Open Dinghy Regatta, Day 1

Towards the end of last month, Hebe Haven Yacht Club held a Reopening Weekend to remind its members what it was like to be out in the fresh air and how to enjoy life after four months of lockdown. It was a gentle affair but, on Saturday, the 21st of May, it was a return to normal with the start of the Scallywag Foundation Open Dinghy Regatta 2022. Well, almost normal as masks still had to be worn ashore.

At the briefing, Sailing Centre manager, Rob Allen, outlined the day’s proceedings and the positions of the four courses in Port Shelter. Course 1 would be tucked in under the University, Course 2 on the opposite side off Kau Sai Chau, Course 3 further southeast off Silverstrand, and a choice for Course 4 depending on conditions – Course 4a off Hap Mun Wan (Whiskey Beach) and 4b in open water beyond Shelter Island. Principal Race Officer for the weekend would be Barry Truhol.

Under the inspirational direction of Allen, more than 70 volunteers and club staff then swung into action, preparing buoys, arranging fuel, assisting youngsters, packing food, launching dinghies and generally making it all happen. A big job, but one that worked well this year with the calming influence of the veterans making sure all courses were ready by midday. The 29ers and 470s chose Course 4a over venturing out beyond Shelter Island.

There were 150 entries and all but one made it to their respective starts. This meant some 185 sailors on the water, many from the registered charity, Sailability Hong Kong, which is based at the club. Numbers down somewhat over 2021 (172 entries) but still a respectable count given the attrition sailing has experienced territory-wide over the past year.

In 5-7 knots of southeasterly breeze, the Optimist Green fleet, under the experienced eye of Gregoire Bourrut Lacouture, began the first of four races. With support boats aplenty, the young newcomers battled it out with Tara Maliah and Margaux Nguyen-Minh putting on impressive displays, tied on nine points, with Tara claiming the day’s honours with Cleo Badenach  3rd.

Over at Kau Sai Chau, on Course 2, the Laser 4.7, Laser Open, 2.4mR, Optimist Open and Optimist Intermediate fleets, kept race officer, Barry Truhol and his team, fully occupied. Eight support and safety RIBs and sampans tended to a staggering 89 boats, making sure they all rounded marks, sailed by the rules and stayed within their race area. After three races, Peter Jessop led the Laser 4.7 division, with Seb van Ommeren in 2nd and Daniel Chan 3rd. Competition in the 12-strong Laser Open boats saw Charlie Robinson win the day, with Michael Anderson in 2nd and Alexander Ching in 3rd.

There were seven entries in the 2.4mR division but Mark Houghton missed the first of their three races (mast halyard problems) and Jacqueline Siu missed all three. Yuen Wai Foo of Sailability won two and finished 3rd in the last race to claim the daily honours, followed by Chi Yeung Puk and Candy Tse.

The Optimist Open (Yellow) fleet completed three races and Jai Mutreja from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club claimed a hard-fought victory. In 2nd was Jonathan Zepperzauer from Hebe Haven Yacht Club and 3rd Zihan Liu. The Optimist Intermediate (Blue) fleet saw David Wang emerge victor over his 21 competitors, with Cheuk Hymn Decimus Chan in 2nd, followed by Toby Ouyang Shuhang.

On Course 3, Julie Mackenzie had a varied fleet of Quests, Hansas and Picos to officiate. There were nine RS Quest entries, eager to get going with, after three races, Jane Meijnen and Mia Zordan from Hebe Haven Yacht Club showing the Lantau Boat Club’s  Andy Lau and Moses Chan who was best on the day with Hebe’s James Robinson & Chris Heywood 3rd.

The Hansa 303 sailors always put on good performances and Races 1 through 3 saw the fleet of 14 produce good results. Leo Purdie & Joel Suarez in Sunfish claimed the honours. Wai On Fung took 2nd and Menna ChaTjavel & Rheanne Buitre took 3rd. Eleven of the 14 boats in this division were from Sailability – the other three were from TTT School, Treats and Morning Hope. In the same starts were three Hansa Libertys, Song Bird winning the division, with Swire Flyer II in 2nd and Victoria II in 3rd. 

The Laser Picos had nine starters completing three races. Donovan Chow of the Children’s Cancer Foundation scored a 3, 1, 1 to win the day, followed by Leo Lee and George Lau.

On Course 4, with Bonnie Cheng the race officer, the six 29ers with their colourful kites had a good day inside Port Shelter. Highest scoring pair was accomplished sailor, Emily Polson and her crew, Maddalena di Salvo, followed in 2nd by Juliette Clot & Tiffany Mak on Mackaylah, with Casey Law & Jack Dingemans tied with Cameron Law & Chris Lam 3rd on 10 points.

Also racing, and welcomed back, on Course 4 were four 470s. Performance sailor and coach, Andy Service and his crew, Sonia Perna-Darghouth cleaned up with three 1sts. Janice Yeung & Rita Yau filled the 2nd spot and Michelle Kwan & Chap Pang Wong, 3rd.

Winds are expected to be Force 3-4 on through Sunday, strengthening to Force 5 in the afternoon. With some cooling showers, it should provide a fitting end to the Scallywag Foundation Open Dinghy Regatta 2022.

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