Saturday came ‘in like a lion and out like a lamb’ for the finale of the 2012-2013 Top Dog Trophy Series, with 63 boats competing for the HKRNVR Memorial Vase, a beautiful piece of silverware gifted in memory of the Royal Volunteer Naval Reserve, whose volunteer sailors used to patrol Hong Kong waters in bygone times.
RHKYC HKRNVR Memorial Vase 2013.
Organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, the deed of gift for the HKRNVR Memorial Vase stipulates that the race takes the fleet out of the confines of Victoria Harbour and into waters patrolled by the Volunteers. Race Officer Gareth Williams was so impressed by the early breeze that he issued a notice to competitors adding an additional course option which would take competitors as far as Shek O Rock, but, much to the disappointment of some, the wind softened out before the start of the race, and Course 2 was selected. Just as well...
All boats started with a healthy fetch up the harbour and out past the Lei Yue Mun Gap, heading for the first of the traffic separation markers, TCS4. It was almost a crush of boats coming and going. But by the time the lead Flying Fifteen (3830) had rounded TCS 4 a hole had developed at Lei Yue Mun Gap, in which 61 boats got well and truly stuck. On the run from TCS4 back to the gap, many boats beat the outgoing tide by slipping into a countercurrent to northeast of the course, but in the end it didn't matter how well you approached the harbour - everyone got stuck at the entrance to the harbour anyway. Except...
Joe Nelson on Squiffy and Simon Pickering on No Name lucked out at the front of the fleet, eased through to Chai Wan, and managed to keep moving into slightly better breeze at Dock Buoy before finishing at Gate Buoy eight minutes ahead of the target cut-off time. Coming from behind - having started at the back of the pursuit fleet - Ambush successfully picked her way through the stalled (or nearly-stalled) boats in the few zephyrs remaining on the Shau Kei Wan side of the harbour, connected the dots along past Quarry Bay, and kept going to take third place and ensure that her name is engraved on the Top Dog Trophy for the second year in a row.
With no protests to be heard, Gareth and Di Williams presented the awards on The Lawn, including a five-day charter voucher from Sunsail for the overall Top Dog - the Ambush boys and girls will now be discussing whether they want a Sunsail 36i out of the Whitsundays, a Sunsail 39 from Phuket or Langkawi, or maybe a Sunsail 43 in Koh Samui!
Top 10 HKRNVR [Provisional]
Boat Class Sail Number Skipper Place
Squiffy F15 3830 Joe/David 1
F15 3722 Simon Pickering 2
Ambush Big Boats 2208 Isler/Taylor 3
Puff'n'Stuff F15 3701 David Chow 4
Dream On Etchells 1269 Mark Thornburrow 5
Easy Tiger Etchells 884 Kaye/Watson 6
Double Shot Etchells 402 Frank van Kempen 7
Quest Etchells 1051 Fred Kinmonth 8
Red Kite II Big Boats 2 93 Anthony Root 9
Mind The Bumps Etchells 1344 Mark Whitehead 10
Top 10 Top Dog Trophy [Provisional]
Rank Boat Class Skipper Pts
1 Ambush IRC 1 Taylor/Isler 8.91
2 Red Kite II IRC 2 Anthony Root 18.59
3 Peninsula Signal 8 IRC 1 Jamie McWilliam 20.17
4 Gunga Din Etchells Nick Burns 26.68
5 Easy Tiger Etchells Marty Kaye 34.11
6 Sell Side Dream IRC 1 Simon Powell 44.58
7 Salona 41 IRC 1 Simy Wong 47.82
8 Double Shot Etchells Kearns/Reed 59.56
9 Tchaikoffsky Flying 15 Howard Williams 59.64
10 Mind The Bumps Etchells Mark Whitehead 70.81