The Around the Island Race - Rowing and Paddle Sports is a 45km race around the Hong Kong Island. cThe race is signified by her long distance and the very scenic race course along the coastline of Hong Kong Island, with metropolitan skyline on the one side and the tranquil nature on the other side.
The race is organised by Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, co-organised by Hong Kong, China Rowing Association and endorsed by Hong Kong Water Sports Council. cIt attracted overseas teams from Singapore, Germany, Hawaii, Spain, USA and China.
The Around The Island Race has a great history! The first ever recorded competition on this course was a sailing race held in 1864, when six sailing craft raced round the Island to starboard, using a ‘fresh north easterly breeze’. However, in regards to rowing the course – this was done in an ad-hoc fashion and the first known record is from 1953 with Victor Ardy and Major N. Payne-Johnson though we believe there were others before the war. The 1953 27-mile circuit from Middle Island took eight hours 54.5 minutes, a new record. This record was beaten 15 years later by Bob Wilson and Des Robinson in 1968, when they completed the course in five hours and 40 minutes.
Fast-forward 37 years to 2005 when an outrigger canoe team from Hawaii joined the now popular annual sailing race along with teams from the established Hong Kong Island Paddle Club (now VRC), Hong Kong Outrigger Canoe Club and Lantau Outrigger Canoe Club. The following year, the RHKYC rowers joined the annual event for the first time entering a male and a female coastal rowing doubles (Simon Walpole / Marcelo Giamporcaro and Carrie Dowe / Sara Lowe) into the 2006 event. To put this in perspective with the 1968 result, Walpole and Giamporcaro completed the course in four hours and 12 minutes.
Since 2005 and 2006 the number of both coastal rowing and outrigger canoe crews entering the event has substantially grown leading to the decision that in 2016, the Coastal Rowing and Outrigger Canoe Around the Island Race was held on a separate day to the main sailing event.
In 2017, for the first time, the Coastal Rowing and Outrigger Canoe Around The Island Race will be held at separate venues in Kellett and Middle Island.
This decision represents the growth of both coastal rowing and outrigger canoeing in Hong Kong and within the region and the commitment that the Club has to support the continued growth of these sporting disciplines moving forward.