Typhoon Series 2019, Races 3 & 4

A Hong Kong summer can throw up all sorts of testing conditions, particularly along the territory’s eastern seaboard. So it proved for Races 3 and 4 of the UK Sailmakers Typhoon Series 2019.

Whilst it appeared sunny venturing out into Port Shelter, the reality was quite different. The wind swung during the day from 195 to 250 degrees and fell from a high of 14 knots to barely five. One minute it was bright sunshine, the next it was drenching rain as squalls swept the fleet.

Race 3 was the first of two windward / leewards with the top mark set at 1.3 nautical miles and the shorter mark at 1.1nm at an angle of 195 degrees, positioned in the vicinity of the University of Science & Technology.

First off at 1100 were the eight IRC A and eight IRC B boats. Both Ambush and Lighthorse Alpha+ paid the penalty of being on-course-side (OCS) and were obliged to restart. Next off were the nine IRC C boats and six Sportsboats with Hotwired amongst the frontrunners. Ding Dong was shut out at the committee boat end and had to come around to make it across the line. Eight HKPN A yachts and seven J-80s followed before the last start, comprising seven HKPN B entries.

On the downwind approach to the finish, Frank Pong’s Jelik overhauled Baring Asia 1, only to have its massive kite pierced (above) by the little J-80’s mast. Jelik’s spinnaker disintegrated and, by the time the crew had things under control, the TP52, Phoenix, had slipped by and seized line honours . . . by just two seconds! Ironically, Baring Asia 1 was one of two J-80s recently donated by Pong to the HHYC.

Meanwhile, the Magic 25, Gnarwhal, opted to retire having failed to round the offset mark at the top of its course.

It was a thrilling finish for the IRC C and HKPN A boats as the breeze kicked in and Gambit, Talkinghead and Amaze, amongst others, surged and careered to the line.

With the race over relatively quickly, the race officer, Inge Strompf, reset the course to 220 degrees with marks at 1.15nm and 1nm, wishing later that she had been able to set longer legs. However, this time, for Race 4 in the series, she gave IRC A and B three laps with two for the rest.

XT turned up for Race 4 making a total of 54 boats racing for the day.

Two boats retired – Avant Garde with an injured crew and Whiskey Jack losing a man overboard, apparently during a gybe.

After a final squall the wind eased to barely five knots not making it easy for the trailing boats.
Racing was all over by 1415 followed by a relatively early prize-giving in the Hebe Haven Yacht Club’s Garden Bar, where Jeremy and Tiffany Koo, representing UK Sailmakers, presented the awards.

In IRC A, Seawolf took the handicap honours in both races with Phoenix 2nd in the first and Mandrake III 3rd. Lighthorse Alpha+ finished 2nd in Race 4 with Ambush 3rd.

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