on 21 Oct 2021
Conditions picked up gradually throughout the three-day regatta, with sailors enjoying a monsoon breeze, blue skies and warm waters
With Hong Kong being subjected to two severe tropical storms in the space of a week, the rescheduling of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club‘s premier big boat event, the China Coast Regatta 2021, finally got underway over the weekend of October 15-17.
Wind conditions picked up gradually throughout the three-day regatta, showcasing Hong Kong’s signature sailing conditions at its finest with a great monsoon breeze, blue skies and warm waters
A gentle 6 to 8kts easterly breeze kicked off the regatta for the start of racing on day one, with 21 boats taking to the race track, located southeast of Hong Kong’s Lamma Island. All IRC racing divisions were sent off on a windward/leeward to start the day’s action with textbook racing taking place.
Conditions began to deteriorate however with some rainfall with the breeze building throughout Race 2, peaking at 20kts. Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen set an island course for the last race of the first day seeing the TP52 division and IRC Racer 1 sail a 20nm island course; racing around Sung Kung, Po Toi and Beaufort Islands before finishing at Stanley. IRC Racer 2 and 3 were set with a shorter course of 16.5nm around Sung Kung and Beaufort.
In complete contrast to day one, breezier conditions were forecast and came to fruition for day two with a northerly breeze and blue skies greeting sailors.¬† The addition of the HKPN division for day two of the regatta brought the fleet tally to a total of 30 boats racing. The TP52 and IRC Racer classes raced two windward/leeward and an Island course while HKPN were given one windward/leeward and an island course in picture-perfect conditions.
As the day progressed, the breeze again built to 15 to 20kts, showcasing Hong Kong yacht racing at its best out on the Lamma racetrack. The building breeze put many of the crews through their paces, while the very experienced pressed their boats harder and faster in the ever-increasing sea state, creating a true spectacle as the boats raced hard downwind.
Day three of the China Coast Regatta certainly lived up to its reputation, putting on the ultimate in Hong Kong champagne sailing conditions. The yachts were straight into a 15 to 20kts north easterly breeze, blue skies and an increasing sea state at the south-east end of Lamma Island.¬†
Under the influence of the Strong Monsoon signal which was to stay in force all day, Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen said: “We feared it would have been really windy, but actually we had an average of 16 to 17kts, gusting 20kts.¬† There were two massive gusts up to 32kts and it was very exciting!”
All divisions were sent on two-lap windward/leewards to start the day with quite a few broaches and ripped kites resulting in a few retirements.¬†
The TP52s and all IRC classes were set a three-lap for their final race of the regatta.¬† While the race management team had originally planned on sending the HKPN division off on an Islands course for their second race of the day, they were ultimately set another two-lap windward/leeward to suit the prevailing conditions.
Strompf-Jepsen was pleased with how day three went saying “we set the longest courses we could and finally put on a three-lap course for the IRC classes that would keep them racing for at least an hour.¬† For the three-day China Coast Regatta, we set different types of courses, including two and three-lap windward/leewards and two Island courses.¬† I hope the sailors are happy about this arrangement.”
Having completed their scheduled seven races, the IRC and TP52 divisions enjoyed a discard, odds-on favourite Shawn Kang’s Alpha+ lifted the TP52 trophy with an impressive five wins out of seven races, with Noel Chan‘s Rampage 88 in second overall.¬†
The heavier breeze created some place changes from the two previous days.¬† In IRC Racer 1 Joachim Isler /Andrew Taylor’s Ambush took the win over William Liu’s Seawolf 2 on countback, and¬† Nick Burns’ King Mills 40 Witchcraft took another two bullets on the final day to successfully hold off James Verner’s Judel Vrolijk Custom 36 Nightshift in the most competitive IRC Racer 2 division, by 3 points.¬†
In IRC Racer 3, Andrew Pidden ‚Äòs J99 Juice pipped Nick Southward’s J-109 Admiralty Harbour Whiskey Jack, despite Nick notching up two wins on the final day. Carl Wilkinson’s Lisa Elaine came out ahead of Bradly Wilkins’ Blowers Daughter, also on countback, to claim the HKPN division win.¬†