Hong Kong enters Volvo Ocean Race with Scallywag
19 May, 2017
Scallywag will represent Hong Kong in the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race as it became the fifth boat to enter this prestigious competition.
It is the first time that a Hong Kong syndicate/team has participated in the 44-year old Volvo Ocean Race, which will also mark its first ever hosting in Hong Kong in January.
The campaign is backed by Lee Seng-huang, Group Executive Chairman of Sun Hung Kai & Co. Limited. The Hong Kong-based businessman and owner of supermaxi yacht Scallywag – aims to promote yachting in Asia and build a long-lasting youth sailing legacy in the region.
Hong Kong will be a Host City in the Volvo Ocean Race for the first time in the 2017-18 edition, starting in October.
“This campaign will showcase world class competitive offshore sailing in Hong Kong and China with the first time stopovers for the Volvo Ocean Race in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. I have every confidence that Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag will make Hong Kong proud,” said Lee.
Mr Lee grew up in Sydney, Australia, a stone’s throw from the start line of the iconic Sydney to Hobart Race – and it was watching the fleet leave every edition of the race that first got him hooked on sailing.
He purchased the 100-foot yacht Scallywag, previously known as Ragamuffin, in 2016, and he has already seen it smash several speed records.
The entry into the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race is the next step in Mr Lee’s long-term vision to build a strong sailing legacy in Asia, and see more Asian teams compete at international events.
The team will be skippered by experienced Australian sailor David Witt, based in Hong Kong, who returns to the Volvo Ocean Race following a 20-year absence, after competing in the 1997-98 race on board Innovation Kvaerner – the boat led by former Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad.
A veteran of the Sydney to Hobart Race, having competed the challenge over 20 times, Witt is regarded as one of the best heavy weather sailors in the sport, and is keen to test his mettle in the Southern Ocean when the fleets heads south later this year.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Scallywag team to represent Hong Kong on a truly global stage,” said Witt.
“With the race returning to a more traditional route and competing in One Design yachts, we feel that we are capable of achieving something that has been a life long personal dream.”
With more than five months to go before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, the starting grid is filling up.
The other confirmed entries so far are Team AkzoNobel (skippered by Simeon Tienpont, Netherlands), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier, France), Team MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández, Spain) and Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Charlie Enright, USA).
The race will start from Alicante, Spain on 22 October, with the fleet capped at eight One Design Volvo Ocean 65 racing yachts. Seven of them have undergone an extensive refit process after being raced in the 2014-15 edition; the eighth is brand new, built for team AkzoNobel.
The 2017-18 edition will see the teams cover a total of 46,000 nautical miles in a race that features 12 Host Cities – including Hong Kong – and finishes in The Hague at the end of June.
“We are delighted that Hong Kong will be represented by a syndicate for the first time in the Volvo Ocean Race, especially as it comes during the first ever Volvo Ocean Race to feature Hong Kong as a leg,” said Richard Mason, Chief Operating Officer of the Volvo Ocean Race.
“With a fast yacht, skippered by an experienced captain and the support of Mr Lee, Scallywag promises to be competitive and we are confident that they will be well supported by the public during their historic stopover in Hong Kong.
“Volvo shares Mr Lee’s ambition to build the profile of sailing in Asia and around the world and are working hard to ensure that the Volvo Ocean Race’s first ever stopover in Hong Kong leaves a lasting legacy in the community,” added Mason.
The first ever Hong Kong leg in the 44-year history of the Volvo Ocean Race, one of sailing’s top three global events, will take place early next year with the boats expected to arrive from the preceding leg in Melbourne on 20 January, for the fifth of the twelve city stopovers.
A series of races will be held in and around Hong Kong during the stopover including the competition race, a Victoria Harbour race and an Around the Island race.
During their stay, the boats will be moored at Kai Tak Runway Park, which will be the home of the Volvo Ocean Race Festival, a 15-day carnival that will be free to the public.