Summer Series 6

Race 6 of the Aberdeen Boat Club’s Summer Series 2021 was an islands race, held on Sunday, the 1st of August 2021. Winds were light – between 5 and 7 knots from 230 degrees – as the committee boat arrived in the starting area outside Tung O Wan. Still, the day had just begun and, if the dark rain clouds over Lantau stayed where they were, there was a strong possibility that winds would increase in the open waters between Lamma and Cheung Chau.

And they did.

Race officer, Alex Johnston, chose Course 44A for the two IRC divisions and HKPN A, which meant a start southeast of Lamma, passing a club mark to port, a starboard rounding of Cheung Chau Rock and (hopefully) a run to the finish off Yung Shue Wan on the northwestern tip of Lamma Island, a distance of 13.6 nautical miles.

For HKPN B, it was Course 44B – a start southeast of Lamma, pass a club mark to port, rounding P1 Buoy to starboard and a finish off Yung Shue Wan. About half the distance of the other divisions at 6.9 nautical miles.

At 1010, the RO welcomed everyone over Channel 72 and reminded the fleet that there would be tables reserved at the Sampan restaurant in Yung Shue Wan and that everyone was welcome. After all, that is what the club’s Summer Series is all about – manageable courses, competitive racing and good food at one of Hong Kong’s cherished island seafood restaurants.

At 1025, the five-minute gun sounded for the 12 boats in IRC 1 & 2 and eight in HKPN A.

Now, for those who follow local racing, the presence of Juggerknot and Red Kite II on the same start line means drama. And so it was at the committee boat end as Juggerknot tried to squeeze in ahead of Red Kite II but ended up having to bail out with metres to spare, only to find itself in the same position with Nightshift and having to bail out again . . . with metres to spare! Oh dear, not a good day for the J-111.

Over the line, Neo One and Intrigue were looking strong and led the fleet along the southern shoreline of Lamma into a building breeze.

The five boats in HKPN B got away at 1035 to sail their shorter course. In the background, the unmistakable Jockey Club Huan, stood by. A large aluminium Chinese sailing junk, the Huan is operated by the charity, Adventure Ship. It is designed to take underprivileged children and people with disabilities to sea and experience the joys of life afloat. No doubt those on board on Sunday were entertained by the antics of the 25 sailing boats nearby.

At this point, 15 minutes into the race, the wind had increased to 12 knots and all boats were making good way. The IRC leaders had passed the club mark and were reaching across open water to Cheung Chau Rock, no kites flying as the wind was on the beam.

At 1140, Shun Fung made it to Shek Kok Tsui beacon with the IRC leaders visible in the distance, raising their kites for the run to the finish. But wait: approaching the committee boat from port came the Beneteau, Crystal . . . about to take line honours! How could that be?

They had sailed the shorter course and, of course, didn’t get a gun. Coming past the committee boat, the RO informed them they had sailed the shorter course and, to the crew’s credit, they turned back and sailed off for Cheung Chau Rock and to complete their course. That’s the spirit, guys.

Likewise the J-80, JeNa PaBe. They, too, turned back for Cheung Chau Rock and completed their proper course.

Long course line honours went to the speedy Neo One at 11:57:10, followed by Intrigue with Thiery Barot driving. But, on handicap the order was Intrigue, Jinn and Redeye in IRC 1.

Minutes after Neo One came Nightshift to win IRC 2 on handicap, followed by Red Kite II and the venerable Gambit, Keith Mowser on the helm.

HKPN A was won by Happy Ours with the French boat, Ocean’s Five, in 2nd and Eddy Lee’s colourful Generations in 3rd. Witchcraft and Legende II did not compete.

Jibulai, sailing the shorter course, finished in an elapsed time of 11 hours and 50 minutes to take line and handicap honours in HKPN B. Five O One placed 2nd, Shun Shui placed 3rd.

Last home was Ben Chong and crew on JeNa PaBe in two hours, 42 minutes and one second.

After finishing, hungry crews sailed into Yeung Shue Wan – in pouring rain – for a seafood lunch at the Sampan restaurant.

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