Monsoon Winter Series 2020, Race 3

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon as Hebe One dropped anchor in Port Shelter in preparation for Race 3 – an islands race – of the Monsoon Winter Series 2020. With tropical cyclone Atsani steering clear of Hong Kong waters, the stage on Saturday, the 7th of November, was set for reasonable sailing conditions.

Racing through the northern Kau Sai Chau Channel in the summer months is restricted by Marine Department. However, the northerly 8- to 10-knot breeze gave the race officer, Rob Allen, assisted by Hebe Haven Yacht Club’s rear commodore sailing, Adam Glendinning, the opportunity to set a clockwise course partly circumnavigating Kau Sai Chau Island.

The 0.3-nautical-mile start line was set slightly off centre in Port Shelter, to allow a longer beat to the club mark set due north at 0.8 nautical miles. The finish line was at Ma Tsai Pai, off the bottom of Kau Sai Chau, which allowed the crews of both Windseeker and Ichiban to head on to Causeway Bay for the Around the Island Race the following day.

First off on schedule at 1400 were the two IRC boats, with Talkinghead leading Outrageous over the line. Eight followed in the combined second start for HKPN and Sportsboats. Ricochet was the only Sportsboat participating and was shut out at the committee boat by Bits & Pieces, itself having to pause to slot in behind H3O, which crossed in the lead.
Once around the club mark, it was a broad reach across to the channel between Sharp Island and Kau Sai Chau, where the beating continued, although in more sheltered conditions. Outrageous led the fleet out of the channel, taking the green beacon to starboard, before enjoying a 2nm broad reach to the West Sea Cofferdam at High Island.

Several boats opted to sail close to the shore of Sharp Island but none closer than Ichiban, which briefly ran aground at the northern end. It managed to extricate itself and continue on but, in the meantime, was overhauled by Windseeker. At the tail end, Scrumpy still led LoTech.

Upon reaching High Island it was up with kites, still with Outrageous leading Talkinghead in IRC, and Bits & Pieces leading H3O in HKPN. It was a speedy downwind run to take Bay Island to starboard before finishing just south of the Ma Tsai Pai light.

First home in IRC was Outrageous to take line and handicap honours ahead of Talkinghead. Bits & Pieces led the HKPN class across the line but dropped to 5th on handicap, with Windseeker claiming those honours ahead of Lazy Piggy and Ichiban. LoTech managed to catch Scrumpy but still finished last on handicap. The all-women team on Ricochet performed well to finish 3rd across the line from the combined fleet in the second start and claim the Sportsboat honours.

While numbers were down it was not unexpected, due to the deliveries and anticipated exertions expected for Sunday’s circumnavigation of Hong Kong Island. However, those that did join had a great sail and a pleasant change of scenery.

The happiest face of the day was of Hebe One’s coxswain, Mikey, on learning he only had three marks to lay – the start and finish line pins, and a windward mark.

Credit to those who did participate before delivering their boats to Kellett Island. Sadly, they weren’t missing much back at the Garden Bar as, again, there was no prize-giving.

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