Around the Island Race (ATIR)
The rowing and paddle sports Around the Island Race is a 45km race around the Hong Kong Island. The race is signified by her long distance and 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. It attracted overseas teams, including World Champions and Olympic medalists, from Singapore, Germany, Hawaii, Spain, USA, Great Britain, Greece and China.
Rowing since 1889
The first known record of using rowing boat to circumnavigate the Hong Kong Island was in around 1889 by a crew comprising Messrs. Stewart, Lockhart, Masters, Friedericks, Lawrie and Hagler. This was recorded in a letter wrote to the SCMP by Mr. A Turner after the China Mail ( 26 Feb 1904) reported that a " Four" from the HongKong Boat Club, which merged later into Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in 1905, rowed around Hong Kong Island with around 6 hours. There crew included Messers Toelke (bow), Borner (2), Konig (3), Kohler (stroke) and Gary (Cox).
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. 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.
Outrigger Canoe since 2005
Fast-forward 37 years to 2005 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. That marked the first Outrigger Canoe circumnavigate the Hong Kong Island.
Ergo Challenge since 2016
Also in the same year, a land based 45km ergo challenge relay race was introduced to raise money for marine resources protection. This at the same time provide another way for engage more people to enjoy the spirit of ATIR : Celebrate the Challenge.
Blossom and move on
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.
In 2018, it is decided to host the Coastal Rowing and Outrigger Canoe ATIR on 2 separate dates ( Outrigger Canoe - 4 Nov 2018 and Coastal Rowing - 2 Dec 2018) to facilitate the further development of both disciplines.