by Al Skinner
As crews filed in for their race briefing, the trees provided a picture-perfect reflection on a mirror-like Dianshan Lake lake, making conditions look none too promising for racing at the annual CIBS Charity Regatta. Half an hour later, though, with catspaws chasing each other across the water, things were looking up a little.
China (Shanghai) Inernational Boat Show Annual Charity Regatta at Dianshan Lake
For the first time, and due to increased interest from bigger boat sailors, the regatta was run on two courses at two clubs on the lake: a 15-strong keelboat fleet off Shanghai Island, and the dinghies and multihulls which racing from Shanghai Yacht Club & Resort.
With a frontal system promised for later in the day, Race Officer Al Skinner wanted to get the dinghy racers out on the water as early as possible to make the best of the conditions between the almost breathless air at the start and what could be a near-gale if the forecast proved correct.
Reality was that the wind varied from a whisper - and even shut down completely on parts of the course – up to a solid breeze that proved all-too-challenging for some of the crews who ended up capsizing and swimming! The two constants were the incessant rain (which went from light drizzle to tropical downpour and back again at various stages the afternoon), and the spirit of the sailors which remained high throughout what at times was a frustrating day’s racing.
A small number of boats failed to complete all three races, with the attrition caused by cold. Spring is a chilly season in Shanghai, and Dianshan Lake is a very frigid spot for a swim.
RO Skinner observed later that 'I have had to delay results before for an outstanding protest or a computer problem, but never because the results sheets were stuck together from being so wet that we had to wait until they dried out enough to prize them apart without them falling to pieces!'
The eventual winners in the dinghies were Thomas and Richard in the Red Dragon 5.8 showing the consistent form of previous events, with SBYC Commodore Jim Smith in second. In the multihulls it was a win for Jacob and Anna in the Weta, followed by Scott and Lars Hansen also in a Weta.
For 2015, let's hope all the water is under the boats rather than falling from the sky, but the real victor of the day was the Pass Love Charity Foundation with, so far, in excess of RMB20,000 (USD3,200) raised to further help with their work in providing libraries for rural schools.