The Ruffian is a 23 foot cruiser/racer. It was designed in Northern Ireland in the 1970s with sailing in the Irish Sea in mind. The first Ruffians were built by Weatherly Yachts. Production subsequently moved to Dublin and from there to Cork in the Irish Republic. There are fleets of Ruffians in Northern Ireland, Dublin and Hong Kong. There are other small groups of Ruffians scattered around the globe.
The Ruffians of Hong Kong are an active and friendly class with a full racing programme. They have races nearly every weekend during the racing season (from early September to the end of May). The Ruffians also participate in various friendly races during the summer months including the RHKYC Friday evening Sunset Series. Ruffians are also an ideal day boat for cruising, or even overnight sailing in Hong Kong waters.
Since 2009 the Ruffian Class has undergone a significant resurgence, with between 10-14 boats now regularly participating in class racing events. Most Ruffian races are held in the harbour, however the Rogue Series sees the Ruffians leave harbour waters for passage races to Port Shelter in Sai Kung, to the waters of the Eastern Approaches including Shek O rock and circumnavigating Hong Kong Island as part of the annual Around the Island Race. The Ruffians are the only class in the RHKYC to regularly hold such a series of races.
In the mid-90s there were a series of Ruffian Interport races held in Hong Kong and Dublin. In 2009 this initiative was reignited with a challenge in Hong Kong. As many as 20 Ruffian sailors of Hong Kong will be heading to Dublin in July 2012 to defend the title they won in 2009.
The social side of sailing is not neglected by the Ruffians, with after sail get-togethers on the verandah, dinners, sailing visits to sea food restaurants such as Po Toi O, an end-of-season prize giving, and various other parties at key points in the calendar.
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