Open Dinghy Regatta, Day 1

The scale and extent of the HHYC Scallywag Foundation Open Dinghy Regatta 2021 became apparent at the race briefing early on Saturday, the 22nd of May, when event manager, Rob Allen, told his team there were 172 boats entered. The number of sailors taking part would be near 300 and, to hold it all together, a team of some 100 volunteers would be involved in mark laying, confirming results, hearing protests, taking times and ensuring safety. Wow, quite an operation with everyone responsible keen to make it run smoothly.

There were to be four courses inside and outside Port Shelter, with the Green Fleet (Optimists) racing below the University on Course 1, the Main and Intermediate Fleets of Optimists, two Laser classes and the 2.4mR boats in the centre on Course 2, the Quests, Picos (double and single-handed), Hansa 303s and Liberty on Course 3 and, southeast of Shelter Island, the performance dinghies on Course 4, including Waszps, 420s and 29ers.

A truly dazzling array of sailing dinghies, from seven to 14 feet in length, sailed by youngsters and seniors, beginners and champions!

Allen pointed out the bi-lingual partnerships of officials, meaning sailors could communicate in English or Cantonese. Very important, given the intensity of the competition and the need for everyone to be clear on the course rules. He also made strong recommendations for all four committee and support boats to carry ice and water on board as, in the searing heat, dehydration and heat stroke was to be avoided at all costs.

At 1020, the D flag was raised ashore and a horn sounded. Shortly thereafter, the support fleet left the dock. Out on the water, the volunteers laid the courses and took readings – 9 to 11 knots of southerly wind. Not too much, not too little; in fact, just perfect for dinghy racing.

Race officer, Inge Strompf, using her Kiwi app for course management, laid marks for the Optimists, Lasers and 2.4mRs and, after a small delay, had everyone away in the first race of Day 1. The two classes of Optimists numbered an impressive 51 boats!

Over on Course 3, the AP flag appeared as the course was shifted closer to Kau Sai Chau to avoid overlapping. Beneath the University, 30 very young Optimist sailors showed what they were capable of in the Green Fleet while outside Port Shelter, with a large sampan hired from the Pak Sha Wan community as committee boat, racing commenced in earnest for the Waszps, 29ers and 420s.

The tide, being diurnal, did not present a problem and the wind held throughout the day, allowing everyone to complete at least two, sometimes four races.

At the end of Day 1, in the 2.4mRs, Virgil Bertrand held the lead; in the 29ers, Juliette Clot & Maddalena Di Salvo; in the 420s, Julia Jacobson & Duncan Gregor; in the Hansa 303s, Joel Suarez; in the Hansa Liberty, Peter Danielson; in the Laser Radials, Charlie Robinson; in the Laser 4.7s, Lucas Minne; in the Picos (double-handed), Flynn Wilkinson & Maddy Tidball; in the Picos (single-handed), Donovan Chow; in the Optimists (Green Fleet), Oliver Aitken; in the Optimist Intermediates, Emma Yi Yeung Leung; in the Optimist Opens, Peter Jessop; in the RS Quests, Andy Lau & Moses Chan; and in the Waszps, Thibault Minne.

Back on shore protests were heard, mainly from the Lasers and Waszps. Apart from that, most sailors went home to catch up with much-needed rest and preparation for Day 2.

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