Monsoon Winter 4 & 5

Dark clouds covered Port Shelter on Saturday, the 26th of November, as 17 yachts assembled for Races 4 & 5 of the Monsoon Winter Series 2022. Worse, though, was the wind . . . barely 1 knot of it, 20 minutes before the IRC countdown. Oh dear.

Race officer, John Ashford, welcomed everyone and announced there would be two geometric courses for both the IRC and HKPN fleets. Everyone would sail Course 2 but the top A1 mark for the faster boats, set at 88 degrees, would be at 0.45 nautical miles. The slower boats would have their windward mark, A2, set a little shorter at 0.4 nautical miles, also at 88 degrees. Not very encouraging for the competitors but a sensible decision by the RO given the conditions.

Ashford advised that the awards ceremony would be on the balcony back at the Hebe Haven Yacht Club and took the opportunity to thank sponsors San Miguel, Coopers Beer and Auld Family Wines for their support of the series.

At 1350, instead of an orange flag, a red & white postponement pennant was raised.

At 1400, the wind came back, briefly, and a speed of 4 knots was recorded. But the wind was swinging significantly and a direction of 40 degrees was recorded.

At 1420, with the wind from 110 degrees and the marks reset, the RO decided to go for it. A horn was sounded and, at 1425, the countdown for IRC began. With the wind easing to 3.6 knots, the four entries got away into a southeasterly that was blowing from 120 degrees. Sadly, Outrageous, turned up but, when the AP was raised, called it a day.

Next came the lively J/80 fleet and the stalwarts of the club’s racing scene, the HKPN boats. By now the wind had swung further to 130 degrees with Jive and Minnie the Moocher easing ahead in the 3.3-knot southeasterly.

The wind remained light but consistent in strength and the IRC boats did their two laps in good time. Ocean’s Five took line honours in an elapsed time of 42 minutes and 21 seconds. The order changed a little on handicap with Talkinghead at the top of the leader board, Ocean’s Five 2nd and Bob Vart’s X-Terminator in 3rd.

The J/80s, being a one-design class, saw line honours winner, Jive, winning the day with Jazz in 2nd and Jelik 6 in 3rd.

In HKPN, Bridget Chan’s Minnie the Moocher took line honours after 41 minutes and 22 seconds and also cleaned up on corrected with a time of 35 minutes and 29 seconds. In 2nd came an improved AmaZe followed by the club veterans in Bits & Pieces. Sailability boat, the Solaris 40, MoHan, also put in a good performance to record a 4th on handicap. Newcomer, Zoe, a Hanse 370, didn’t finish.

Anxious to maintain momentum, and concerned the wind would disappear completely, the RO went straight into the starting sequence for IRC, Race 5, at 1540. There was talk of shortening from the committee boat but all boats were told, nevertheless, to round the bottom mark. The RO would make his decision from wind readings taken from around the course.

The wind briefly increased to 5.3 knots at 1545 as the IRC fleet got away. Five minutes later, the J/80s and HKPN boats followed. There was some tension on the line as Ichiban and Bucephalus tried to avoid the J/80, Baring Asia 1, which was OCS. In the circumstances, Baring Asia 1 had to restart but missed the starting window by 2 minutes and 55 seconds, and was blown out of the race.

After just one lap of the course, horns were soon sounding for the finishers. Talkinghead claimed line and handicap honours in an elapsed time of 36 minutes and 15 seconds. Less than three minutes later, X-Terminator finished, followed by Ocean’s Five.

X-Terminator had an issue with the race officer for giving outside help to Talkinghead and crossed the finish line flying a protest flag on its backstay. A protest is pending.

Billy Ling, helming Jazz, cleaned up in the J/80 class and Ichiban took line and handicap honours in HKPN. In 2nd came Simon Lynch’s Bucephalus and in 3rd, in an elapsed time of 38 minutes and 56 seconds, MoHan. This time, Zoe, showed great improvement and finished a respectable 8th.

The final race in the Monsoon Winter Series will be held on Saturday, the 10th of December 2022.

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