Waglan 6

The Observatory predicted ‘North Force 4, Force 5 and occasionally up to Force 6 offshore’ and that’s how it turned out . . . for most of the Sunday, the 11th of December 2022. Blue sky at the start but, by midday, cloud and haze. Still, the wind was enough to keep everyone moving and only three IRC boats took longer than four hours to finish their course.

Of the 27 listed entries, 18 boats showed up for Race 6 of the Aberdeen Boat Club’s Waglan Series 2022-23, and 18 boats finished. Many carried on to enjoy the après-race Commodore’s Drinks party at the club’s Middle Island facility.

The committee boat, Shun Fung, was on station at 1000 and support staff, Sai Fuk in his P4 sampan, laid an ODM in the direction of Ocean Park and positioned a windward mark at 010 degrees, 300 metres in towards Middle Island.

For all four divisions, race officer Alex Johnston, ably assisted by club general manager, Philippe de Manny, chose Course 22. The faster boats would sail the ‘Long’ version of the course, covering 23 nautical miles, while the slower boats would follow the 15-nautical mile ‘Short’ version. The RO’s thinking was to have everyone home within four hours.

During his VHF welcome at 1030, Johnston was interrupted by the countdown of a nearby Flying Fifteen passage race and a J/80 class championship southeast of Lamma Island. Together with the kayaks and assorted dinghies, there were a lot of sailors out on Sunday, the 11th of December, enjoying the conditions.

Incidentally, regular series contestant, JeNa PaBe, the only J/80 in the Waglan Series, chose not to compete in the J/80 event and – loyal to the cause – turned out for Race 6 instead. Juggerknot, confused, asked the committee boat what course it should sail, to which the assistant race officer replied, “Long”. Its next question was time of race start, to which the answer was an equally flat, “Soon”. Juggerknot sailed away, still confused.

At 1055, the countdown for IRC 1 and IRC 2 began. At 1100, the gun sounded and eight boats crossed the start, Arcturus+ in the lead. Five minutes later, HKPN A and B started with 10 boats jockeying for position in a lively start. Brave Muxu held its own, even with the 51-foot Beneteau, Legende II, looming over its transom. Jibulai, in 10 knots of breeze with a full crew this time, led the way to the windward mark, across Repulse Bay and past the Cheshire Home. Easy Breezy II was the last boat to start.

Off Stanley, it went light. Barely 5 knots. Some of the slower boats started to struggle. They kept moving, but only just.

Out in front, Arcturus+ was having a great time, rounding Castle Rock, a Tai Tam Club Mark, and heading out past Cape d’Aguilar for Shek O Rock. The HKPN boats left out Castle Rock and instead passed the Tai Tam Club Mark and sailed for Fury Rocks.

At this point, the RO had thoughts of finishing everyone at Castle Rocks. IRC still had to round Sung Kong, Waglan and Po Toi, but the wind seemed to be holding to the east. The problem was how long it was going to take the HKPN fleet to get back to the finish at Round Island.

So, as a compromise, he decided to shorten course at Chesterman Buoy. With Legende II fast approaching Castle Rocks, Shun Fung powered up and made for Chesterman with Sai Fuk quickly laying the finish line while Legende II approached rapidly.

Line honours went to Legende II, Philippe Grelon at the helm, at 13:46:05. Two minutes later, Jibulai finished. Almost an hour later, Arcturus+ came storming home to take line honours in IRC 1.

On handicap, Arcturus+ won IRC 1, with Redeye 2nd and an unusually slow Next in 3rd. IRC 2 saw Jinn win the day, with Intrigue in 2nd and Andy Pidden’s Juice in 3rd.

A sterling performance by Five O One saw it take HKPN A, ahead of blowers daughter and Boss.

Muxu and its happy crew won HKPN B, with Shun Shui taking 2nd and latecomer Easy Breezy II in 3rd.

Race 7 in the Waglan Series 2022-23 is scheduled for the 15th of January 2023.

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