Jamie McWilliam’s Etchells ‘Shrub’ takes overall honours in Around the Island Race

Around 1,400 sailors on board 230 boats take part in the annual event in tricky conditions as Shrub wins the race on corrected time

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 November, 2017, 7:36pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 November, 2017, 1:23pm

Jamie McWilliam’s Etchells “Shrub” were the big winners in Sunday’s Turkish Airlines Around the Island Race, winning the race on corrected time to take overall honours.

With its crew of Simon Macdonald and Peter Austin on board, Shrub finished the race at just past 2.19pm in an elapsed time of five hours, 14 mins and seven seconds, and a corrected time of 4:59.02.

McWilliam was delighted with the win and said: “Sailors talk about how the Around the Island Race is never the same but today was really not the same. I thought that Helmuth Hennig’s Marten 49 Vineta sailed the best from Green Island to the finish that I have ever seen, I don’t think they missed a single thing. There were more lead changes in the Etchells then I ever remember.

“Yah so there were lots of cool things about today’s race. I thought it was very punchy not to shorten the race at Green Island and would I imagine there will a lot of people moaning about it but there will be just as many people not moaning about it. The weather was wet but to be honest after the reach down past Shek O Rock we were soaked, so by the time it started raining it made no difference to us at all.”

Around 1,400 people on 230 boats and even two life jacket-clad dogs took part in this year’s 26 nautical mile circumnavigation of the Island on a day of varied conditions.

It took two start lines located off of Causeway Bay and Hung Hom and 22 consecutive starts to get the fleet away. There were boats breaking conditions right off of the start with the first casualty of the day headed back to the club by 8.30am due to a broken mast and boom. The fleet tacked their way up the starboard side of the Hong Kong Harbour course, avoiding exclusion zones and Hong Kong’s busy marine traffic and through Lei Yue Mun gap.

Once the fleet reached Shek O rock they met with big swells of 2 to 3 metres, which proved difficult for some of the smaller fleets. Persevering on was the first Para athlete to compete in the Around the Island Race; Foo Yuen-wai representing Sailability Hong Kong on board a 2.4mR, the smallest boat in the fleet The Kaplan, not only is Foo the first Para athlete to compete, he is also the first one to sail single-handed. Foo completed the race and sailed across the line at 16:11:24.

Another first was Sean Law on board S M Kwan and Thomas Wong’s Sunfast 3600 Ding Dong Sean who is just 77 days old did his first Around the Island Race with mother and father Sally and Dominick.