Published: Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Aberdeen Boat Club’s annual Four Peaks Race brings Hong Kong’s yachting and hill climbing communities together. The race is a test of endurance and strategy, combining sailing with gruelling climbs up some of Hong Kong’s most famous peaks.

Simpson Marine has made a three-year commitment to sponsoring the Four Peaks Race, starting with this year’s 31st edition Jan 31-Feb 1.

The Challenging Four Peaks Race Returns Jan 31 1

“The Four Peaks Race embodies the Corinthian spirit of yacht racing in Hong Kong, and that’s what attracted Simpson Marine to the event,” says Mark Russell, Group GM of Simpson Marine. “We want to help promote the yachting lifestyle, and this classic race is at the heart of Hong Kong’s yachting culture. Hong Kong’s Four Peaks Race is the only challenge like it in Asia, and it has been a highlight on the local sporting calendar for many years. That uniqueness and longevity is what brought Simpson Marine to the race.”

The Challenging Four Peaks Race Returns Jan 31 2

The average boat takes 24 hours to complete the course. The multi-sport race requires sailing skills, tricky landings by transfer craft, foot speed and strategy on rough, hilly terrain, as well as good seamanship on the water. Tactics and stamina play a big part. Competitors return year after year for the excitement and the camaraderie.

The event, founded by sailor and Chinese maritime historian Dr Stephen Davies, is modelled on the Three Peaks race in the UK, where yachts visit Mount Snowden in Wales, Scafell Pike in the Lake District and Ben Nevis in Scotland.

The Challenging Four Peaks Race Returns Jan 31 3 

“I keep coming back to the race year after year for its combination of racing sailing, good seamanship, teamwork, preparation and the combination of hills and sea,” says Davies.

The racecourse varies from 55 to 90 nautical miles, depending on the racing division. Each team is made up of a mix of sailors and runners.

Yachts criss-cross Hong Kong waters to stop in designated areas near the trailheads leading up four of Hong Kong’s iconic mountain peaks. The runners swim or paddle ashore, and then race to the top and back to the boats before sailing on to the next running section.

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“This unique sporting challenge is considered one of the most testing competitions in the region,” says Philippe de Manny, General Manager of the Aberdeen Boat Club. It requires the highest levels of fitness and seamanship from the competitors and the best of race stewarding and safety management from the organisers.”

The minimum crew is five, with a minimum of two runners climbing each peak. Engines may be used only in an emergency.

The Four Peaks are:

Ma On Shan (702m Div. A only)

Violet Hill (433m all boats)

Lantau Peak (934m all boats)

Mt Stenhouse (353m all boats)

Peak 300, Cape d’Aguilar (300m Div. B only)