China Coast Regatta 2021

With two severe tropical storms in the space of a week, the rescheduled China Coast Regatta 2021 finally got underway on Friday, the 15th of October. The wait was worth it. Wind conditions picked up through the three day regatta, giving sailors the best conditions they could have wished for – blue skies, warms waters and consistent monsoon winds.

A gentle 6- to 8-knot easterly heralded the start of racing as 21 boats took to the race track southeast of Lamma Island. IRC was sent off on a windward / leeward.

Conditions soon began to deteriorate, though, with rain affecting the breeze through Race 2, peaking at 20 knots. Race officer, Inge Strompf, set an islands course for the last race of the first day seeing the TP52 division and IRC Racer 1 sail 20 nautical miles around Sung Kung, Po Toi and Beaufort Islands before finishing at Stanley. IRC Racer 2 and 3 were set a shorter course of 16.5nm around Sung Kung and Beaufort.

In complete contrast to Day 1, breezier conditions were forecast and came to fruition for Day 2 with a northerly breeze and blue skies greeting sailors. The addition of the HKPN division for Day 2 of the regatta, brought the fleet total to 30 boats. The TP52 and IRC Racer classes raced two windward / leewards and an islands course while HKPN were given one windward / leeward and an islands course in picture perfect conditions.

As the day progressed, the breeze again built to 15 to 20 knots. The lively conditions put many of the crews through their paces, while the very experienced pressed their boats harder and faster in the demanding waters of the Lamma Patch, creating a magnificent spectacle as the boats raced hard downwind.

Day 3 of China Coast Regatta certainly lived up to its reputation, providing the ultimate in Hong Kong’s autumn sailing conditions. The yachts were straight into a 15- to 20-knot northeasterly breeze from the start.

A Strong Monsoon signal lasted the entire day with race officer, Inge Strompf, saying “We feared it would have been really windy, but actually we had an average of 16-17 knots, gusting 20. There were two massive gusts of up to 32 knots which made it very exciting!”

All divisions were sent on two-lap windward / leewards for starters with quite a number of broaches and ripped kites, resulting in a few retirements.

The TP52s and all IRC classes were set a three-lap race for their final. Whilst the race management team had originally planned on sending the HKPN division off on an Islands course for their second race of the day, they were ultimately set another two-lap windward / leeward taking into account th prevailing conditions.

Strompf was pleased with how Day 3 went saying “We set the longest courses we could and finally put on a three-lap course for the IRC classes that would keep them racing for at least an hour. For the three-day event, we set different challenges, including two and three-lap windward / leewards and two island courses, so I hope the sailors were happy about this arrangement.”

Having completed their scheduled seven races, the IRC and TP52 divisions enjoyed a discard, odds-on favourite Shawn Kang’s Alpha Plus lifted the TP52 trophy with an impressive five wins out of seven races, with Noel Chan’s Rampage 88 in 2nd overall.

The heavier breeze created some place changes from the two previous days. In IRC Racer 1, Ambush took the win over William Liu's Seawolf on countback. Nick Burns’ Mills 40, Witchcraft, took another two bullets on the final day to successfully hold off James Verner’s Judel Vrolijk Custom 36, Nightshift, in the most competitive IRC Racer 2 division, by 3 points.

In IRC Racer 3, Andrew Pidden’s J-99, Juice, pipped Nick Southward’s J-109 Whiskey Jack, despite Nick notching up two wins on final day. Carl Wilkinson's Lisa Elaine came out ahead of Bradly Wilkins' Blowers Daughter, also on countback, to claim the HKPN division win.

 
   
 
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