RHKYC Dragon Class Championships 2011

Hong Kong Dragon Class Championships 2011
© Guy Nowell / HK Dragon Assoc
The annual Hong Kong Dragon Championship took place over last weekend 5-6 November off Lamma Island where the competitors enjoyed near-perfect wind conditions with 10-12 knots NE wind on Saturday increasing to 12-16 knots on Sunday. There was an all time record participation with 17 boat entries and 55 crews, reflecting the strong growth of the Hong Kong Dragon fleet. With four new boats added in the past two years, the class is enjoying great momentum, and keeps attracting a number of new sailors.

With 4 races on Saturday, 3 races on Sunday and only one discard, every single race could make a difference. The fleet quickly found out that the left hand side of the course was favoured, and that having a fast start at the correct end of the line (adjusted after each race) was the key competitive advantage to be able to go left in as much clean air as possible. The current was also an important factor, and a number of competitors overstood the port layline by a few boat lengths.

Karl Grebstad, the defending champion, sailing his new boat D51, led the series after day one with a handy 5-point lead ahead of his rival Tam Nguyen (D55) and 7 points ahead of Lowell Chang (D46). Counting discards, Phyllis Chang (D50) and Simon Chan (D8) were also in the running for the title.

However, D51 went into Sunday’s first race rather too aggressively and was caught OCS. This damaged his points buffer, and with Tam Nguyen sailing (D55) winning the first two races of the day it was all down to the last race for the championship. To retain the title, Grebstad and his crew had to place no lower than fourth in the last race. Knowing this, Tam Nguyen and his team elected to cover Grebstad and force them back down the fleet. While the championship top two boats D51 and D55 were dancing together around back of the fleet, the battle for first place in the last race continued between husband and wife Phyllis Chang (D50) and Lowell Chang (D46). Phyllis stayed ahead of her husband to win the final race. However, Lowell won overall against his wife in the championship results with a third while Phyllis came in a close fourth.

After a quick trip back to Middle Island in strengthening wind and chop conditions, the participants, families and sponsors enjoyed a casual hamburger dinner on Middle Island lawn before the Prizegiving ceremony where Slam representative Jack Young handed out prizes to the first three overall winners.

The success of the event was made possible by the strong support of the sponsors, Nepa Shipping, Slam, and Northrop & Johnson, and was extensively covered by a professional photographer (Guy Nowell) and a cameraman (Oliver Merz).

Dragons sail all year long in Hong Kong out of RHKYC Shelter Cove, participate in team racing against other clubs (Asia Pacific Interport, European Interport) and a growing number participate in races on the International circuit. If you would like to join in as a crew, helm or owner, please contact dragon@rhkyc.org.hk - there are always boats in need of crew and fast boats available for sale!