Typhoon 1

Conditions were looking precarious as race officer, Dave Norton, briefed his volunteer race management team on the committee vessel, Hebe One, in preparation for Race 1 of the UK Sailmakers Typhoon Series 2021, Sunday morning, the 6th of June 2021. The series comprises nine races over seven race days between the 6th of June and 21st of August 2021, and is open to IRC, HKPN, Sportsboat Class boats and One-design Classes Dragons and J-80s, with the addition this year of a Short-handed Division.

The various weather predictions ranged from 1-12 knots, most at the lower end of the scale, swinging around from the north to the south during the course of the morning. However, according to Norton, there were zero knots at Waglan at 0900 that morning. Oh dear.

There were even mutterings about raising the postponement flag ashore and delaying the start by one hour. In the end, Norton opted to head out to the outer reaches of Port Shelter to better appraise the situation.

The first warning signal was scheduled for 1055. By 1030, a 5-knot southeasterly was blowing so the race officer settled on two courses, keeping most of the 54-strong fleet in the southern waters and avoiding the risks inherent in the more sheltered waters of Rocky Harbour.

Two new courses, #96 for IRC A and #97 for all the others, were selected. These took everyone out for a port rounding of South Nine Pin, followed by North Nine Pin (p), Steep (s) a new mark at Ma Tsai Pai (p), Table (s) finishing at Little Palm Beach, a distance of 15 nautical miles. For IRC A, after rounding Table (s), they continued on for a further 8 nautical miles, rounding Basalt to starboard and returning to Table (s). In the end the race was shortened for everyone at Table Island. A starboard-rounding windward mark was laid at 130 degrees along with a 300-metre start line.

With just one minute to go in the countdown for the start of the combined IRC A and B divisions the postponement flag (AP) was hosted due to a major wind shift of 40 degrees. It didn’t take long to reset the start line with the race officer choosing to remove the windward mark.

At 1104, the AP flag was lowered with the seven IRC A and 10 IRC B boats starting at 1110.

Alpha Plus and Zannekin led off the line at the pin end along with Ambush and Kingsman.

Meanwhile, Juggerknot and Tipsy Easy were shut out at the committee vessel end and obliged to go around.

A new rule 12.4 has, unfortunately, been introduced and not highlighted in the Hebe Haven Yacht Club’s new standard sailing instructions. This requires that all boats must cross the starting line within four (4) minutes of their start  or otherwise will be scored a Did Not Start (DNS) without a hearing and seemingly without any discretion on behalf of the race officer to allow a boat to start. Outrageous fell foul of this rule (but also would have been disqualified, as it sailed the wrong course using the old course book). Unfortunately, Bits & Pieces, Gecko and La Folia were also late for their starts although La Folia later retired.

The nine boats in IRC C followed at 1115 with the 5-knot breeze at 151 degrees and Dexter II and Blu leading off the line.

Athena was well positioned for the start of the 14 boats in HKPN A along with the three J-80s at 1120 with the 5.6-knot breeze having swung to 170 degrees. Tong Shing’s trimaran Bluefin and Bridget Chan’s colourful Minnie the Moocher were slow off the line, while Bits & Pieces was late but decided to continue for the practice.

Eclipse led the HKPN B fleet of nine boats over the line at 1125, followed five minutes later by the two boats in the Short-handed Division – Deborah & Rob Berkley on Calamansi and Juliet & Mark Ashton on Miss Le Va.

Alpha Plus took line honours in 3:29:39 to finish 2nd in IRC A behind Ambush on handicap, with Quest 3rd. Unfortunately the longer course proved difficult for the slower boats in the class, including Nick Burns’ Witchcraft (ex-Blue Bunny) while DEA III Fire finished 2.25 hours after the lead boat.

Nightshift took line and handicap honours in IRC B with Kingsman 2nd and Rampage 3rd.

Dexter II led the IRC C fleet home to claim line and handicap honours with Blu and Goddess 2nd and 3rd respectively, while Ding Dong retired.

Footloose comfortably won the J-80’s race with Team Danny Sum on Jelik 7 2nd and Mozzie 3rd.

Athena took line honours in HKPN A to finish 3rd on corrected behind Ricochet 1st and the recently re-tuned Temujin 3rd. It was a close race between the men’s team on LoTech and the women on Jibulai. Jibulai was leading until the penultimate leg between Steep and the new Ma Tsai Pai Mark when the breeze began to ease allowing LoTech to overtake the heavier boat.

The Hebe Dragons on Getafix took line and handicap honours ahead of Foxzhead and Baby Beluga  while Scrumpy, Ma Cherie and La Folia retired. Bringing up the rear and last home at 17:28:40 was Pepper & Salt.

The Berkleys on Calamansi won the short-handed duel against the Ashtons on Miss LeVa.

Race officer Dave Norton was relieved that they had managed to complete Race 1. While it may have proved too long for some, the race management team had managed to cope with the unexpected.

Results are provisional with the race committee facing three protest by the three boats scored DNS, Outrageous, Bits & Pieces and Gecko, while Gecko is also protesting Pepper & Salt.

Race 2, the Mirs Bay Passage Race, will be held on Saturday 19th June with a Pursuit Race starting in Port Shelter on Sunday the 20th, comprising the Mirs Bay Regatta. The combined results will count towards the Philip Boothroyd Countess Trophy. There will be no overnight stay at Wong Shek.

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