Published: Monday, 04 May 2015

Saturday May 2 marked the fifth anniversary of the sailing event billed as “Rugby Sevens on the water” with 66 boats dressing up and swapping their usual crews for ad hoc combinations of Swedes, Turks, Kiwis and the 13 other nations that gathered at Royal Hong Hong Yacht Club for the start of the one daylong pursuit race.

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Efg Nations Cup.

Race Officer Sofia Mascia set a course, which took the boats from Hung Hom out through Lei Yue Mun and around Shek O Rock before returning to the harbour for a club finish. The boats were racing for a corrected finish time, however the faster boats on the later starts would have the opportunity to overtake the earlier starters on their way around the course.

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Efg Nations Cup 1

The breeze at the start was oscillating wildly forcing Mascia to delay the race to prevent the first start group from hitting the committee boat. While the boats re-organised themselves for the re-start and the I-flag was employed, the pin end was moved to give more bias at that end and the remainder of the start sequence went off without a hitch.

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Efg Nations Cup 2

(All images: Koko Mueller / RHKYC)

While the regular racers in Victoria Harbour gained from their inside knowledge of the tides and shifts, everyone suffered from the hole at Lei Yue Mun Gap and the shifty breeze thereafter. Recording up to 18 knots in gusts, but averaging 10-12 knots, the Flying Fifteens Noisy Forefather (Hong Kong) and Tchaikoffsky (Wales) were first around Shek O Rock and back into the harbour, only to be pipped at the post by Big Boats FreeFire (England) and Bush Kiwi (New Zealand), followed by Etchells from Holland and New Zealand. The remaining boats finished in a manageable procession, with only a couple of protests arising from the day’s proceedings. 

After finish times were corrected for club handicaps, the top ten nations were:

1              New Zealand

2              England

3              Netherlands

4              Hong Kong

5              Uranus (Malaysia)

6              Sweden

7              Germany

8              Scotland

9              Ireland

10            Wales

At a packed prizegiving, adorned with national flags and supported by Peroni Beer (Italy) the prize for the best dressed nation went to Turkey, with Japan picking up winning nation on HKPN and Albert Chiu, CEO of EFG (Asia) presenting the Nation's Cup. Pixie Thomas then stepped up to award the Vic Locke Memorial Trophy to winners New Zealand, before the signal went up to get the party started.

Full race results: