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21 November 2004, 05:28 pm
Early Start For Asian Classic
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Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Around The Island Race

As hundreds of competitors gathered in the post-dawn hours to get their boats on the water, a steady 10 knots North Easterly was auguring well for this year's RHKYC Around The Island Race.

Once again going 'all the way' with the support of Hong Kong Marine Department, The Marine Police and the Home Affairs Bureau, the 2004 event got underway at 0830hrs with the Pandora fleet and the small Cruisers.

Chasing them down from the final start at 0930hrs were the large Multihulls and Sportsboats. Two of the Sportsboats were immediately taken out of the equation by a fishing vessel which dropped its nets directly in front of them, resulting in an almighty tangle from which the racers had to be extricated by the safety team, however few other incidents were recorded.

Out of 175 entrants, 168 reported to the start line, including 10 lady helms to contest the Lady Godiva Trophy with Leung Yuen Wah, Eva on 420 'Fasan' claiming the prize. By far the largest one design fleet was the Hobie 16 class with 18 entrants, followed by Sportsboats with 12, however with 51 cruiser entries, the other one design fleets each suffered a few absentees from their usual numbers.

Racers enjoyed a shifting 10 knot breeze all the way around and there was plenty of excitement on the water, gybes aplenty and some exhausted sailors in the bar after a race which pitted dinghies against high performance cruisers and multihulls. Benoit Le Saffre claimed line honours back at Kellett Island in 03h27m45s on 'Atmosphere' after a fierce battle with the Hobie Tigers, in particular Hamish McNichol on 'Tigger' which finished only 10 minutes behind.

Prizegiving will be held on Friday 26th November at Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club after all protests have been settled.

Overall winner on corrected time is Jamie MCWILLIAM on Etchells 'Wanchai Belle', having a great weekend after lifting the Lipton Trophy on Saturday and well on his way to winning the Black Mountain Top Dog Trophy Series for pursuit races.

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