Monsoon Winter 6

Like the previous Saturday, dark clouds greeted the competitors as they ventured out into Port Shelter for Race 6 of the Monsoon Winter Series 2022 but this time there was plenty of wind. Up to 12 knots coming from the north, or from 350 degrees to be more precise.

During the midday race management briefing on Saturday, the 3rd of December, there had been talk of various island courses such as 92, 95 and 101 but, in the end, race officer Rob Allen decided to wait until a wind reading had been made off Steep Island so he could make a final decision.

Hebe One set off from the Hebe Haven Yacht Club at 1230 and, about halfway across Port Shelter, circled for a while before dropping anchor in 17.3 metres of water. Again, to be precise, the exact position of the committee boat was N 22° 20.244’ E 114° 17.461’.

Wind reports began coming in from the support boats and the RO was able to make his decision on where the two divisions and one class would be sailing : Course 59 for the faster boats and Course 33 for HKPN and the J/80s.

The somewhat depleted IRC division – from five entries to two – consisted of Talkinghead and X-Terminator. They would sail around a Club Mark, Bluff Island, Steep Island, a Ma Tsai Pai Mark and Table Island, with a finish off Little Palm Beach. A support boat was sent to Steep to lay a mark and the E flag was raised on the committee boat, together with a green flag indicating that the mark should be passed to starboard. Distance for Course 59 is 13 nautical miles and the RO anticipated both IRC contenders would be home in two hours.

Course 33 for the 14 HKPN boats and three J/80s took in Bluff Island, an Inner Port Shelter Mark, Trio, Ma Tsai Pai and a finish at Little Palm Beach. With a distance of approximately 11 nautical miles, the ‘slower’ boats were expected to complete their racing in just over two hours.

At 1345, VHF Channel 27 crackled into life with the RO welcoming all yachts and announcing the courses for Day 4 of the Monsoon Winter Series. He pointed out that there would only be one start, a change from the usual two starts for the two divisions. A windward mark was laid in the direction of Sai Kung town and, at 300 metres distant, would provide a challenging beat before the boats headed out of Port Shelter in 10 knots of breeze.

At 1350, the orange flag was raised and, at 1355, the countdown began. At 1400, the fleet crossed the line, apart from Happy King which had issues, ending up trailing the others and, ultimately, being scored NSC (Not Sailed Course) and earning itself the sobriquet, Unhappy King!

Zoe, with its colourful hull graphics, did well around the windward mark but then had kite problems and went off in the direction of the University. Eventually, the crew got themselves together and the new Hanse 370 re-joined the fleet, finishing 11th on handicap at 16:43:09
Under grey and overcast skies, the competitors enjoyed good sailing with one or two soft spots.

But, for most of the time, it was 10 knots and there was no need to shorten course. On station off Little Palm Beach, Hebe One gave line honours winner, Minnie the Moocher a horn for taking one hour, 49 minutes and 21 seconds to complete its course. On corrected in HKPN, Minnie placed 3rd behind Coral Harbour and No One Else. Jibulai – this time with a crew – finished 4th while newcomer, Adagio, was last home in fading light at 17:22:49.

The J/80s were won by Alex Chan and crew in Jelik 6, with Baring Asia 1 in 2nd and Jive, 3rd.
There was some doubt whether the two IRC boats had rounded the Steep mark correctly and X-Terminator protested. But it turned out that X-Terminator was actually in the wrong and, realizing its error, did the decent thing and retired. Thus, Talkinghead took line and handicap honours in the IRC division.

With Day 5 of the Monsoon Winter Series 2022 approaching, and after six races in the eight-race series, Talkinghead has an unassailable lead in IRC. Races 7 & 8 will decide the hotly contested J/80 class, while the top five places in HKPN are up for grabs – AmaZe, Ichiban, Bucephalus, Minnie and MoHan are the ones to watch!

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