Summer Saturday 6

Conditions seemed relatively benign as the committee boat, Hebe One, left Hebe Haven Yacht Club soon after midday, on Saturday the 17th of July 2021, in preparation for the start of Race 6 of the Peroni Summer Saturday Series 2021.

Having dropped anchor in the middle of Port Shelter, a better than expected 12-knot easterly was blowing through the Cascade Bay gap. However, by the time the fleet had assembled, for the first of three starts at 1400, the breeze had eased to 10 knots.

Given the prevailing conditions, the race officer, Rob Allen, opted for a somewhat ambitious 19-nautical-miler around the islands for IRC and a 13-miler for the rest.

First off, heading for a short Club Mark at 70 degrees, to be rounded to starboard, were the nine boats in IRC with H3O, Arcturus and Kiasu! leading over the line, and the short-handed RB bringing up the rear.

The breeze had picked up to 13.5 knots for the second start involving two Sportsboats, five J-80s, 10 HKPN boats and the one short-handed division boat, Miss LeVa. The Magic 25, No Rush, led the Sportsboats, Eliza Yeung’s Baring Asia 1 the J-80s and Ricochet led the HKPN fleet over the line. A third Sportsboat, It’s My Pleasure, arrived late and missed its four-minute starting window.

Finally it was the turn of the seven Shelter Cove Dragons. The yellow hulled Minion was over eager and obliged to restart, while Eaux Vives led the rest of the boats off the line.

By 1420 the sky was brightening with the breeze relatively constant between 11 and 12 knots from 100 degrees. Unfortunately it was not to last.

Having cleared the Club Mark, the fleet headed for a starboard rounding of Basalt Island. The majority of boats chose to take Bluff Island to starboard first, while Kiasu! and Moll passed through the channel leaving Bluff to port. Although bringing up the rear it seemed to pay off for Kiasu!, which ultimately beat X-Terminator by 65 seconds on handicap in IRC.

Outrageous led the IRC fleet around Basalt before hoisting its kite and heading for a port rounding of Trio. There it was overtaken by H3O which was able to take advantage of its asymmetric kite.

They then headed for a port rounding of Steep, taking South Nine Pin to port and returning to Table, where the course was shortened. H3O hung on to its lead to take line honours but dropped to 2nd on handicap behind Goddess. Outrageous claimed 3rd on corrected.

For both Moll and RB the course was too long with both retiring having no hope of completing the race before the 1830 cut off. The breeze had eased to 5 to 6 knots around 1600 and continued to decline.  “We would have needed 15 knots to have had any chance of finishing,” commented Philip Bowring skipper of Moll.

The other classes, having rounded Basalt (s) and Trio (p), headed for a port rounding of the new Inner Port Shelter Mark before also completing their races at the shortened finish line at Table.

Good Vibrations took the Sportsboat honours beating No Rush by 42 seconds across the line.

Team Pak Kong Au, on the J-80 Baring Asia 2, was involved in a tussle with Baring Asia 1, after which the latter retired. Baring Asia 2 went on to take the honours ahead of Mozzie. It was a particularly exciting finish between Edmond Yew’s Jazz and Tommy Tang’s Jive with Jazz finishing 3rd by just one second.

Best performance of the day came from Ricochet in HKPN with their secret weapon ‘Jamie McWilliam’ aboard. Normally an all-women crew, they took full advantage of the additional weight and skill to comfortably take line and handicap honours, finishing over 20 minutes ahead on corrected.

AmaZe beat LoTech to the line but finished tied for 2nd on corrected. Not a good day for Ichiban, which finished 7th and last on handicap after Fuzzy Duck, La Folia and Mystique all retired. Whilst rounding the Inner Port Shelter Mark, Ichiban touched but managed to complete a penalty turn while still flying its kite! According to skipper, Robert Cook, “The best part of the day was crossing the finish line, turning on the music, opening a beer and tucking into the lemon drizzle cake.”

At least the sole double-handed Miss LeVa was given the same course as the HKPN fleet but struggled in the dying breeze.

Of the seven Dragons, only Arrow retired with Dragonfly taking the honours ahead of Eaux Vives and Kam Loong. Shiva was the last boat home at 18:18:18.

“Unfortunately the wind failed us” concluded Rob Allen.

Once again there was no prize-giving but back at the Garden Bar the cooler box was replenished with the sponsors Peroni beer, until hijacked by the crew of Outrageous.

Geometric races 7 & 8 are scheduled for Saturday the 31st of July 2021.

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