Waglan 5

Warm but not hot; cool but not cold. Winds of between 12 and 15 knots, from 75 degrees, and patches of blue in the sky. All set for Race 5 of the Waglan Series 2022 on Sunday, the 27th of November.

Not the biggest of turnouts but the 14 crews circling the Aberdeen Boat Club’s committee boat, Shun Fung, off Middle Island, were cheerful and looking forward to ‘stretching their legs’ after the many shortened courses earlier in the series. Race officer, Alex Johnston, ably assisted by Jennifer Li and coxswain Dai Fuk, set about planning the day’s itinerary while, out on his sampan, Sai Fuk laid a windward mark close to Repulse Bay and a mark in the Beaufort Channel, off Tai Tam Bay.

The Outer Distance Mark for the start line was laid in towards Ocean Park and Course 20 (L) chosen for the two IRC divisions and Course 20 (S) for the two HKPN divisions. Johnston felt that a longer, rather than shorter, line was safer given the lively conditions.

On schedule, at 1055, the countdown for IRC began and, at 1100, the gun for the start was fired and seven boats got away cleanly into the 12-knot breeze. Juice made a good break further down the line but was soon chased down by Redeye and Juggerknot as they approached the windward mark. Missing from the line-up were prime series contenders Wild Card, Witchcraft, Neo One and Red Kite II – a pity as all would have reveled in the conditions.

From the windward mark it was south through the Chesterman Gate, then rounding Castle Rock, leaving Beaufort Island to starboard, out to TCS2, back around Waglan Island, leaving Sung Kong to port, around Castle Rock again, through the Chesterman Gate, with a sprint to the finish off Round Island. A challenging course with lots of work to be done over some 21 nautical miles. But the crews were up for it and Next and Redeye soon left the others in their wakes.

HKPN A & B were let go at 1105 and the big Beneteau 51, Legende II, slowly pulled ahead, although Boss and Five O One were not making it easy for Pascal Martin and his crew. HKPN followed a similar course to IRC but left out TCS2 and Waglan and, instead of Sung Kong, left Fury Rocks to starboard before heading for Castle Rocks (s) and through Chesterman Gate.

The wind held throughout the day and it wasn’t long before guns were sounding for line honours winners. First boat home was Legende II at 13:27:11, recording a 3rd in HKPN A behind Five O One and Boss. Next boat to receive a gun was Eddy Lee’s Neo Roma 430, Next, and its cast of thousands – the RO counted 16! On handicap, Next placed 2nd behind Redeye in 1st.

Ian Nicolson’s Intrigue took line honours in IRC 2 at 14:01:23 but had to accept 2nd from Juice on handicap. Ding Dong, despite being the last boat home at 14:24:37, placed 3rd.

Shun Shui got a gun for taking line honours in HKPN B and also claimed handicap honours ahead of Muxu. Conspicuous by its absence was the Japanese entry, Water Rabbit; likewise the classic Hans Christian 41T, Bowline.

Incidentally, HKPN A entry, Jibulai, retired after it was pointed out that singlehanding is not permitted.

The next race in the Waglan Series 2022 will be held on Sunday, the 11th of December.

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