The best of Hong Kong’s sailing conditions; excellent breeze, blue skies and warm friendly waters welcomed sailors at the Club’s first major Big Boat event of the season – the St. James’s Place China Coast Regatta which kicked off Friday 9 October.
30 yachts across six divisions competed in a variety of windward/leeward and island courses on Day 1. Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen sent all IRC racers divisions on two windward/leeward races plus a short island course whilst four yachts from IRC premier
Cruising division were set two island courses.
Day 2 saw another fantastic day of sailing with the four yachts from the HKPN division joining the weekend’s action. With 34 boats out for racing; all IRC racer classes were set three laps windward/leeward to start with, while the HKPN class was treated to two laps. However with the wind dropping out to around 5kts during the first races, boats struggled to finish the long course.
The Goddess of the Wind must have listened to sailors’ prayers – as the day progressed the breeze strengthened to around 18kts (with gusts up to 25kts), resulting in some lively action on the course, with quite a few yachts broaching and suffering ripped spinnakers.
Superb sailing conditions prevailed through to Day 3. Racing got away with all IRC Racer divisions sailing one long islands course ranging in distance from 16.5 to 20nm. The islands course took the IRC Div 0 and Div 1 on a beat towards a windward mark and two ocean marks, rounding Sung Kong, Po Toi and Beaufort before finishing off south of Stanley Peninsula. IRC Div 2 and Div 3 were sent to sail a similar course rounding Sung Kong and Beaufort, while the HKPN division were given one windward / leeward and an islands course of around 10nm around Beaufort Island.
Almost all the divisional leaders of the regatta were able to maintain their leads as established on Day 1 except IRC Racer 0 where the three TP52s: Sam Chan’s FreeFire, Robert Wiest, Victor Kuk and David Ho’s Phoenix and Shawn Kang’s Alpha+ battled it out in a show of fierce competition.
Shawn Kang’s TP52 Alpha+ bounced back in the final race, after learning a lesson from separating from their main rival early on Day 1, Alpha+ was quick to loosely cover Sam Chan’s Freefire, coming away with a bullet in the island race, to take the division win overall, only one point ahead of Freefire after a discard.
In the IRC Racer 1 division, Marcel Liedts’ Zannekin took six wins out of seven; Zannekin ran away with first place, seven points ahead of Joachim Isler /Andrew Taylor’s Ambush.
In the biggest fleet, IRC Racer 2, Nick Burns’ Blue Bunny remained on top with an undefeated seven wins, with Kelvin Au Yeung on Rampage in second overall and Nicolas Cohen-Addad on Jinn in third. Although losing the final island race to Blu, Nick Southward’s J-109 Whiskey Jack lifted the trophy for IRC Racer 3, five points ahead of Cheung Meihan’s Dexter II. Eva Leung’s Blu climbed to third place thanks to a bullet in the final race.
The IRC Cruiser division sailed a 10nm islands course on the final day and Mark Nie and Dominic Law’s Xena won all island races lifting the trophy in their division.
In the HKPN division, Sunny Leung‘s Jibulai took two bullets and was declared overall
winner in the division. Due to social gathering restrictions on Club premises, the Club organised the first ever food and drinks delivery service direct to yachts post racing. A complimentary case of beer from sponsors Peroni, along with preordered food platters and a selection of other yachts stores were appreciatively accepted by the yachts upon their return to their Middle Island mooring. The overall prizegiving has been postponed until further notice.
Despite not being able to activate the event this year due to the social distancing restrictions we would like to give our sincere thanks to all of the sponsors and partners for their support of this event: St. James’s Place, One Global, Absolut, Beefeater Gin, Havana Club Rum, Peroni and SailWorld.com
Last but not least, we would like to send out a big thank you to the fantastic team of volunteers for which we could not run the event without, a big thank you to Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen and her amazing team of Barry Truhol, Ben Chong, Bonnie Cheng, Cynthia Li, David Norton, James Wong, Lucy Sutro, Meike Goessling, Tina Over and the Safety team of Niclas Rydin, Philip Lee and Steve Wordsworth.
See you all again next year!
This article appears in the December 2020 print edition of Ahoy!