Summer Saturday Series 1 & 2

The weather forecasters proved mostly accurate on Saturday, the 4th of June, for Day 1 of the Hebe Haven Yacht Club’s Peroni Summer Saturday Series 2022.

The southwesterly breeze of 10 to 16 knots, with gusts of 20 plus, provided challenging conditions for some of the rusty crews, a result of restrictions on competitive sailing during the recent lockdown.

Race officer, Rob Allen, assisted by Sara Houghton, Queenie Ho and several volunteers, set up the first of two geometric races inside Port Shelter. The outer top mark was set at 0.9 nautical miles for the IRC fleet and 0.7 nautical miles for the HKPN and Dragon fleets at 200 degrees heading between Little Palm Beach and the University.

A number of boats that would normally have joined the race had problems raising crew and, in the case of team ‘Ricocephalus’, saw the crew of Ricochet tie up with Bucephalus on Ricochet with Simon Lynch at the helm.

First off on schedule at 1400 were the five IRC boats with the MC31, H3O, and the Italia Yachts 9.98, Blu, leading off the line, followed by the Beneteau First 34.7, Goddess. Slower off the line, the TP52 Alpha Plus then powered its way through H3O and Goddess.

The new MAT 1245, Arcturus+ , brought up the rear,tacked on to port early, and made gains with the 20-degree wind shift. However, it later retired during the first lap.

The nine HKPN boats followed five minutes later with the new Fareast 28R, Happy King, in its red livery, the B32, Bits & Pieces, and the Beneteau First 35, AmaZe, leading off the line. The J-80, Jazz, the Beneteau Oceanis 40, LoTech, and the Dufour 31, Mystique, brought up the rear.

On the first downwind leg, Happy King almost broached while Jazz and its young crew had problems lowering their kite, and sailed well beyond the leeward mark. They were not the only ones with Ricochet likewise having problems retrieving its kite, and having to gybe back from near the committee vessel to round the mark.

Five Dragons, from Shelter Cove, made up the third start with Dragonfly leading off the line and around the course, flying its colourful orange kite on the downwind legs in the 10 to 12-knot breeze gusting 16 at the top marks in the fluky conditions swinging between 190 and 220 degrees.

With Race 1 completed the pin end of the start line was moved forward by 20 metres before the IRC fleet again started first in Race 2 at 1510. Alpha Plus was best placed at the pin end chased by H3O. A powered-up Arcturus+ demonstrated an impressive levelof speed as it overhauled the rest of the pack.

Alpha Plus took IRC line and handicap honours in both races. Blu finished 2nd on handicap in both.

Goddess claimed 3rd in Race 1 and Arcturus+ 3rd in Race 2.

Race 2 for HKPN followed at 1515 with the Ricochet and Happy King leading over the line. Ichiban, Bits & Pieces and LoTech followed in close quarters with quite a lot of shouting audible! The gremlins were seemingly at work aboard Ichiban with numerous breakages including their downhaul, a jib sheet and their bimini. The venerable Beneteau retired along with Ricochet which again suffered kite dropping problems.

Bits & Pieces found the conditions challenging, particularly in choosing the right suit of sails, but managed two line honours, hitting 7.5 knots downwind, winning Race 1 on handicap and finishing 2nd in Race 2. LoTech, with Gaston Chan helming, took handicap honours in Race 2 and finishing 3rd in Race 1.  Lazy Piggy claimed 2nd in Race 1. Happy King made a competitive debut finishing 4th in Race 1 and claimed its first podium finish with 3rd in Race 2.

Mystique received a round of applause from the committee boat as it completed its second race finishing 6th in both.

The Shelter Cove Dragons followed in their second race at 1520 with Dragonfly continuing its dominance with particularly close racing between Kam Loong and Fei Chi. At the end of the day Dragonfly finished with two victories with Mei Fei two 2nd places. In Race 1 Kam Loong beat Fei Chi by 14 seconds. Positions were reversed in Race 2 with Fei Chi claiming 3rd by just 1 second.

Arrow brought up the rear in both races and still enjoyed the outing, and at least turned up for the prize-giving, where the sponsored Peroni was the tipple of the day.

Conditions meant the five-day series got off to a cracking start. Hopefully lessons will have been learned and skills enhanced in preparation for Day 2 and Island Race 3, on Saturday, the 18th of June 2022. See you there!

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