Summer 5

Sunday, the 31st of July, was another scorcher, with temperatures in the mid-30s all around the territory. According to the Observatory, Hong Kong had experienced 10 days with temperatures of 35 degrees or higher and 21 hot weather warnings – the most ever for a single month.

In fact, the next day (1st of August) the Observatory was able to declare July 2022 the hottest month since records began in 1884.

There was little respite out on the water. At 0950, between Ocean Park and Round Island, the sea was flat calm and there was virtually no wind. Would race officer, Alex Johnston, abandon Race 5 of the seven-race Summer Series 2022?

Race 3 on the 3rd of July had already been cancelled due to Typhoon Chaba and another cancellation would be a big disappointment for the 30 boats that had entered the series. What to do? Raise the AP and wait?

Thankfully, by 1010, the wind had begun to fill in from the south, and Johnston felt confident enough to welcome the 23 boats that had gathered around Shun Fung, and confirm the 1030 start for IRC Divisions 1 & 2. Just in case there would not be enough wind, he decided on Course 33 (short) which consisted of a Round Island start, no windward mark, through a Chesterman gate, passing between Beaufort Island and Castle Rock, and a finish off the Tin Hau Temple on Po Toi Island. Distance – six nautical miles.

The pin was set towards the little island of Tau Chau and, at 1035 the countdown began for five IRC 1 and three IRC 2 Division boats. Next had a good start and so did the courageous Gambit close to the committee boat.

Next off was the eight-strong HKPN A fleet, together with seven HKPN B boats. J Chi, helmed by James Barker, slipped past Shun Fung’s boarding platform with inches to spare!

The breeze increased a knot or two and soon the boats were well on their way, passing through the Chesterman gate, staying clear of the Traffic Separation Scheme, and making for Castle Rock, quicker than expected. Race management had to move quickly to lay the finish line in time!

Within the hour, Eddy Lee and his crew on the new Neo 430, Next, stormed home in an elapsed time of 51 minutes and six seconds, with Stefan Fillip’s Neo One in hot pursuit.

On handicap, Next claimed the double in IRC 1, with Thierry Barot’s Intrigue in 2nd and Neo One, 3rd. IRC 2 was won by Nightshift, followed by the Archambault 35 Ocean’s Five and the venerable Gambit in 3rd.

HKPN A was won by an improved Crystal, followed by the J-80, JeNa PaBe and Thomas Wong’s Ding Dong in 3rd. The HKPN B Division winner was Stephanie Leung’s To the Moon, ahead of J Chi and – surprise, surprise – Water Rabbit in one hour, 32 minutes and 18 seconds! Last boat home was Triple A.

From the finish, it was a short hop to an anchorage in Nam Tam Wan and Ming Kee Seafood for prawns and beer, and delicious squid takeaway. At the mini-prizegiving in the restaurant, bottles of wine were awarded to Next, Nightshift, Ding Dong and Rhye & Rue.

The next race in the Aberdeen Boat Club’s Summer Series 2022 is scheduled for the 14th of August.

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