Mirs Bay Race (almost)

Port Shelter, Mirs Bay and their approaches, provided the perfect playground for Day 2 (20.Jun.20) of the UK Sailmakers Typhoon Series 2020. Hong Kong government regulations, although fortunately relaxing and now enabling unlimited crew on board, curtailed plans for the usual Mirs Bay Race to Cham Pai Light, followed by the awards and BBQ party at Wong Shek, and the return pursuit race back the next morning.

A new Course #17 was added to the Mirs Bay Race roster, sailing through a gate, rounding Shek Ngau Chau (Gau Tau) and returning via the gate, passing the Basalt Mark to port and finishing at Table – a distance of 27 nautical miles. A shorter Course #18 of 14nm to the gate and back via the Basalt Mark (P) was also added, which HKPN A & B, the Sportsboats and J-80s tackled, while IRC A, B and C all set off on the long course.

The weather gods finally looking favourably on the series with clear blue skies and cotton wool puffs of cumuli over the islands and headlands, but the wind gods were in a mischievous mood.

In the seven-knot breeze the race officer, Bob Vart, and team set a windward mark at 180 degrees at a distance of 0.5nm. However, with barely 10 minutes to go the breeze eased and swung to 270 necessitating the relaying of the mark. The AP postponement flag was hoisted but once relayed the wind again swung back on which the RO opted to reset the 300-metre start line and eliminate the windward mark, and send the fleet straight out in the direction of Basalt Island.

First off at 1115 in a combined start were the seven IRC A and 11 IRC B boats with Xena a late starter. Outrageous, with David Witt on board, and Quest, were over anxious and obliged to restart.

Next off at 1120, also on the long course, were the eight IRC C boats and four Sportsboats on the short course.

Five minutes later the four J-80s joined the 16 HKPN A boats for their start on the short course. Bits & Pieces was a late starter but avoided the argy-bargy at the pin end where most had started.

Finally, at 1130, the 11 boats in HKPN B set off after a surprisingly disciplined start.

It was a colourful spectacle after Basalt as the fleet with their kites hoisted headed for the gate in the 11-knot southwesterly.
Most had no problems negotiating the gate although Pepper & Salt sailed well beyond before managing to drop its spinnaker. La Folia glanced one of the gate buoys as it rounded from the wrong direction and failed to exonerate itself and was expected to retire rather than face a protest.

In Mirs Bay, at Shek Ngau Chau, the assistant race officer, Inge Strompf, monitored the roundings. There, the 10-knot breeze continued to build to 16 plus knots. “The pollution-free environment made for a glorious day,” she commented.
The newly arrived TP52, Alpha+ (ex-Luna Rossa), made light work of the course, comfortably taking line and handicap honours in IRC A. Zannekin beat the TP52, Phoenix, for 2nd over the line but both lost out to Blue Bunny 2nd and Ambush 3rd on handicap.

Blackjack took line and handicap honours in IRC B with Daydream 2nd and Bad Idea Bears on Full Tilt 3rd on handicap.

Arcturus led the IRC C fleet home to also claim handicap honours ahead of Dexter II and Talkinghead. RB unfortunately sailed the short course instead of the long and retired, while Moll accidently passed the Basalt Mark to starboard instead of port and likewise retired.

In Sportsboats, Havoc took line and handicap honours with Good Vibrations 2nd and Furious One 3rd.

Footloose claimed the J-80 honours, leading both JeNaPaBe and Team Triton on Jive across the line.

The new Swan, Athena, took line honours and hung on to 3rd on handicap in HKPN A with Temujin 2nd and XT 1st.

Jibulai took line honours in HKPN B but dropped to 3rd on handicap with La Vida Loca 2nd and Scrumpy claiming the win.

Finally, after all the recent frustrations, champagne sailing for the 61 boats on the water.

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