Waglan 2

The skies were overcast but the wind was encouraging as seven IRC and seven PHS boats prepared for Race 2 of the Aberdeen Boat Club’s Waglan Series 2023-24. The committee boat dropped anchor  between Ocean Park and Round Island – a favoured area for club starts with plenty of space to lay windward marks.

The 12-race Waglan Series ends on the 24th of March next year and consists of four windward leewards and eight islands races, providing a balanced format and generally consistent winds thanks to the northeast monsoon. The series is popular among the more serious sailors and, in past years, some of the duels in the ever-competitive IRC 2 Division have been intense.

The club has introduced the PHS handicapping system (replacing HKPN) which promises to stir things up in the ‘cruiser’ section of the fleet. 

Race officer, Alex Johnston, selected Course 17 (L) for IRC and Course 17 (S) for PHS. This would take the faster boats out to Shek O Rock and back to a Tai Tam club mark before finishing off Round Island – a distance of 20 nautical miles. The farthest mark of PHS A and PHS B would be Fury Rocks, before a return past the Tai Tam mark and a finish at Round Island – a little more than 14 nautical miles. This would give everyone the opportunity to finish within minutes of eachother.

Fortunately, that’s how it turned out.

A windward mark, to be left to starboard, was laid at 055 degrees and 0.4 nautical miles distant.

The characteristically long start line was laid at 030 degrees, giving it a bias, and setting the stage for some lively manoeuvring in 12 to 15 knots of breeze.

Johnston was expecting 19 boats but some stayed away in preparation for the Round the Island Race the following weekend. He welcomed everyone at 1040 and announced that, because of some administrative issues, the traditional ABC gun would be replaced by a horn! In case of emergency, boats should ask for help on Channel 72 and the safety boat, ABC14, would be sent to offer assistance.

The two IRC divisions got away at 1000 and were soon rounding the windward mark. The PHS divisions started, somewhat slower than usual, but nevertheless without anyone being called OCS.
But after the windward mark, all four divisions ground to a halt. It took a while for the wind to return but, when it did, the boats were soon bowling along, past the Cheshire Home and out wide, away from the shore.

IRC sped to the Tai Tam Club Mark and on their way to Shek O Rock. What a pity Eddy Lee’s Next wasn’t there to challenge Stefan Fillip’s Neo One. Same Glenn Smith’s Wild Card. Ah well, there are always the scheduled two windward / leewards coming up on the 5th of November, racing south of Lamma Island. Let’s hope all 20 boats entered for the Waglan Series 2023-24 show up.

Winds blew fairly consistently around both courses and it wasn’t long before PHS speedster, DBX2, Boss, and regular campaigner, Five O One, had rounded Fury Rocks and were exiting the Beaufort Channel. With the finish line in sight, the leaders sheeted in their kites and some even resorted to headsail and main.

First to finish at 13:42:56 was DBX2. On handicap, though, Boss claimed victory in PHS A with Five O One in 2nd, and JeNa PaBe 3rd. Alfred Lau’s Easy Breezy II won PHS B with the French boat, Muxu, in 2nd and determined Japanese entry, Water Rabbit, in 3rd.

At about this, the leaders of IRC Division 1, Neo One and Arcturus+, burst out of the Beaufort Channel and sprinted to the Round Island finish. Neo One took line and handicap honours with Sunny Leung’s Manbude in 2nd and Dennis Chien’s Arcturus+ in 3rd. In IRC 2, Tiger Mok, helming 2 Easy, claimed handicap honours with Hennig Mueller’s Zesst in 2nd and Intrigue (with the 90-year-old Doc Nicholson on board) filled 3rd slot.

Races 3 & 4 of the Waglan Series 2023-24 will be held on Sunday, 5th November 2023.

Widget is loading comments...