Waglan 12

A glassy sea greeted the committee boat as it manoeuvred into position between Ocean Park (Shun Shui Kok) and Round Island (Ngan Chau). Race officer, Alex Johnston, assisted by the Aberdeen Boat Club’s sailing manager, Jennifer Li, set about deciding on a suitable islands course and laying the marks for the 1100 start. There were four divisions – IRC 1, IRC 2, HKPN A and HKPN B, with seven, five, two and four boats in each division respectively. Total, 18 boats.

With not a great deal of wind about, the RO chose Course 14A – a distance of some 14 nautical miles – for the IRC fleet. This meant a windward mark some 500 metres to the southwest, a run down to Bluff Head, through the Beaufort Channel (Sheung Sze Mun), around Fury Rocks, back through the gap between Beaufort and Po Toi islands, Castle Rock to starboard, Tai Tam mark, Chesterman Buoy and a finish off Round Island. Lots of twists and turns but the RO’s plan was to make it interesting as there was not much wind forecast.

For the HKPN fleet, Course 14B was chosen. Basically the same as 14A but leaving out Fury Rocks for a distance of 12.8 nautical miles.

Fifteen minutes before the start, there was a significant wind shift and some hurried adjustments to the positioning of the ODM and windward marks was needed. But all was soon in place and the countdown began at 1050. Wind at this point was around 4 knots.

The 12 boats in IRC 1 & 2 got away cleanly with Neo One in the lead, beating towards Lamma Island. Five minutes later, the six-strong HKPN fleet also got away cleanly although progress was very slow.

It took some time for all to round the windward mark but, over to the south of Lamma, a fleet of J-80s appeared to be having a lot of fun in good winds. On the water, a wind line was approaching from the southwest.

Suddenly, Neo One, Redeye, Intrigue, Red Kite II and other ‘favourites’ had their kites filled with a good 7 knots of breeze as they made for Bluff Head (Wong Ma Kok). Colourful spinnakers appeared towards the back of the fleet and soon everyone was enjoying pleasant sailing conditions. But it wasn’t to last.

Into the Beaufort Channel, the wind began to ease and, in the distance there were, once again, glassy seas. The IRC boats soldiered on towards Fury Rocks while the slower boats hugged the shores of Beaufort Island and into the gap, Lo Chau Mun, and Hong Kong’s deepest waters at 71 metres*. There’s also an Explosives Dumping Ground here . . . so best to stay afloat and on the surface!

By this time, and with some boats still not having rounded Bluff Head, the RO decided to shorten course. At 1305 he informed the fleets on Channel 72 that, after rounding Castle Rocks, they were to finish 500 metres to the north at the committee boat, Shun Fung. For the slower boats, a flooding tide would help them through the gap and around Castle Rocks to the finish.

First over the line was Don Law’s Xena at 13:54:21. Jinn was next, followed by Neo One. On handicap, the IRC 1 division saw Jinn taking the honours, while Xena had to settle for 2nd and Intrigue, 3rd. The IRC 2 division was won by Red Kite II and its accomplished crew, followed by Zesst and Arcturus.

Considering their course was a mere 1.2nm shorter, the HKPN A boats performed well with Eddy Lee’s Generations finishing at 14:04:26 to claim line and handicap honours. Jibulai took 2nd.

In HKPN B, Boss took line and handicap honours although Kyte put in a much-improved performance to finish a mere 8 seconds behind on corrected time. Five-O-One was 3rd while the last boat home was Sea Wings at 15:24:23. White Crane retired.


*that’s what it says on eSeaGo, the free online raster chart provided by Hong Kong’s Hydrographic Office https://www.hydro.gov.hk/eng/eseago.php

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