Summer Series 6

The prospects of a two-hour race followed by a leisurely, perhaps even longer seafood lunch, attracted 21 boats to enter Island Race 6 of the Aberdeen Boat Club’s (ABC) Summer Series 2023, held on Sunday the 13th of August 2023.

The Observatory’s forecast looked promising with Force 4-5 winds but the threat of showers was always going to be a dampner . . . and so it proved. 

In the absence of Alex Johnston and Jennifer Li, the ABC’s General Manager Philippe de Manny, assumed the role of race officer assisted by ABC’s Head Racing Coach Daniel Dolega.

Having once determined where the Lamma start line was the committee boat’s anchor was dropped in between Wong Chuk Kok and Yuen Kok. There a 9- to 10-knot southwesterly looked promising so a start line was set with no windward mark for the scheduled 1030 start.

Ahead, however, the sky was darkening and by 1007 a squall hit with rain and gusts of 19-20 knots and minimal visibility. There was a thunderstorm warning in place so the race officer had no choice but to hoist the AP postponement flag at 1015, to sit out the storm and hope for more suitable conditions.

Meanwhile, the wind had swung to 270 degrees so, with conditions stabilizing, a windward mark was set into the bay with a new start line.

With the AP lowered at 1044 the first warning signal was given at 1050 for the combined IRC start at 1055. This saw four IRC 1 boats with Jinn leading off the line at the pin-end, and three IRC 2 boats led by Zesst. The Swan 56 Parnassus was the first to round the windward mark and head for Cheung Chau Rock (Sham Shui Pai), passing the ABC Club Mark, demarcating the South Lamma Restricted Anchorage  Area, to port. The finish line for their race Course 44(L) was Yung Shue Wan, a distance of 13.6 nautical miles.

Unfortunately Jinn headed straight toward Yuen Kwok Light failing to round the windward mark before calling in to inquire whether a windward mark had been laid! The race officer had announced it at least three times, with Jinn subsequently being scored DSC for failing to sail the course.

At 1100 it was a clear start for the combined HKPN fleet, numbering nine HKPN A and five HKPN B boats. The J/80 Jahoo! had a good start beside the committee boat and led around the windward mark.

Unfortunately it was downhill from there with the breeze easing  as the fleet approached Yuen Kok Light, the ABC Mark  and South Lamma.

Having rounded the windward mark and passed the ABC Mark to port, the HKPN’s 11.6-nautical mile Course 44(S) was to take them to round P1 Buoy to starboard, before proceeding to the finish line at Yung Shue Wan.

By 1230 it was becoming obvious that the fleets would be struggling to complete the whole course. So the mark laying and media boat ABC 14, with Sai Fuk and FH on board, was told to shorten the HKPN fleet at the P1 Buoy. Meanwhile, the committee boat, Shun Fung, headed for Cheung Chau where de Manny shortend the course for IRC.

There Next took IRC 1 line honours in 2 hours 38 minutes and 28 seconds for 2nd place, beaten on handicap by Manbude. Neo One finished 3rd, while Parnassus, which sailed close to the P1 Buoy, suffered in the light airs and opted for lunch rather than continuing.

Zesst also retired leaving 2 Easy to claim line and handicap honours in IRC 2.

First to arrive in HKPN A at the shortened course finish line at P1 Buoy was Crystal  in an elapsed time of 3 hours 10 minutes and 10 seconds for 2nd place on handicap behind Daydream with Sea Eagle 3rd. Meanwhile Tipsy Easy, Jahoo!, JeNa PaBe and Five O One all retired, the latter two opting for lunch at Yung Shue Wan rather fighting the ebbing tide.

Boss, flying its colourful  pink kite, closed slowly on the P1 finish line to claim HKPN B line honours for 3rd on corrected. With the breeze slowly building the Japanese team on Water Rabbit claimed handicap honours with Easy Breezy II in 2nd.

With the IRC race finished the race officer on Shun Fung  took over recording finishing times at the P1 Buoy allowing Sai Fuk, on ABC 14, to help ferry sailors to the Sampan Restaurant at Yung Shue Wan.

After an elapsed time of 4 hours 9 minutes and 33 seconds, Voyages 88 finally finished for 4th on handicap in HKPN B.

During lunch at the Sampan Restaurant there was a surprise visit by the Marine Police complaining about parked yachts blocking access for the ferries. Seemingly documents were inspected before they eventually left.

Bottles of wine were presented to the winners and if not present the next in line who were.

The final island race Race 7 in the Summer Series 2023 is scheduled for the 27th of August 2023 with the series prize giving after racing at the ABC Middle Island Clubhouse.

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