Monsoon Spring Series 2020, Races 7 & 8

Despite the best efforts of race officer, Eric Tomter, and his team, the weather gods did not look kindly on the last day of the San Miguel Monsoon Spring Series 2020, Races 7 & 8 (and the full Monsoon Series 2019-20).

There had been two days of racing in March before the lockdown for Covid-19. Then, in April, two race days were cancelled and the committee decided on the 30th of May to stage Races 7 & 8 to conclude the series.

But, on Saturday, the 30th of May, conditions were far from favourable as dawn broke with rain (amber) and thunderstorm warnings in effect. Elsewhere, the Cruiser Owners’ Association Summer Rally and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s Tomes Cup were postponed.

Having held only three of the four required races to make the Monsoon Spring Series, the race management was keen to hold at least one race to complete the series. This would also allow the results to count as the third event in the Monsoon Series 2019-20.

There was little change in conditions when the race management team assembled on the committee vessel at Hebe Haven Yacht Club at 1230 with the thunderstorm warning signal having been extended to 1430. With safety the major concern, the AP postponement flag was raised ashore. Meanwhile, race management headed out into Port Shelter to appraise conditions, whilst several crews adjourned to the Garden Bar.

By 1330 the skies were brightening. A 3.4-knot southeasterly had arrived and two boats, Amaze and Talkinghead, had ventured out.

At 1400 with no signs of thunder and the breeze building to six knots, Tomter, decided to go for it and lowered the AP flag, giving the competitors one hour to reach the start area.

Briefly at 1455 the sun broke through but, at the same time, the breeze began to soften as the start sequence commenced.

With four of the 18 IRC entries and seven of the 14 HKPN boat showing up the RO opted for a combined start on a two-lap windward / leeward with the outer mark at 0.8nm for IRC and 0.65nm for HKPN, both at 140 degrees.

Temujin close to the committee boat took an early lead followed by H3O and Blu at the pin end, but then the wind shut down and Lazy Piggy and Amaze struggled to cross the start line.

Although not competing in the Spring Series, four J-80s made it to the start area as a farewell race for 10-year old Felix Mulder, a promising Optimist sailor and member of the Hebe Dragons sailing team. His family is moving to the Netherlands and the race gave other team members an opportunity to experience keelboat racing.

Somewhat unfortunately, the J-80s start coincided with the wind shutting down. Storm clouds were building over Clearwater Bay and, wisely, two minutes into their starting sequence their race – and racing for the day – was abandoned for everyone.

After three races in the Monsoon Spring Series Blu, Talkinghead and Ambush were lying  1st, 2nd and 3rd in the series while Lazy Piggy, Bucephalus and LoTech were 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in HKPN. However, without a fourth race it all counted for nought.

In the Monsoon Series 2019-20 with the Spring Series not being completed it was initially considered that only the results for the two previous events – the HHYC’s Monsoon Winter Series and the RHKYC’s Spring Cup – would count. Consequently, using the Cox-Sprague calculation system, Talkinghead was lying1st, X-Terminator 2nd and Outrageous 3rd out of 13 IRC entries. Windseeker was placed 1st out of the 21 entries in HKPN with H3O 2nd and Lazy Piggy 3rd.

As explained later by Tomter, though, in the Notice of Race for the Monsoon Series 2019-20, Clause 7.2, it specifies: ‘Each race sailed will earn points towards the Monsoon Series’.

Therefore, allowing for the three races sailed in the Monsoon Spring Series resulted in the following outcome  for the Monsoon Series 2019-20. In IRC Talkinghead remained in 1st place with X-terminator still 2nd. Outrageous, however, slipped to 4th with Blu claiming 3rd. In HKPN, Windseeker retained its 1st place while Lazy Piggy leapfrogged H3O into 2nd place, relegating H3O to 3rd.

Given the health restrictions in place, there was no awards function, but the sponsored San Miguel was still greatly appreciated back at the Garden Bar.