HKSAR as the horn sounded, at which time 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 10-12 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 14:55.
Action in Victoria Harbour
Race Officer Barry Truhol sent the fleet up the harbour to Admiralty, across to Tsim Sha Tsui, 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. 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 took first overall in IRC/ATI division.
RHKYC’s Kellett Island clubhouse
Truhol said: “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 next four 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 sailors had a good time.”
Sailors made the most of tough conditions
Coordinated by Hong Kong Sailing Federation and with Hong Kong Jockey Club as exclusive sponsor, the HKSAR 25th Anniversary Sailing Cup is the first sailing event conducted across multiple waterways in Hong Kong. Further races to celebrate the HKSAR 25th Anniversary will be hosted by the Aberdeen Boat Club on June 19 and Hebe Haven Yacht Club on June 25.