Waglan 7

Conditions were mild as the committee boat made its way through the breakwaters of Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter South, and turned left before dropping anchor not far from Repulse Bay. The forecast for Sunday, the 15th of January 2023, was for a cold front to arrive during the day, winds to increase and temperatures to drop dramatically.

At 1030, with an ODM laid at 200 degrees and a windward mark some 400 metres distant, race officer Alex Johnston welcomed all boats to Race 7 of the Waglan Series 2022-23. He announced that Course 17 had been chosen for everyone – the two IRC divisions would sail the long version which took them through a Chesterman Gate, past a Tai Tam Club Mark, around Sung Kong, out to Shek O Rock, back through the Beaufort Channel (Sheung Sze Mun), again through the Chesterman Gate and to a finish off Round Island. At 20 nautical miles in length, a good ‘stretch of the legs’ for the 15 faster boats.

The 13 boats in HKPN A and B, would sail around Fury Rocks instead of Sung Kong and leave out Shek O Rock, making their course considerably shorter at 14.6 nautical miles.

Not long after the RO’s welcome, the weather began to change. Quickly.

As the orange flag was being raised, the wind increased to 12 knots and white caps appeared all around. At the five-minute signal, there was a good 15 knots blowing from the northwest. Boats jockeyed for position and an exciting start ensued. Driving hard, Wild Card and Arcturus+ crossed on the gun with Intrigue and Redeye in close contention. Witchcraft, with Nick Burns driving, wasn’t far behind while Arcturus brought up the rear.

Good to see Wicked back on the course but sad to see Eddy Lee holding back with an inexperienced crew on Next. Also disappointing was the absence of the DB boats Neo One and Juggerknot; Jinn, Red Kite II and Ocean’s Five didn’t make it either. Ah well, they’ve still got five races to stage a come-back!

Next off, at 1105, were the 13 boats in HKPN A and B. Water Rabbit and Five O One hugged the committee boat end, pursued by the French contingent on the big Beneteau 51, Legende II. Easy Breezy II had a close shave with the committee boat but, in the end, all got away cleanly.

Around the windward mark and down to the Chesterman Gate, boats used their kites and it wasn’t long before the front runners were off Stanley. Not so lucky for Next, though, as they suffered a broken rudder at Chesterman and had to retire  – not a good day for the Neo 430.

But then the wind started to fade and it was a slow rounding of Bluff Head and passage through the Beaufort Channel. Kites kept the boats moving but wind shifts didn’t help.

Then a wind line appeared to the east of Cape d’Aguilar and slowly but surely the leaders started to gather speed. Soon sails throughout the fleet were filling and the race ‘resumed’.

Time to lay the finish line and Shun Fung hurriedly made its way back to Round Island to drop an orange marker and confirm the finish. Not far off, the distinctive Legende II came into view and claimed line honours at 13:26:09, having completed the course in a time of two hours, 21 minutes and nine seconds.

The plucky J-80, JeNa PaBe was second boat home but it wasn’t until 13:54:39 that the first IRC boat – Witchcraft – crossed the line. Hot on its heels was Glenn Smith’s Wild Card, followed less than two minutes later by regular campaigner, Redeye.

On handicap, Witchcraft claimed a deserved 1st in IRC 1, with Wild Card in 2nd and Redeye, 3rd. In IRC 2, Andy Pidden’s Juice came out on top with Intrigue in 2nd and Arcturus in 3rd.

HKPN A was won by Five O One. Arthur Cheng’s Boss took 2nd and JeNa PaBe 3rd. The ever-cheerful Muxu sailors claimed a deserved 1st in HKPN B while Easy Breezy II came 2nd and The Farr Side 3rd.

Incidentally, there had been 28 entries – the nine boats that didn’t show up missed a good day of racing. Races 8 & 9 of the 12-race Waglan Series 2022-23 will be held on Sunday, the 26th of February – make a note in your diaries.

Finally, those taking part in the Four Peaks Race 2023 will be pleased to learn they no longer have to carry out a PCR and RAT test prior to the race. A Notice to Competitors will be issued shortly which refers to this.

The entry deadline is Monday, the 23rd of January, so if you are participating and have not yet sent in your details, please do so as soon as possible. Please be advised this is the first time the race will be run in two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the club will be flexible in allowing late entries to allow boats to find crew and runners.

You can visit the event website to enter online (www.4peaksrace.com/race-information) and view the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions.

 
   
 
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