Boxing Day Treasure Hunt

It was a grey, bleak morning with quite a chill in the air. Eleven boats had signed up for the Hebe Haven Yacht Club’s annual Boxing Day Treasure Hunt, with a good turnout, given the conditions, of eight yachts and around 60 participants.

No quiz this year, instead an exercise in boat handling skills was included.

Four marks were laid in Sai Kung waters, on which were recorded (apparently in rather small lettering) the destination (reciprocal bearing and distance) of the next mark of the treasure hunt.

The first mark was laid near the entrance into Hebe Haven near the South Cardinal Beacon. The second  was close to the southern corner of Sharp Island, in the channel between Sharp and Kau Sai Chau. The third was located off the north shore in the channel between Yim Tin Tsai and the Sai Kung Peninsula and the last off the east coast of Kau Sai Chau, across from Tai She Wan (Snake Bay), with the finish nearby. It was necessary to forward to the event manager a picture of a crew member touching the 2nd, 3rd and 4th marks earning 10 points for each image.

This clockwise navigation of Kau Sai Chau is particularly scenic and, with a 10- to 15-knot northeasterly and temperature of 15 degrees and falling, it meant there were only a few wakeboarders and wakesurfers to avoid.

Boats were given the option to motor or sail. Fortunately some slower boats or later starters opted to motor sail to meet the approximate 1300 cut-off.

First to approach the finish was Bridget Chan’s Minnie the Moocher, well ahead of the anticipated finish time. This meant the event managers, Joyce Har and Chris Howarth, had to lay the finish line and – 30 metres in front of it, a yellow mark for the boat handling skills test. But, with Minnie approaching (too) fast, the ODM couldn’t be positioned properly. This made two of the four skill test options – Backwards Sailing (C) from the finish line to the yellow mark for 21 points and a Figure of 8 and Backward Sailing (D) for 30 points – a lot more challenging.

Skill test A was a Figure of 8 (15 points) and B, mainsail reefing while approaching the finish.

Having reached the finish line, Minnie completed its forward Figure of 8. Lazy Piggy was the next to arrive but, while completing its Figure of 8, dropped a boat hook over board and had to recover it.

Then came the tinsel-decorated Ichiban. The crew decided on the Backward Figure of 8 – quite an accomplishment! Next to arrive was the J-80, Jelik 6, which, as explained by the skipper Clayton Yeh, had encountered problems with a broken outhaul.

Attempting to complete its Figure of 8, the Bavaria 42, Xakanaxa, came close to T-boning the committee boat before bearing away. Skipper Mikey even had Hebe One’s engine started in case evasive action was needed!

The Swan 53, Athena, with Simpson Marine’s Richie Allen and David Walder on board, opted to reef its main before crossing the finish line . . . a task made easy with in-mast furling.

Finally the tinsel and floral-decorated catamaran Abiders arrived just before the 1300 cut-off and commendably completed its manual main reefing as they approached the finish.

All participants then headed for the High Island (Yau Ley) Seafood Restaurant for lunch, judging of the best dressed Santa fender and prize-giving.

After an enjoyable feast, with numerous corks popping, it was time for the awards.

Best dressed boat and crew award went to the catamaran, Abiders.

Competition for best-dressed fender was keen. Abiders claimed 3rd place, Minnie the Moocher came a close 2nd with Athena’s bootie-clad, bearded Santa winning the bottle of wine.

Taking into account all four parts of the event – treasure hunt, skills test, best-dressed boat & crew and the best-dressed fender – Lazy Piggy finished 3rd overall, Abiders 2nd and, to a roar of delight from the crew, Ichiban won the day and the bottle of wine.

Despite the drizzle on the return to Hebe Haven, it was still a spirited group that re-assembled in the Main Bar to continue their celebrations.

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