Waglan 3 & 4

The series takes its name from the iconic lighthouse on Waglan Island, which commenced operation in 1893. Although now automated – and despite the widespread use of GPS – the light still offers a warm welcome to seafarers sailing into Hong Kong's eastern approaches.

Inaugurated during the 2004-05 sailing season, the series was the brainchild of Aberdeen Boat Club rear commodore sailing at the time, Barry Hill. It quickly gained popularity and now regularly attracts 20 competitive entries who do battle in the challenging southeastern waters of Hong Kong. Not surprisingly, many of the courses used in the series include the enigmatic Waglan (Wang Lan) Island as a mark of the course.

Incidentally, in 2000 the Waglan Lighthouse was declared a national monument. It is one of five surviving pre-war lighthouses in the territory and has a beam of 24 nautical miles. The light itself is housed in a distinctive red and white, 16-metre-high cast iron tower while the surrounding buildings have had many functions over the years. Waglan has been used as a radar station, an aviation traffic control point, a base to collect weather information for the Observatory, while Cable & Wireless has maintained and serviced all radio equipment in the facility. In August 1989, the light became fully automated.

Waglan – both the island and the installation – have played an important part in Hong Kong's maritime story and it is fitting that the Aberdeen Boat Club uses the name for one of its signature yacht racing events. In short, Waglan is a great choice of name for a great, club series.

And, on Sunday, the 5th of November, Races 3 & 4 of the Waglan Series 2023-24 got going with an address by the race officer, Alex Johnston, at 1040. There would be two windward / leewards for the six IRC and five PHS entries, starting at 1100. Johnston reminded the sailors again at 1050 that, due to technical reasons, sound signals would be made with a horn, not a gun.

In glorious conditions, IRC got away cleanly to be followed five minutes later by the PHS boats. Five O One and Shun Shui had issues on the line with Five O One ending up doing two 360s before setting off in hot pursuit of the other boats.

Glenn Smith's Wild Card led the IRC boats and, after two laps, scored a 1st on handicap ahead of Stefan Fillip's Neo One. In the IRC 2 fleet, 2 Easy (ex-Arcturus) put in a convincing performance to win on handicap ahead of Zesst and Intrigue. Incidentally, the 90-year-old owner of Intrigue, Dr Ian Nicholson, was on board to give moral support.

The two PHS divisions started at 1105 and there were some spirited duels as the boats approached the top mark in the lumpy seas. Winds ranged from 8 to 12 knots and it wasn't long before Boss finished at 12:42:01 to claim line and handicap honours in PHS A. In 2nd was John Berry's Five O One.

In PHS B, Felix Mak did well to take line and handicap honours in Shun Shui, followed by the French boat, Muxu, and last but not least, Water Rabbit.

In the second start, for Race 4, the wind died and it took a while for the two fleets to get going. But, once again, Wild Card showed its competition a clean pair of heels to win line and handicap honours in IRC A. Neo One placed 2nd.

IRC 2 saw a change of fortunes with Intrigue claiming top spot and 2 Easy relegated to 2nd. Zesst placed 3rd.

PHS A was won, again, by Boss with Five O One in 2nd. In PHS B, Water Rabbit (surprisingly) came 1st ahead of Shun Shui and Muxu.

The Waglan Series comprises 12 races over 10 Sundays, including two mini series between October and December 2023, and February and April 2024. The next race in the series – Race 5 – is scheduled for the 19th of November 2023.

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