To say that Saturday's opener to the RHKYC Autumn Regatta was a damp squib would be an understatement. First the race course was inundated with rain of the cats-and-dogs falling-string and stair-rods variety, and then - as if the deluge had quite literally extinguished the breeze - there was nothing left behind but a glassy harbour swell. Bearing in mind that a weather forecast of 'more of the same tomorrow' is statistically better than 50% correct, it didn't look good for Sunday.
RHKYC Autumn Regatta 2012 - races 2 and 3 -
But Sunday was positively beaming. Out came the sun with not only a hat on, but wearing white spats as well, and bringing his best chum, the breeze, along for the ride. Victoria Harbour almost looked as it once did before super-pollution was invented. RHKYC HQ at Kellett Island was humming first thing on Sunday morning with the sailing fraternity discussing wind, tide, exclusion zones and all manner of other factors which might affect their enjoyment of the two races scheduled for Day 2. Exclusion zones were rather important, as the construction of the new cruise terminal at the southern end of the old Kai Tak runway is providing the powers that be with endless opportunities for creating, moving, and then evaporating exclusion zones for the better corralling of marine construction traffic and the further confounding of marine leisure activities. A good number of sailors were caught out on Saturday, and RO Marty Kaye read the riot act first to the Class Secretaries and then to the Safety Team and AROs. 'Thou shalt NOT go into exclusion zones, and thou shalt NOT set or sail courses that involve Kowloon Bay or Dock Buoy roundings.'
RHKYC Autumn Regatta 2012 - races 2 and 3 - Barnstormer at the top mark
Whatever giblets Marty Kaye had been staring at overnight, whatever bones he had cast and whatever propitious sacrifices he had made - all were worth it as competitors were rewarded with a 10-12kts easterly, blowing straight down Victoria Harbour from Lei Yue Mun Gap. Yes, the construction exclusion zones had all been relocated, but otherwise it would have just been too easy, right?
The first race of the day started bang on schedule, with the slower fleets following a windward leeward loop to Tai Koo Shing and the faster boats to Shau Kei Wan. In the event, the wind held so well that all the boats apart from the Pandora fleet were allowed to continue to two laps of their course, before being shortened at Dock Buoy.
Conscious that the Harbour breeze often dies at around 1500hrs or so, and keen to make the most of the prevailing 11kts, Kaye elected to stay on anchor, lay an ODM and start the next race immediately with no course changes. Only two boats were recorded OCS for the entire regatta, Whiskey Jack, which went on to win Big Boat Division 2, and Etchells Kung Fu Fighting , both exonerating themselves and continuing to race.
Perhaps as compensation for Saturday, the breeze held all afternoon and sailors were treated to a rare clear, hot, sunny, windy day two.
RHKYC Autumn Regatta 2012 - races 2 and 3 - Impalas en masse
While a number of protests were heard, the recently formed RHKYC Pipe Band entertained the crowd to a medley of Scottish tunes, while the bar flowed with Laurent Perrier Champagne, Bacardi Black and Carlsberg. It could be argued there were worse places to be!
A rowdy and well-attended prizegiving got underway with prizes presented by Max Chen from McLaren and Juliana Fung from SHK Private, with the following winners being awarded ‘best in class’
RHKYC Autumn Regatta 2012 - races 2 and 3 - Flying 15s enjoying the sunshine and breeze
Big Boat Div 1
Elektra, Marcel Liedts
Big Boat Div 2
Whiskey Jack, Nick Southward
Big Boat Div 3
GA, Arthur Ho
Merlin, Steve Bourne
Celines, Marc Castagnet
Quest, Fred Kinmonth
French Fries, Bob/Bobson
Taxi, Florence Kan
Footloose, Y C Leung
Solstice, K W Chair
Schannuleke, Erwin van den Berge
RHKYC Autumn Regatta 2012 - races 2 and 3 - Red Kite 2 leads Rampage down the run
RHKYC Autumn Regatta 2012 - races 2 and 3 - Elektra, Magic 026
RHKYC Autumn Regatta 2012 - races 2 and 3 - criss cross sailing, Rampage and Barnstormer