Summer Series 2023, Race 5

Given the anticipated light winds and the high ebbing tide, one course for all was chosen in the vicinity of Bluff Head Light and Castle Rock for Race 5 of the Aberdeen Boat Club’s Summer Series 2023.

Starting in the usual area between Round Island and Repulse Bay, the course took the fleet past to the Tai Tam Club Mark (s), around Castle Rock (s), back to the Tai Tam Club Mark (s), and back to Castle Rock where the race was shortened for all. Tables for the seafood lunch were pre-booked at Po Toi.

With the ABC’s utility boat Shun Fung out of commission the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s Hector Ross had been made available as the committee boat.

With his normal assistant race officer, Jennifer Li, on leave (although remotely helping with results) the race officer, Alex Johnston, was relatively short-handed on Hector Ross, although ably assisted by Dai Fuk and two boat crew from the RHKYC.

With barely four knots, Johnsyon avoided laying a windward mark allowing the fleet greater leeway in escaping Repulse Bay and Round Island.

At 1030 the four IRC 1 and one IRC 2 (Zesst) hit the line with Neo One and Parnassus leading the pack.

Five minutes later, with the breeze now six knots from 135 degrees, the eight HKPN A and four HKPN B boats followed. In HKPN A the J/80 Jahoo! was almost OCS but just dipped back in time to avoid a penalty, whilst Easy Breezy II led HKPN B off the line. Having signed up late for the race, Triple A brought up the rear.

In IRC, the Neo Roma 430, Next, was the first to round the Tai Tam Club Mark followed by the Neo 400+, Neo One, the Sydney 38, Manbude, the Sunfast 3600, Zesst, and Parnassus.

The J/80 Jahoo! was the first HKPN A  boat to round the Tai Tam Club Mark and head for Castle Rock chased by the Beneteau Oceanis 331, Crystal, and the Beneteau First 40.7, Sea Eagle.

On the horizon a rain storm was visibly approaching and reached the Tai Tam Club Mark just as the Jeanneau SO 409, Boss, the Beneteau 43, Five O One, and the Dehler 42, Triple A, closed on the mark adding some thrill to their roundings as the breeze gusted 16 knots. The rain had intensified drenching the crew on the Beneteau Sense 46, Generations, as they rounded as well as the media and Sai Fuk on the runabout.

Neo One was the first to cross the shortened finish line in IRC 1 to take line and handicap honours. Parnassus beat Next on handicap for 2nd. Manbude retired shortly after the passing of the storm.

Zesst took the daily double in IRC 2.

To much celebration, Jahoo! comfortably took the gun for line and handicap honours in HKPN A. Sea Eagle finished 2nd with Crystal 3rd on corrected.

Five O One and the J/80 J Chi both retired, the former particularly struggling against the tide in the lighter airs that prevailed after the storm.

The last six boats to finish also struggeled before a 6-knot breeze kicked in to see them home.

Having persevered, Water Rabbit claimed line and handicap honours followed by Shun Shui and Easy Breezy II 3rd.

A misunderstanding by Daydream saw them initially attempt a second rounding of Castle Rock before being guided by Johnston to the finish line. However, on their approach they went too close to a squid boat, briefly snaring its anchor before fortunately freeing itself.

After a particularly challenging Race 5, the race officer  was pleased that 14 of the 17 entries had finished.  Bottles of wine were then delivered to the revellers on Po Toi where prizes were awarded to at least those crews in attendance.

Race 6 in the Series continues on Sunday the 13th of August 2023 with the final Race 7 on the 27th of August 2023.

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