Monsoon Spring 1 & 2 re-sail

Labour Day, the 1st of May 2021, saw the re-sail of Races 1 & 2 of the San Miguel Monsoon Spring Series 2021, and concluded not only this year’s Spring Series but also the Monsoon Series 2020-21.

Unfortunately, Races 7 & 8, held on the 17th of  April 2021, had to be abandoned due to lack of wind and, with no further opportunity to re-sail, only two island and four (rather than six) geometric races were held. This meant just  one discard after six races, instead of two after eight.

Earlier in the week, forecasts of Force 2 for the weekend were reviewed with concern.

“Thought we’d all be back in the bar by 1500,” commented Rob Allen, Sailing Centre manager of the Hebe Haven Yacht Club.

However, conditions were looking more promising as the committee boat, Hebe One, with the RO and his assistant, Queenie Ho, and a large team of volunteers, headed out into Port Shelter at 1230.

A windward / leeward course for IRC was set with the top mark at a distance of 0.8nm and the inner mark for HKPN at 0.6nm, both into the sea breeze at 140 degrees, with the leeward mark off the bows of Hebe One.

First off on schedule at 1400, in a 12-knot breeze, were the 10 boats in IRC, on three laps of the courseZannekin led off the line, after a close encounter with H3O running down the line.

Ben Harding of Zannekin opted for ‘words afterwards’ rather than pursuing a protest.

Talkinghead led the rest of the fleet at the committee boat end with much shouting at the rear of the fleet, but fortunately no major incidents.

With both the Dragons and Sportsboats again not taking part, next off in the 11-knot breeze were the 10 competing HKPN boats, along with a Hebe Haven J-80, Baring Asia 2, out to give its crew race experience.

Bucephalus led the Hebe Dragons’ J-80, Jive, over the line whilst Scrumpy, Temujin, AmaZe, Lazy Piggy and Ichiban followed in procession for their two laps of the shorter course.

After the first lap, the TP52, Alpha Plus, had already taken the lead ahead of the Ker 46, Zannekin, and the MAT 1180 (Mod), Quest, with the Bashford & Howison 36, Talkinghead, the best of the rest in IRC.  Wicked, approaching the leeward mark, was forced by three other boats rounding the mark to sail beyond the mark and then tack back to round correctly to port.

Bits & Pieces led the HKPN fleet after the first lap. It got quite congested at the windward marks particular for the HKPN fleet with boats approaching from both port and starboard.

There AmaZe struggled to hoist its colourful orange kite, as did Scrumpy, which ultimately reverted to its headsail before heading to the finish line.

During the race, the breeze continued to ease, shifting more southerly. This impacted the slower boats in IRC which were faced with a third lap of the longer course. This meant the race officer was obliged to reset the windward marks for Race 2, but still leaving them at the same distance.

With the HKPN fleet all having completed their two laps in less than an hour, they were first off in Race 2. There was much bunching towards the committee boat end as the start line pin had not been adjusted. Lazy Piggy led Bits & Pieces off the line but was soon overhauled by AmaZe.

For the IRC start, the outer distance mark was reset and Alpha Plus led off the line, opting for its favoured pin-end. Again, there was much congestion in the middle with Zannekin and Blu coming very close. However, because of the easing conditions, the course for IRC was reduced from three to two laps.

Bits & Pieces again led the HKPN fleet around the leeward mark followed by LoTech, which then struggled to lower its kite. Alpha Plus had also built up a significant lead in IRC on its rounding.

At the end of the day in IRC, Zannekin won Race 1 finishing 2nd behind Alpha Plus in Race 2, which won line honours in both. Quest claimed 3rd in Race 1 with the MC31, H3O, 3rd in Race 2.

Appraising the results later, representatives from both Outrageous and X-Terminator felt the IRC fleet should, in future, be split into two divisions. This might also have the added effect of encouraging greater participation, as it was harder for the older boats to compete against, for example, a 2018 model TP52.

In HKPN Bits & Pieces took line and handicap honours in both races with LoTech also 2nd in both. Bucephalus finished 3rd in Race 1, one second ahead of the Hebe Dragons on handicap. Lazy Piggy finished 3rd in Race 2, 24 seconds ahead of AmaZe on corrected.

Zannekin, with eight points, held a one-point advantage over Alpha Plus in overall in the San Miguel Monsoon Spring Series 2021. Blu finished 3rd, one point ahead of Ambush out of the 12 entries in IRC.

LoTech, with two bullets in its six races, won HKPN overall, holding off a late challenge by Bits & Pieces in 2nd, which finished with three bullets in its last three races. Ichiban finished 3rd out of the 16 entries in the Series.

The Sportsboats and Dragons, having completed only three and two races respectively, failed to complete the Series requirement of four races.

Magnanimous in victory, Zannekin’s Ben Harding had much praise for the event. Earlier restrictions on sailing had seen the break-up of many teams whilst this Series had allowed them to come together again and get some useful practice in preparation for the season ahead.

With social distancing regulations still being enforced, no prize-giving was held but bottles of sponsored San Miguel helped crews celebrate the conclusion of a well-run San Miguel Monsoon Spring Series 2021.

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