Kowloon Cup

With the winter monsoon affecting coastal areas of southern China, sailors were looking forward to a challenging islands course on Day 1 of the Kowloon Cup 2023. On the dock, aboard the committee boat, Hebe One, race officer Simon Jones and his assistants discussed wind readings sent in by the club’s reconnaissance team and considered various course options, including a geometric, if there was a risk of the wind dying later in the afternoon.

From the club, a bank of fog could be seen covering the entrance to Hebe Haven. Would this ‘burn off’ by the scheduled 1400 start?

As Hebe One sailed out into Port Shelter on Saturday, the 14th of January, there were genuine safety concerns as visibility was down to about 30 yards. Nevertheless, the sky above was blue so management was confident that conditions would improve. But, they didn’t and, at 1330, the AP flag was raised on the committee boat.

An hour later, with visibility improving, the RO announced Course 32 for all boats and began the countdown at 1430. At 1440, a fleet of 21 boats sailed away in just over 4 knots of northwesterly breeze, Talkinghead and Outrageous in the lead.

The course would take in a club mark, then a Port Shelter Mark laid in open water, then a port rounding of Trio Island, a starboard rounding of Table Island, a Cascade Bay Mark and finally a finish off Little Palm Beach. Covering 11 nautical miles, the RO calculated that most would be home by 1700. Turned out he was right.



But not before he decided to shorten course. Progress had been slow and a finish at Table Island made a lot of sense. So, Hebe One dropped anchor and it wasn’t long before the front runners were approaching the line under kite.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Talkinghead and Minnie the Moocher both crossed at 16:06:21 but, the RO declared, Minnie was inches ahead and, thus, line honours went to Bridget Chan and crew. But Joe Leung and crew can be pleased that Talkinghead placed 2nd on handicap, ahead of Minnie and behind consistent performer, No One Else.

In 4th place came Goddess with Maiyo Hood at the helm, and in 5th, the seniors on X-Terminator with Juliet Ashton calling the shots. Orca this time put in a controlled performance with Mark Houghton advising and Andrea Sangiorgi driving the big Hanse to a improved 8th place.

Last boat home was Coral Harbour at 16:56:56 while four boats – Saphira, Happy King, Scrumpy and Modesty Blaise – retired.

The forecast for Sunday, the 15th of January 2023, was Force 4 and even Force 6 at times, with the arrival of a cold front and temperatures as low as 11 degrees. The difference on Day 2 of the Kowloon Cup 2023 was that racing would be in ‘pursuit’ format. The course would take the 21 boats through Rocky Harbour to a ‘sausage course’ and, following as many laps as possible before a 1400 cut-off, a dash to the Yau Ley Seafood Restaurant for a prize-giving, all under the watchful eye of David Rule (aka Cabbage).



First away at 0956, in 5 knots of breeze, was Modesty Blaise, next Scrumpy, then Coral Harbour and, at 1022, Cynthia Law’s RB.

At midday, things began to change. The temperature dropped and winds rose to 15 knots, with gusts of 23. Wild conditions for those doing their ‘sausages’ with the time limit fast approaching!

The finishing order for the second day of the Kowloon Cup 2023 was much changed. In 1st place came Orca, with the crew of Bits & Pieces on board and a confident Italian owner at the helm.

Outrageous, with club general manager, Paul C Arkwright on board, placed 2nd, Manbude (ex-Kingsman) took 3rd with No One Else in 4th.

Regular high achievers took a beating, though. Talkinghead finished 7th, X-Terminator 10th, Minnie the Moocher 15th and Ichiban second to last. Saphira, again, retired.

The prize-giving at the famed Yau Ley Seafood Restaurant started at 1530. Overall winner of the two days’ racing was No One Else. Older readers will remember that No One Else also claimed overall victory in the Kowloon Cup 2020. Bottles of wine and calendars were awarded and the restaurant issued vouchers to 1st, 2nd (Orca) and 3rd (Talkinghead) places. Soon after 1600, with the cold beginning to bite, crews headed back to their boats and thus ended an enjoyable Kowloon Cup 2023.

 
   
 
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