Waglan Series 2021-22, Race 2

When Shun Fung dropped anchor between Ocean Park and Round Island on Sunday, the 24th of October 2021, the wind was blowing Force 4, as forecast. Race officer, Alex Johnston, and assistant, Jennifer Li, set about preparing for Race 2 of the Waglan Series 2021-22 with Course 20 chosen for both the IRC and HKPN divisions.

But, come the preparatory starting signal for the two IRC fleets at 1055, the wind had swung from northeast to north-northwest and there was bunching at the pin end for those seeking that little extra advantage. Surprisingly, at least half of the 10 boats attempting to start seemed to be hanging back. To describe their progress as ‘lethargic’ would be an understatement.

Once over the line, Zannekin and Jinn surged ahead while the others took some time to collect themselves and make it to the windward mark, set a short distance in towards Middle Island.

Then it was the turn of the 12 boats in HKPN A, B and C. Again, on the gun at 1105, most of the fleet were a long way back and it took the plucky J-80, JeNa PaBe to lead the way. Perhaps it was the breeze which was lacking in consistency, sometimes blowing 8 knots, sometimes 12.

Course 20 for IRC takes in the new Chesterman Gate, Castle Rock (p), Beaufort Island (s), TCS2 (s), Waglan Island (s), Sung Kong (p), Castle Rock (s), Chesterman Gate and a finish off Round Island. The same course for HKPN leaves out TCS2 and Waglan, making it 6 nautical miles shorter than IRC’s 21 nautical miles.

To everyone’s surprise, and instead of passing between the Cheshire Home and Round Island , the speedy trimaran, Carbon3, rounded the windward mark and doubled back on itself, passing the committee boat at speed, heading for open water and the Chesterman Gate – all within the rules.

Then the wind started to die. Off Bluff Head, the leaders sailed into a hole. Progress past Beaufort Island was painfully slow. At the back, the HKPN were struggling to pass Chung Hom Kok and the RO was beginning to think about shortening course.

Once past Cape d’Aguilar, though, Zannekin, Intrigue, Redeye and Jinn picked up speed and were soon rounding TCS2. But, with the tailenders struggling to make way, Johnston announced his decision to shorten at Castle Rock on Channel 96. Most heard, some didn’t.

Shun Fung dropped anchor south of Castle Rock and the first boat to receive a gun was Ben Chong’s JeNa PaBe at 13:25:15. Two seconds later Sunny Leung’s Jibulai finished – a nailbiter of a finish for both HKPN A boats! And that was the handicap order, too, with Generations in 3rd.

In IRC 1, Zannekin crossed the line first but ended up 4th of handicap. Jinn claimed a deserved 1st on handicap followed by Intrigue and Paul Leese’s Redeye 3rd. Neo One did not compete.

IRC 2 saw Red Kite II claim line and handicap honours. Denis Chien’s Arcturus filled 2nd slot and new owner of Calamansi, Gaston Chan, and crew battled their way to 3rd on handicap. Zesst did not compete.
A much-improved and determined Water Rabbit took handicap honours in HKPN B. In 2nd , after countless attempts to radio the RO about shortened course, came a relieved Sea Wings with Blower’s daughter in 3rd.

In a class of its own, Carbon3 won HKPN C.

Last boat home was the ‘classic’ double-ender Bowline with it new owner, Alex Yu, and crew delighted to have made it across the line in three hours, 20 minutes and 51 seconds.

No doubt some will say there was no need to shorten course but, the way things were looking off Bluff Head for some of the HKPN boats, the RO made a sensible call. The next races in the Waglan Series – 3 & 4, both windward / leewards – will be held on the 31st of October 2021.

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