BY Anna Cummins on 3 May 2023

Sailors took to the seas in vivid costumes this weekend

Nation's Cup Hong Kong (1)

All images: RHKYC/Guy Nowell

Sailors took to the seas in vivid costumes this weekend as the Nations’ Cup 2023 descended on Hong Kong. The most colourful event of the Hong Kong Royal Yacht Club’s sailing season, the Nations’ Cup, took place on 30 April in Victoria Harbour.

Often referred to as sailing’s answer to the city’s raucous Rugby Sevens insofar as costumes are encouraged, the celebrated annual Nations’ Cup is widely celebrated by sailors attending in fancy dress.

A total of 73 boats spanning 17 nations and regions turned up on the start line. Of these, 39 boats represented Hong Kong, with the second largest participating nation, England, represented by eight entries. Also sailing for the glory of their nation were Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden and the USA.

As always, many sailors attended in fancy dress, celebrating the spirit of the day by wearing themed costumes and decorating their boats with national flags. All Pandora crews dressed up as characters from the comic “Old Master Q” representing the old Hong Kong, while an all-girl team on board Ruffian Skellum, dressed fully in Dunhuang style with impressive hairstyles. Big Boat Goddess representing the USA saw their crew dressed as all-American icons such as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, while the Belgium team were dressed in beer cup costumes. Team England representatives dressed as ancient knights onboard Knight Shift.

Nation's Cup Hong Kong (2)

The Best Dressed award was awarded to Skellum

Boats were split into six starts based on their ratings, with the two HKPN-rated divisions starting first. Given the westerly breeze of around 7 to 8kts, Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen elected to set a course from the Club start line, downwind with two triangles around Shau Kei Wan, Kowloon Bay and Hung Hum before sailing back to Causeway Bay for the finish. The westerly breeze, however, did not funnel through the harbour as expected, resulting in a large park up at Hung Hom and North Point. Luckily an easterly breeze began to build, resulting in good sailing conditions with the wind picking up to 12kts at one point.

In the end, Dion Houghton’s VX One Rita, representing England, was crowned top nation for the second time in the club’s history of the Nations’ Cup, also snagging the all-important bragging rights for having their flag displayed over the Main Bar until next year’s event. In second place was the Philippines, followed by the Netherlands in third place. Fukushima Kunihiro’s Water Rabbit, representing Japan, took first place in the HKPN division for the second year in a row.

As there were numerous teams with impressive outfits, the race management team from RHKYC invited the shortlisted seven best to attend the prize giving, canvassing the best-dressed crew award as determined by the applause received, with the Best Dressed award finally being awarded to Skellum.

For more Yachting news click here