Typhoon Series 2019, Race 8

“12 knots, gusting 20,” was heard on the committee boat as it nosed out into Port Shelter on Sunday, the 18th of August 2019. “Give the faster boats Course 94 which takes in TCS1. Twenty-six nautical miles so they can stretch their legs.” Very promising . . . even though the clouds were darkening over Clearwater Bay and Sai Kung.

Well ahead of time, anchor was dropped just to the east of Shelter Island and the race management team prepared for the scheduled islands race. Then the wind started to die . . . barely 2 knots, sometimes nothing at all.

But, with 55 boats milling around, the race officer, Bob Vart, was anxious to get things moving. A new and slightly shorter course of 23 nautical miles (#98) was decided on for IRC A and B. All other divisions and classes would sail Course 99. This consisted of a club mark, Bluff Island, Table, Bluff, Table and a finish off Little Palm Beach – 16 nautical miles.

A windward mark was laid at 235 degrees, a few hundred metres distant and quite close to the shore of Shelter Island.

After a short delay, the nine IRC A and eight IRC B boats crossed the line at 1105 in a tight start with Rampage II just ahead. An encouraging wind line was visible beyond the windward mark and, after rounding, the faster boats raised their kites and powered away to Steep Island and on to the East Nine Pins.

Then came IRC C at 1110 with Red Kite II showing everyone a clean pair of heals, followed by arch rival Dexter II. Veteran campaigner, Moll, although out for the day, did not start. The six Sportsboats, too, took off in the same start.

Next away were the six J-80s and seven HKPN A boats at 1115 and, finally, the 10 slower HKPN B entries. Slower, maybe, but no less vocal in their calls for water at the mark!

At this point, the land started to ‘disappear’ as a white wall of rain advanced from the southwest. There were strong gusts and crews struggled to control their kites and make headway.

The rain continued but, the good news was that the wind had risen to 8 knots and higher around most of the course. Out in the distance, Phoenix and Lighthorse Alpha+ sped across the horizon towards Basalt Island, followed not long after by the mid-fleet rounding Bluff.

The rain continued and so did the wind, cooling the hardworking sailors!

Just after one o’clock, the TP52 Phoenix came flying towards Table Island hotly pursued by the Ker 46 Lighthorse Alpha+. It stayed that way till Phoenix took IRC A line honours at 13:15:07 with Lighthorse a minute behind – exhilarating stuff! In 3rd was Zannekin at 13:19:35.

In IRC B, John Currie’s Blackjack took both line and handicap honours followed by the Dubois 43, Outrageous. Crystal was 3rd and Juggerknot 4th.

In the competitive IRC C division, Red Kite II crossed the line at 13:25:51. Snapping at its heels was Dexter II, barely two minutes later. The order was the same in handicap, with Gambit 3rd.

The Sportsboats were won by star performer, Hotwired, and the J-80 Class saw Baring Asia 2 beat Footloose on both line and handicap honours.

Sailing well and enjoying a favourable rating, Jibulai won handicap honours in HKPN A ahead of Sunny Lo’s LoTech and Amaze. Typhoon Series stalwart, Temujin, filled 4th place.

In HKPN B, No One Else got around the course quickly to take line honours at 14:08:28 but ended up 6th on handicap. Simplicity’s steady performance won it handicap honours ahead of Raptor and Gecko. Despite trying very hard, Baby Beluga and Seahorse were struggling to clear Bluff Island and decided to retire.

On the committee boat, there was concern for Kiasu! and Intrigue plus. Neither had recorded a finish and calls over Channel 72 were not answered. Hmmm, naughty, specially since it was later discovered that one was in the bar and the other went to Po Toi for lunch.

The final race of the UK Sailmakers Typhoon Series 2019 will be Race 9 on Saturday, the 24th of August 2019.

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