San Miguel Monsoon Spring Series 2020, Race 3

It was a damp, grey afternoon on Saturday, the 21st of March 2020, as the committee boat ventured out into Port Shelter “with the mist rolling in from the sea” for  Day 2 and Race 3 of the eight-race San Miguel Monsoon Spring Series 2020.

The forecast was for the breeze to fill in and die off by 1600 but, as the anchor was dropped between Shelter and Table Islands, this was not looking promising.

Fortunately, around 1330 a light 5- to 7-knot southeasterly began to fill in, oscillating between 80 and 110 degrees. This at least gave hope for the race officers, Nigel Slattery and Eric Tomter, to get racing underway settling on the shortest of island courses – Course 31 measuring 10 nautical miles for IRC. For HKPN, Course 30 eight nautical miles.

At the 1355 warning signal for the four IRC boats, the breeze was still fluctuating between 4 and 6 knots. Unfortunately despite shouts of “No room” from Blu, X-Terminator attempted to squeeze through beside the committee vessel and bumped into Blu. Recognising they were in the wrong, X-Terminator immediately exonerated itself by completing two penalty turns.

Meanwhile Zannekin was already taking a commanding lead, rounding, to starboard, the short windward mark.

Ten of the 11 boats in HKPN were in close proximity to the line for their start at 1405, with Bucephalus, Temujin and Lazy Piggy initially best placed. In the distance a beleaguered Ichiban was approaching out of the mist followed by an appeal over the radio from the skipper and outgoing Hebe Haven Yacht Club rear commodore (sailing), Simon Jones, to keep the line open. Considering the circumstances the ROs duly agreed.

But, as the fleet rounded the windward mark and headed for Table Island the wind eased, leaving most of the fleet struggling to make headway. The IRC boats Zannekin, Blu, Talkinghead and eventually X-Terminator managed to escape the hole and rounded Bluff Island before heading for Bay with the intention of returning via Table and finishing at Little Palm Beach. However, in the fickle conditions, the committee boat set up a shortened course finish line at Bay Island. Zannekin comfortably took line honours finishing at 15:32:52 but was relegated to 3rd on handicap behind Blu and Talkinghead. X-Terminator finally finished 4th . . . nearly 90 minutes behind Zannekin.

Without the need to round Bluff, the HKPN fleet, when they finally escaped the hole at Table, headed straight for Bay where again their race, much to the relief of all the crews, was also shortened.

LoTech managed to escape the hole first to claim line and handicap honours followed by Lazy Piggy in 2nd.  Amaze finished 3rd, which resulted in a 4th on handicap, beaten by 50 seconds on corrected by Bucephalus. Temujin beat Windseeker over the line by eight seconds but positions of 5th and 6th were reversed on handicap. Ichiban was the last to finish at 16:51:48 with Scrumpy having retired. In the provisional results Karina was scored DNE (disqualification not excludable) as the race officers had no record of them calling in to retire. However, other participants indicated they had heard them announce their retirement.

Patience was indeed the order of the day but at least another race in the series was completed and justified the trip through the mist for those boats venturing out from Hong Kong Island to Sai Kung.
The prize-giving was held back at the Garden Bar where thirsts were again quenched by the sponsored San Miguel beer and for the winners assorted bottles of wine.

In addition a presentation was made to the outgoing rear commodore (sailing), Simon Jones and his wife Carol, after a 30-year involvement with the club. Commodore Don Johnston thanked Simon for his contribution, while Simon handed over the rear commodore (sailing) position to Adam Glendinning.

Racing in the San Miguel Monsoon Spring Series 2020 continues on Saturday the 28th of March 2020, with Races 4 & 5 (two geometrics).

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