Spring Regatta 2022

The Spring Regatta 2022, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s ‘closing’ regatta to mark the end of its official 2021-22 sailing season, took place over the weekend of the 14th and 15th of May. It was sponsored by HSBC Expat.

After enduring days of persistent heavy rain leading up to the event, the weather gods finally relented, and the rain abated in time for the first start which saw 94 boats turn out to race.

Race officer, Elberti Uiterwaal-Postma, opted for a Hung Hom start which proved a good call, providing a one-hour window of no rain with even some patches of blue sky as the sailors enjoyed 5-8 knots of easterly breeze. 

The TP52 division was sent off on a 11.97nm course; first sailing out of the harbour, around TCS4 outside Junk Bay before coming back to Hung Hom for another lap upwind to Shau Kei Wan. The other classes sailed two to three laps around Tai Koo Shing or Shau Kei Wan on courses ranging from approximately 6.26nm to 8.52nm. 

As the starting sequence progressed, the wind strengthened to around 10 knots and the boats engaged in some very close racing. "The wind was a bit tricky, and we considered courses based on 6 knots, 8 knots and 10 knots, ultimately settling on a course for 8 knots of wind speed. I think everyone had a good day," said Uiterwaal-Postma.

Sunday turned out to be a rainy and windier day. Coupled with 10 to 12 knots from the east, 84 boat turned out, with the RO again setting up a Hung Hom start line. The TP52 class headed out to Junk Bay while the long course fleets raced 1.5 to 2 laps around Hung Hom and Shau Kei Wan and all the short course boats racing 1.5 to 2 laps to Tai Koo Shing. Not even the persistent downpours could diminish the spirits of the sailors.

Fortunately, the rain eased up in time before the start of the third and final race of the weekend and, with the timely arrival of the northeast monsoon, the wind progressively built up to 13 to 15 knots (gusting 20) showcasing Hong Kong’s yachting at its best with the sun coming out to dry the sailors. This time the RO sent the fleets off on slightly longer courses around Shau Kei Wan or Tai Koo Shing before finishing the day.

This year (2022) marks the 45th anniversary of the first Etchells racing in the Closing Regatta. The first Etchells was introduced to Hong Kong in 1976, and the second Etchells, owned by Mike Holbeche, arrived just in time for the Closing Regatta in 1977. Nowadays Etchells are one of the most active one-design class boat fleets in the  lub and this weekend they were the biggest participating class, with 15 boats on the water.
As Etchells, Noddy, continued to maintain its steady track record, taking 1st overall for the regatta, for the Dragons – Dragonfly, the Flying Fifteens – Noisy Forefather, J-80s – Footloose and Sportsboats – Serendipity. All successfully led their divisions throughout the regatta, lifting their respective trophies. While Impala Gnu and Pandora Windfall climbed from 2nd place to overall 1st, the Ruffian Bandolero took two bullets to claim the trophy.

Almost all Big Boat division winners maintained their positions at the top of the score board after the second day of racing. TP52 Free Fire continued strongly with two bullets in hand to take the trophy. Red Kite II and Scintilla maintained their leads in Big Boat Division 1 and Division 3 while Ding Dong took one bullet and was just one point ahead of Amazein Division 2.

                                                                                        Photos by RHKYC / Guy Nowell

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