It was just after 7am in the morning, when we finally passed the finishing line. By that time I was shivering, having managed to fill up my boat completely with water (for the second time) and totally soak my fowlies hours earlier. All nine of us, the crew of Stella, had just completed the 30th edition of the Hong Kong Four Peaks Race – a legendary sailing and running event.
The goal was to put two people on four peaks in the territory – Ma on Shan in the NT, Violett Hill in Hong Kong, Lantau Peak on Lantau and Stenhouse on Lamma…. in between its sailing, as fast as possible, as the boat that returns first to Middle Island wins the race.
Guided by our never tired skipper Roli and our navigator and multiple race winner Cathy we set off towards Sai Kung on a wonderful sunny, but also breezy Saturday. As the only team we dared to skip the kayak drop off, instead opted for a direct pier rendez-vous to send our runners Riitta and Charly off! A daring move, that paid off and let us overtake several boats…
However the joy was shortlived as we managed to catch a windhole on our spinnaker run back to Hong Kong Island and instead at dusk I had to set off in the darkness of the night to climb Violett Hill, a nice peak off Repulse Bay – everything went according to plan until I decided to take a non existing step off the pier, while climbing into the kayak – well gravity took me down and before I realised it, I was up to my neck in the cold sea! Scrambling back out, promising to make it better, I managed to get into the kayak on my second try, but just as me and fellow runner Charly wanted to set off we flipped over…. this time fully soaked. While it must have looked hilarious for bystanders (thankfully it was night) all the wet kit in the chilly night were less then funny!
Anyway, the race went on – this time we exploited a loophole in the race regulations, that allowed kayaks to pull the sailboats under certain conditions. That allowed us to reach Lantau in a great time – Natalia and Charly set off to blast the steep hill….
that left Lamma – this time we skipped the Kayak and due to the strong surf opted for the dinghy.. I got the pleasure to row runners Cabbage and Andrew to the beach… they did a great job holding our direct competitors at bay and not even the wave that soaked me when bringing the dinghy back to the boat could stop us from a great run towards the finish!
83miles of sailing, lots of wet kit, but all around happy faces (not just because of the beer and rum&tea)!