From 0 to 14 knots: Autumn Regatta 2017 Day 1
17 September, 2017
Eighty-eight boats turned out for the first day of the Autumn Regatta with much speculation on whether the breeze would also join the fleet due to two typhoons in the region doing their best to suck the breeze out of Hong Kong.
It was a day of challenging conditions for racing with nine starts to get away. Racing was initially delayed as the wind had swung 180 degrees requiring the marks to be reset and new course selections made.
Racing kicked off at 1411hrs with easterly courses chosen starting from Hung Hom. The first fleets to set off were the J/80s and Sports Boats, the Etchells (after a general recall) and Impalas. The Flying Fifteen sequence was postponed as the wind dropped, and then restarted in the new westerly breeze. The westerly breeze resulted in downwind starts for following fleets, the Dragons set out next with all other starts thereafter setting off in six minute intervals.
The later starters got the benefit of the breeze and caught up to the rest of the fleet but when they approached the huge hole off of Tai Koo Shing the track turned into a huge drifter with racers battling it out in no breeze and the tide against them. The hole eventually resulted in a massive pile up at the Top Mark where almost half of the fleet tried to round the mark at the same time.
After the pile up (which resulted in a few protests being heard after racing), the westerly wind caught up to the fleet and sent the fleet up the course, reports came in from around the race track of first 6kts then a few minutes later 14kts. The first boat to cross the finish line at Hung Hom was J/80 Footloose at 15h 58m 12s with all boats finished racing by 16h 33m 10s.
Today’s race was also designated as the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Bart’s Bash 2017 – “the biggest sailing event in the world”. Bart’s Bash is a global charity fund-raising sailing race taking place at 100s of venues, with 1000s of sailors in 100s of different classes of boat around the world. Going into racing today, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club was listed as the Top Venue with the most participants.
This year’s event is supported by sponsors St. James’s Place who are continuing their collaborations with the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club after an incredibly successful Sunset Series. Joining them are new sponsors, ICE Yachts, who will begin a multi-event partnership that sees them also involved in the Around the Island Race and the Spring Regatta and Foundation Global Education who also begin a wider partnership with the Club engaging in sailing events and classes/courses for the younger members of the Club. Partnering with the event are ETA Logistics and The Artist who will be providing their unique brand of Craft Beer for the prizegiving event tomorrow evening.
For more information, visit http://www.rhkyc.org.hk/AutumnRegatta.aspx.