Classic Yacht Rally 2021

The Aberdeen Boat Club’s Classic Yacht Rally was first held in May 2005.Twenty two boats showed up to take part in three divisions – Classic, Non-Classic and Taipans. It was a great success with the overall ‘winner’ being Attica. The best-performing Taipan was Don Quixote. What’s more, the Fragrant Harbour Voila Chevalier watch for the best classic presentation went to Iain Chapman, owner of Attica.

Over the years, the rally has attracted some beautiful boats. In 2013, Rona (1895) graced the event, along with Merrymaid (1904) and the pretty Sparkman & Stephens local classic, Snow Goose II. Not forgetting the historic Jadalinkir (1946) and, more recently, the Harbour School’s Black Dolphin.

The rally has gone through its ups and downs and sadly, last year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, it had to be cancelled.

But, this year on the 1st of May, a rejuvenated rally attracted 14 boats and even two powerboats. Destination – the Soko Islands. The start was off the southeastern shore of Lamma Island and Rally Officer, Alex Johnston, chose Route 2 for the day. At 1130, in light airs, Johnston sounded the horn and the fleet headed off in a building breeze.

By the time the lead boats had rounded the bottom of Lamma, there was 8 to 10 knots from the south-southwest. Great conditions for everyone, including Eric Bouveron’s open catamaran, Bouton d’Or. The wind held pretty much all the way to Siu A Chau and its protected, semi-circular south-facing beach but a strong ebb tide of some 2 knots saw most of the boats resorting to their engines to pass the committee boat and find safe anchorage.

But, being a rally, and as Johnston told everyone on the radio, engines were perfectly acceptable. “It’s just a rally folks.”

Five-O-One finished at 1530, then came the Grand Banks-ish cruiser, No Name, with friends and family of sailing participants onboard. Quite spread out, 12 boats crossed the ‘finish’ with Mystique recording a time of 1715. But where was Bouton d’Or? On the committee boat, concern began to grow and one of the support boats was asked to do a quick search and radio back.

Hidden from sight, Bouton d’Or was found motoring furiously against the tide, but managing to cross the finish at exactly 1800.

It wasn’t long before everyone had been ferried ashore by Sai Fuk in his sampan and the happy sailors got stuck into the delicious curries prepared by the club’s catering division. The beer and the wine flowed and then it was time for the event prizes with social distancing being strictly observed on a large beach with plenty of space.

Being a rally, the emphasis was on attitude rather than performance. So, the Concourse de Elegance award went to Pizzazz, at 47 years Ragamuffin won Oldest Boat, Karma picked up the Most Colourful Crew for its dancing monkeys at the start and Spirit of the Event went to an Elvis impersonator. Best Classic Yacht was a tie between Sawadee and Taka Ano, and the Smallest Boat was won by the brave little catamaran, Bouton d’Or.

Of course, yachties being yachties, there had to be some reward for performance and a First Arrival prize went to Five-O-One. Best Performing Classic Yacht was won by Kantadur Luk.

Oh, and everyone else got a prize for attending. Roll on the Classic Yacht Rally 2022!

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