Spring Regatta 2019

The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s annual Spring Regatta was held over the weekend of the 11th and 12th of May to officially close the club’s 2018-19 sailing season.

Eighty-eight boats (88 being a very auspicious number in Chinese culture) signed up for the two days of racing with one race held on Saturday and two on Sunday. Each race had nine separate starts.

The bulk of the entries were one-design classes – Dragons, Etchells, Flying Fifteens, Impalas, J-80s, Ruffians and Pandoras. The rest comprised four sportsboats and 26 big boats (with the big boats being split into three divisions).

Race 1 on Saturday kicked off under blue skies and a decent breeze; starting off at 7 to 8 knots in the harbour area and further east blowing 8 to 10 knots. It then built to 14 knots and race officer, Barry Truhol, extended the courses a little. He was hoping to have the boats out racing for around two hours.

Six race tracks in the eastern portion of the harbour were utilised and a longer course was set for Big Boat Division 1 which took them out of the harbour towards Siu Sai Wan and back.  All finishes converged back in the harbour at the same point between North Point and Kai Tak.

Sailors returned on Sunday hoping for more of the same conditions and, whilst the wind was evident, it was proving to be difficult. Truhol said: “The third race was especially difficult because the wind dropped and so we set shorter courses and then the breeze picked up and everyone finished at around, or ahead of, the two-hour mark where I had been aiming for a bit over two hours. Otherwise, apart from the issues one has to deal with having that number of boats on the water, it was a fantastic weekend.”

In the Etchells fleet, Mark Thornburrow helming Racer X maintained his top position throughout the weekend with a 1st, 4th and 1st place finish in his three races.
Frederic Azemard made top slot in the Dragons. Sailing Wudi, Azemard scored three bullets over the weekend and commented: “The conditions were probably the best we have ever had at a Spring Regatta. Great weather, good wind, some tactics as it was a little shifty with a current, but we really enjoyed it."

The regatta brings to a close another season with the club’s rear commodore sailing, Lucy Sutro, saying: “We have had a record number of boats participating in most of our events. If I had to pick some highlights these would be the China Coast Regatta (some great racing for the big boats), Ladies Helm (a record number of female helms) and finally Hong Kong Race Week.”

Looking forward, Sutro added: “Next season we see the return of the Rolex China Sea Race, our blue-ribbon offshore race, where we watch with interest to see if the record set at the last race will stand. We will be introducing a new format for the Class Regatta, details to be finalised, so watch this space.”

The prizegiving was held on Sunday late. RHKYC commodore, John Woo, said: “It takes approximately 20 volunteers each day to make the Spring Regatta possible by helping with race management, safety and protests. I thank them all for giving up their valuable time to ensure the success of the event.

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