Published: Monday, 22 January 2018

Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag carved a slice of Volvo Ocean Race history, as the first Hong Kong entry in the round-the-world event won the first-ever leg to sail into the Victoria Harbour.

Sun Hung Kaiscallywag Wins Leg 4 Of Volvo Ocean Race 1 

(Photo: Volvo Ocean Race)

“No one gave us a chance and the only ones who gave us a chance was us and we’re going to keep getting off the floor and keep doing this,” said Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag skipper David Witt.

Local fans were duly answered as the Hong Kong yacht was able to secure a victory, after starting the 6,000nm fourth leg of this year’s round-the-world race in the fifth position – out of seven yachts – and then falling as far behind the fleet as 90nm at one stage.

But the longer the leg went, the stronger Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag became – and in the end they were around 30nm in front of the then-second placed Vestas 11th Hour Racing when they crossed the finishing line in Victoria Harbour.

“This is going to mean a lot to a lot of different people but the most important for us is the team owners,” said Witt.

“We are a privately owned team and Mr Lee Seng Huang has been great. Not just the money but his passion and enthusiasm and his vision for what he wants to do for sailing in Hong Kong and Scallywag globally is very special.

“He deserves this and we are proud of being part of the team to make his vision come true. Winning is massive for Scallywag going forward.”

Once the fleet was 200nm from the finish – from where stealth mode is no longer allowed – the online tracker showed the Charlie Enright–skippered Vestas 11th Hour Racing poised 52nm behind, and the Charles Caudrelier-skippered Dongfeng 74nm behind.

From there it was a case of Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag holding their line for Hong Kong – and for home.

Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag had pulled off some audacious moves throughout the leg from Melbourne – the fourth of 11 – including a sharp southwesterly gybe between the islands of Fuga and Dalupiri, north of the Philippines, and before that through the doldrums area of light winds on the approach to the Philippines, when the Hong Kong yacht seemed to find winds.

“We lost the J0 sail in the southern ocean and along with losing a guy overboard, had navigation issues,” said Witt. “Everybody just takes it on the chin and doesn’t blame anyone and that’s one of the best things about this team.”

Despite the good news from the Hong Kong team, a collision between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a fishing vessel occurred approximately 30 miles from the finish of Leg 4, which has resulted in a fatality of a crew of the fishing vessel.