The highly anticipated opening of the Club’s 2020-2021 sailing season kicked off with the Autumn Regatta over the weekend of 12 and 13 September.
With sailing activities suspended for two months due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Autumn Regatta attracted 101 boats and more than 550 sailors across seven one-design classes, Sportsboats and Big Boats. Sailors were praised for their co-operation in fulfilling the requirements of the rigorous social distancing compliances, effectively maintaining the social distancing requirements ie no more than groups of four persons and wearing masks in the Club at all times except when sailing, eating or drinking.
Sailors eagerly returned to the Club and were greeted with an 8 to 10kts northeasterly breeze and blue sky. Day 1 of the Autumn Regatta was also designated as being part of the global ‘Bart's Bash, dubbed the ‘Largest Sailing Event in the World’, however the day’s racing did not get off to a start as a massive black cloud hovered above Kowloon and started to swallow up the Kowloon Bay area at around 1300hrs.
A stationary, intense thunderstorm kept building with torrential rain creating extremely low visibility whilst an incredible and sustained lightning lit up the sky. 70mm of rain poured down within an hour, followed by the issuing of the Amber rainstorm warning. Race Officer Barry Truhol took the decision to abandon the races not started due to safety concerns, with the wind completely dissipating after the downpour stopped.
In contrast, sailors were greeted with a good southeasterly breeze and blue skies on Day 2. Racing got underway with most divisions being sent to sail 1 lap or 1.5 laps between Shau Kei Wan / Tai Koo Shing and Hung Hom / Kowloon Bay. The breeze strengthened to around 11kts near the end of the first race, setting up perfect conditions to start the second race.
Race 2 saw the RO send the Big Boat Div 1 to race out of the harbour to round Shek O Rock and TCS3 before sailing downwind to Hung Hom and then back upwind to Gate Buoy for a finish. The remaining classes were sent off on courses of varying distances of 7.42nm to 10.15nm. The courses taking the fleets up Victoria Harbour, round either Shau Kei Wan or Tai Koo Shing then with kites hoisted, sending it back down to round Gate Buoy or Dock Buoy before heading up the harbour again.
With only two races to count, there was some very tight racing in the J/80 class. May-13 ended the Footloose reign as the seven time consecutive winner of the Autumn Regatta, lifting the trophy after taking the win in a three-way tie with Footloose and Jena Pebe. Creditable performances by Ambush in Big Boat Div 1, XT the Big Boat Div 3, Flying Fifteen Tchaikoffsky and Pandora Windfall, saw each yacht taking 2 bullets for the day in their respective divisions.
We are thrilled to report that the Autumn Regatta has earned Gold Certification from the Sailors for the Seas Clean Regattas (CR) Programme. A first for Kellett Island, the CR Gold Certification sets us up for a great season as we work to expand our sustainability efforts across the Club. Many thanks to all of the sailors, volunteers, supporters and staff for supporting the Clean Regattas program and demonstrating our collective commitment to improving our marine environment by recycling, minimising waste and avoiding single-use plastics.
We could not have put on such a successful and safe event without our dedicated volunteers – a big shout out to the Race Management team of Barry Truhol, Bonnie Cheng, Chris Collins, Dodo Lai, Elizabeth Seymour-Jones, Guinness Siu, Jacky Lam, James Wong, Jane Overton, Jason Lam, Jennifer Li, Mac Overton, Sheila Chan, Steve Wordsworth and Till Lembke.
Words: Vivian Ngan
Image: Guy Nowell