Summer Saturday 7 & 8

Conditions were not looking promising on Saturday, the 29th of July 2023, for the final day of the Habsberg Asia Company Limited Summer Saturday Series 2023.

A thunderstorm warning was in effect along with a red rain storm  warning signal. Race officer, Bridget Chan, and assistant race officer, Kelvin Woo, decided to hoist the AP postponement flag, keeping everyone ashore, and review the situation again at 1030. Fortunately, at 1010, the red rain storm warning was downgraded to amber, but the thunderstorm warning stayed in place.

Club support staff were sent out to appraise conditions in Port Shelter and beyond. Reports relayed back of 7-8 knots near Table looked promising so, at 1123, the AP flag was lowered and the committee boat, Hebe One, headed out in search of a suitable race track.

The anchor was finally dropped south of Shelter Island and a simple windward / leeward course laid. The outer windward mark for IRC was at 0.7 nautical miles, and 0.6 for the HKPN boats and Dragons on an axis of 100 degrees.

The AP was still hoisted on the committee boat which allowed the course to be laid properly . . . and gave a handful of stragglers to arrive in time.

The AP came down at 1309 and, first off at 1315, were the five IRC boats followed five minutes later by 13 HKPN boats. At the request of the Dragon fleet their start was then postponed to 1337, to allow two more Dragons to arrive under tow, making eight boats in their Class.

Conditions were light with a 4- to 5-knot breeze but shifting more southerly as the fleet completed their two laps.

With Race 7 over, the race officer was keen to complete a second with the possibility of a third to compensate for the postponed Race 3, affecting all classes and the abandoned Race 6 for HKPN and the Dragons. This would allow at least IRC the possibility of two discards after completing eight races in the Series with only one applying after six or seven races.

Then the breeze swung southeasterly and the windward marks were relayed at 120 degrees.

First off, again at 1440, was the IRC fleet in 4.2 knots with the HKPN and Dragon fleets again following at 5-minute intervals in over 5 knots.

In IRC, the Cape 31 Out of Africa dominated racing and claimed line and handicap honours in both the day's windward /leewards. The A35, Dexter II, finished 2nd in Race 7 and 3rd  in Race 8, despite having been caught OCS in the latter and having to restart after circling the committee boat. The A40RC, Ocean's Five, finished 3rd and 2nd respectively. Arcturus+ must have had a guilty conscience in Race 8 as it also restarted!

In HKPN’s Race 7, neither Happy King nor Ichiban did themselves any favours with kite issues at the leeward mark, either stalling or carrying on well beyond the mark.

The Series was affected by the weather this year with the light conditions on the day making it impossible to run at third race. So, ultimately only one discard was applicable in all classes.

Out of Africa finished with six bullets and was able to discard its 3rd place in Race 1 to claim the IRC Series, Dexter II finished 2nd, while the delighted skipper and crew on Ocean's Five filled the  3rd spot.

The J/80 Class was combined with the HKPN Division and the light conditions favoured the J/80s and the VX One Sportsboat, Serendipity. Serendipity took line honours in both, finishing 4th in Race 7 and 2nd in Race 8 on corrected. The J/80 Baring Asia 2 claimed handicap honours in Race 7 with the J/80s Jazz – Team Buckshot 2nd and Harpseal 3rd.

Baring Asia 1 – PSC 1, a J/80, claimed victory in Race 8 with the Beneteau 44.7, Harpseal, 3rd.

Unfortunately the fickle conditions meant the HKPN and Dragon fleets only completed six races  with only one discard applying. Serendipity won the Series with Harpseal 2nd and Jazz – Team Buckshot 3rd.

In both Dragon races Dragonfly had good starts running the line on port tack before flicking over onto starboard for the start and managing to avoid the rest of the fleet. Mei Fei, however, came out on top in Race 7 beating Dragonfly by 18 seconds, which beat 3rd-placed Eaux de Vives by just 2 seconds.

In Race 8 Dragonfly finished 1st with a comfortable lead, with Mei Fei 2nd and Eaux de Vives 3rd.

Unlike the rest of the Dragon fleet Ken Wong and crew of Mei Fei were on hand for the day’s prize giving and were delighted with their recent improved performance.

With three bullets and two 2nd places Dragonfly was able to discard its 6th place in Race 4 to claim the Series. Consistent results of two 1st places two 2nds and two 3rds gave Mei Fei 2nd place with Eaux de Vives 3rd.

Several crews returned to the Garden Bar for the day’s prize giving, where there was a great rush for the sponsored ice cold Weinstephan beer, when the cooler bins were opened.

The organizers and sailors enthusiastically downed their Weinstephan beer, the oldest beer in the world dating from the year 1040 and even earlier, provided by the sponsors, Habsburg Asia Company Limited.

The Series prize giving will be held in conjunction with the Series awards for the UK Sailmakers Typhoon Series 2023 on Saturday, the 26th of August 2023.

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