Mirs Bay Regatta Pursuit Race 2020

The Mirs Bay Regatta is open to all boats with an HKPN rating and usually comprises a race to Mirs Bay, an overnight stay with BBQ and awards party at Wong Shek, and the Pursuit Race back to Table Island just outside Port Shelter.

Unfortunately the current health crisis required a change of plan for this year’s event. The first race on Saturday, the 20th of June 2020, saw the IRC A, B and C fleets sent off on a 27-nautical-mile voyage to Shek Ngau Chau (Gau Tau) and back, whilst the HKPN fleets, J-80s and Sportsboats were sent to the intermediary gate and back — a 14nm race, the latter qualifying as the first leg of the Mirs Bay Regatta.

With the fleet not staying overnight in Mirs Bay, a replacement ‘Mirs Bay Regatta Pursuit Race’ was selected from the HHYC Standard Sailing Instructions.

Considering the champagne sailing conditions on Saturday, and predictions of similar for Sunday, the 21st, the race officer, Chris Howarth, selected Course #47 sending the entries around a short 300-metre windward mark at 220 degrees, out to Table (s), around North Nine Pin (p), East Nine Pin (p), followed by Basalt and Bluff both to port, back to Table (s), finishing at Little Palm Beach.

First off after its two-minute warning signal was Scrumpy at 0924 in the six-knot breeze, swinging 220-240 degrees. After rounding the mark, it was up with its colourful orange and black spinnaker for the run out of Port Shelter. La Vida Loca followed on port tack, at 0942, only to announce about an hour later that it was retiring. Raptor and Foxzhead (ex-Banter) followed at 0958 and 1004 respectively, with the wind having strengthened to nine knots from 225 degrees.

Despite its name, Jibulai (No Need to Rush) got the better of Windseeker in their combined start at 1006. The breeze then eased as Ichiban, at some distance from the line on port tack, and LoTech approached the line when a 10-knot gust accelerated Ichiban towards the mark and closed the gap with LoTech.

It was then realised that the mark had drifted so, once Lisa Elaine and Athena had rounded after their starts at 1028 and 1032, it was returned to its original position.

Team Triton on the J-80, Jive, off at 1034, negotiated the relayed mark without difficulty, but Rampage, next away at 1038, was confused by a similar mark laid by the RHKYC for its Dragons race. But, just in time, Rampage managed to round the correct one and set off to chase down the leaders.

The Hebe Dragons on the J-80, Jazz, were late arrivals, setting off almost 20 minutes after their scheduled start. They had some problems dropping their kite in the vicinity of Basalt and Bluff but survived to tell the tale and bring up the rear.

Conditions off the Nine Pins and Basalt were exhilarating with Scrumpy still leading, as it also was leaving Bluff and Rocky Harbour. Jibulai was lying 2nd having already overhauled both Raptor and Foxzhead.

Jibulai continued to make ground, overtaking Scrumpy to take line honours in 2 hours and 43 minutes for the 20nm race. LoTech also made significant gains to finish 2nd with Scrumpy deservedly 3rd.

It was a spectacular sight watching the Swan 53, Athena, as it closed the finish, unlike others, successfully carrying its asymmetric until after the line (when its halyard finally gave way).

Rampage was less successful in its approach and, struggling with its kite, lost out for 6th place to Raptor by 37 seconds.
Given the goal of finishing racing at around 1400, Jazz finally crossed the line at 1352, ensuring the race management volunteers had diligently and successfully completed their mission.

With no awards function (because of the virus) the Garden Bar at Hebe Haven Yacht Club was relatively quiet with Ichiban the only complainers, suggesting they would have liked another eight nautical miles in the awesome conditions!

In determining the winner of the combined two races, making up the Mirs Bay Regatta, in Race 1 Athena placed 3rd and was best-placed of the 13 boats joining the pursuit race and given one point, Scrumpy placed 4th and given two points, and Jibulai 6th for four points.

When consolidated with Sunday’s results all three were tied on five points.

With Jibulai having won the last race it was declared the regatta winner and will be presented with the Philip Boothroyd Countess Trophy at the overall series prize-giving of the UK Sailmakers Typhoon Series 2020. Best-placed Athena in Race 1 was placed 2nd, while Scrumpy claimed the final podium position.

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