ABC's Opening Regatta

The forecast of southeasterlies from 13 to 19 knots, gusting 23, sounded promising for Day 1 of the Aberdeen Boat Club’s Opening Regatta 2020. Fortunately, the sky was clear on Saturday, the 19th of September although rain clouds were skirting the race area as race officer, Alex Johnston, anchored east of Lamma Island and made preparations for two windward / leewards with the possibility of a third for IRC.

First off at 1030 were the four IRC 0 boats, their course comprising three laps to a windward mark at 120 degrees and 1.2 nautical miles distant. Ambush led off the line with Redeye, Phoenix and Intrigue in pursuit.

The six IRC 1 and four IRC 2 boats followed in a combined start but aggressive tactics, particularly by Red Kite II and Calamansi, saw the majority of the fleet over, resulting in a general recall. Their race restarted at 1045 with Daydream leading. Jinn tacked early and was lucky to escape the approaching Arcturus.

The breeze was still holding at 10 to 12 knots as nine HKPN A boats started on two laps of a shorter 1.1nm inner course. XT and Lisa Elaine led off the line. Lisa Elaine tacked early but had to turn back to avoid Generations. The Beneteau Oceanis 51.1, Legende II, brought up the rear.

The five HKPN B boats followed with Jibulai leading at the pin, ahead of Five O One, Boss, The Farr Side and finally Shun Shui.

Around 1140 news from the top mark was that the wind had reached 20 knots as a squall fast approached. It swept down the race track catching several boats off guard, including Ding Dong and the J-80 JeNe PaBe.  
With all boats finished, the RO chose to wait for the rain to pass before starting another race.

Ambush opted for the slightly biased pin-end for the IRC 0 start at 1210, leading Redeye and Intrigue over the line in the 7-knot breeze, with Phoenix having retired.

Five minutes later the combined IRC 1 and 2 fleets followed. Calamansi gambled on a port tack start at the pin-end. Having cleared Daydream, it was then obliged to duck Arcturus before tacking on to starboard.

The HKPN A fleet followed but, near the committee boat, Generations tried to barge through close to Scintilla and had to bail out. The (lengthy) protest was resolved without disqualification.

Finally HKPN B got going with Jibulai first out of the blocks.

Meanwhile the breeze oscillated between 120 and 140 degrees, as squalls swept across the course. Redeye saw 30 knots but was more concerned more about visibility, while Jarrah recorded 33 knots.

Although contemplating a third race for the IRC boats, it was questionable if conditions would improve, so the RO sent the fleet home.

In IRC 0, Ambush finished the day with line honours in both races with a win in the first and 2nd in Race 2. Intrigue scored a 2nd and 3rd and Redeye a 3rd and 1st in Races 1 and 2 respectively.

Daydream took line honours in the first race for IRC 1, finishing 2nd on corrected, with Arcturus 1st and Jinn 3rd. In Race 2, Rampage took the honours with Arcturus 2nd and Daydream 3rd.

In IRC 2, Red Kite II did the daily double in both races with Calamansi runner-up and Legende (Dynamite 2) 3rd in both.

Lisa Elaine took line honours in HKPN A’s Race 1 but slipped to 3rd on handicap with Generations 1st and Zesst 2nd. Jarrah was first to the line in Race 2 for 2nd on handicap, beaten by Zesst with Generations 3rd.

In HKPN B, Jibulai took line and handicap honours in both races with Shun Shui 2nd and Boss 3rd in both.

By the time the committee boat left the typhoon shelter on Sunday, the 20th of September, the grey clouds had already closed in. On reaching Repulse Bay, the rain set in and the RO reluctantly raised the AP postponement flag at 1025.

At 1100, what little wind there was fluctuated widely. With the breeze expected to fill in from the east, the RO asked the fleet to follow him towards Stanley where the new start line would be laid. Fortunately a 3-knot and building breeze filled in from the east and finally racing got underway with the warning signal for IRC 0 sounded at 1230.

Due to the late start and unreliable conditions, Johnston selected a short 11-nautical-mile course for everyone to Castle Rock, followed by a loop around the Tai Tam mark and back to Castle Rock, before finishing off Round Island, with the Chesterman Buoy dropped from both the outward and return legs.

At 1235 Ambush led over the line in the IRC 0 start whilst Blue Bunny brought up the rear, heading for a windward mark at 90 degrees, 0.3nm distant, which Ambush reached first.

The IRC 1 and 2 boats were more restrained in their combined start with Rampage leading IRC 1 at the pin end along with Legende (Dynamite 2) in IRC 2. At the committee vessel end, Wicked was early and obliged to restart. Arcturus beat Rampage to the windward mark.

Vixen and Jarrah had the best starts in HKPN A. Despite turning up, Legende II did not start due to rigging concerns.

On the gun, at 1250, Jibulai led the HKPN B fleet across the line with Shun Shui, Boss and Five O One close by.

Ambush reached Castle Rock  first and back to Castle Rock after rounding the Tai Tam mark, and finished in 1:19:04  to take the honours, win the IRC 0 series and the Tau Chau Cup. Blue Bunny finished 2nd in the race but, having missed Saturday, finished 4th in the series. Redeye finished 3rd on the day to claim 2nd in the series, while Intrigue’s 4th place gave it 3rd in the series.
Rampage led IRC 1 at Castle Rock and maintained its lead ahead of Jinn and Arcturus. Rampage also claimed the IRC 1 series and the Crystal Trophy, with Arcturus 2nd and Jinn 3rd.

The A35, Red Kite II, comfortably led the IRC 2 fleet around the course for line and handicap honours to finish with three bullets to take the series and the Lamma Channel Cup. Legende (Dynamite 2) finished 2nd in the race and 3rd in the series, while Calamansi finished 3rd in Race 3 and 2nd in the series.

The Salona 42, Jarrah, successfully carried its kite around Castle Rock on the return leg to lead the HKPN A fleet home but finished 3rd on handicap, beaten by both Zesst and XT on handicap. With two wins, Zesst claimed the series and the Pacific Cup with Generations breaking its tie for 2nd with Jarrah having won Race 1.

Finally, in HKPN B, Jibulai took line honours but was beaten by Shun Shui on handicap, Boss finished 3rd, as it did in the series. Shun Shu claimed 2nd in the series won by Jibulai for the Adamasta Channel Cup.

Having lost two hours at the start, the general feeling was that the race management team had done an excellent job under the circumstances. Patience had been a virtue . . .

No doubt when social distancing regulations are further relaxed the awards function will be held with gusto. Meanwhile most of the crews of the 29 competing boats were just happy to be back out on the water.

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