With 14 to 16kts of north easterly breeze gracing the Lamma patch, Flying Fifteen Nationals Race Officer Jerry Rollin wasted no time in setting up the committee boat for the first race of six in the Flying Fifteen Hong Kong Nationals. The pin end boat was positioned and with some minor adjustments, the line was set with no major bias.
Hong Kong Flying 15 Nationals 2013
At the one minute gun, defending World Champion Graham Vials was closest to the line on Foof, followed closely by yesterday’s practice winners, Nick and Janet Jerwood, on Ineffable, however five seconds before the start, Jade and Ian Lane took Mr Fox OCS, followed by Ineffable and the Glamour Buoys, pursued in turn by a scrum of boats which made sail numbers impossible to read. General recall was the only possible decision, and the race was re-started with a black flag – unsurprisingly, the whole fleet stayed a respectful distance from the line for this one.
The Flying Fifteen fleet generally sail geometric courses, and today’s consisted of sausage-triangle-sausage with a leeward finish. Although Grant Alderson and Dean McAullay rounded the windward mark first, the Jerwoods were hot on their transom, and overtook them to cross the finish line in first place after around 81 minutes.
As soon as the last boat finished, Rollin opened the start line for the second race of the series and of the day. Now wise to the Lamma winds, the fleet made a perfect start, with Pharos Financial Group making a competition of it all the way around the race track to register a bullet ahead of Foof and Ineffable. Talking after the race, helm Ashley Smith said 'it wasn’t easy – we had three or four world champions right on our tail but we had a good start. We had too much rake in for the first race which slowed us down – we were second at one point, but when you’re lacking boat speed your tactics aren’t as clever.
The Flying Fifteen Hong Kong Nationals continues today with two more races, before finishing on Thursday. There follows a lay day before the start of the ‘main event’, the 19th International Flying Fifteen World Championship on Saturday 2 November.