St. Regis China Coast Regatta - Day 1 - Bring it on!

St Regis China Coast Regatta 2013 - Race day 1 - IRC 1 division at South Ninepin
RHKYC / Guy Nowell
After two years of unseasonally quiet conditions, the 2013 St. Regis China Coast Regatta got off to a promising start today in a consistent 10 to 12kts of Easterly breeze, sunshine and low humidity. In spite of the previous evening’s libations at the Mount Gay Welcome Drinks, all 44 of the entrants made the start line with the prospect of one long islands course for the day.

Race Officer Inge Strompf Jepsen had already taken the precaution of pre-grouping the islands courses and, once the Committee Boat was out of the lee of Middle Island, the decision was made to go for a Beaufort start. IRC Racer 0 was first off at 1100hrs, on a course taking in 28nm of Hong Kong’s beautiful and surprisingly rugged coastline including South Nine Pin, Bluff and Steep islands.

Racer 1 and 2, together with IRC Premier, were both set a slightly shorter 21nm course around South Ninepin and Waglan islands, while IRC Cruiser and HKPN were given a 17nm course involving Waglan Island.

By the time that Syd Fisher’s Ragamuffin 90 was coming in to take the gun for Racer 0, the breeze had stiffened to 12kts and the Committee Boat settled in for a comfortable couple of hours monitoring a procession of boats finishing on the run. Notable finishes included OneSails Racing (Ray Roberts) and fellow TP52, FreeFire which opted to take opposite courses around Beaufort coming in to the finish. It was Roberts, on the the southerly route, who bested the Hong Kong TP both on the water and on corrected time, ultimately winning the race on corrected time.

In Racer 1, Ker 40 Signal 8 did the double on the water and on corrected time, pushing Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake into second place. Elektra and Walawala 2 finished two seconds apart on the water, and seem set for a great weekends duelling.

Another like-for-like duel was taking place in Racer 2, with China-based Seawolf edging out fellow Archambault 40 Sell Side Dream on the water to take the gun, however it was the smaller Archambault 35, Red Kite II which claimed the day prize on IRC Corrected time.

This year’s regatta has welcomed several new faces with boats and crews predominantly based in China, and it was pleasing to see return visitor Lighthorse take IRC Premier on corrected time. HKPN features an entry list of 10, the strongest showing for some time. Bavaria 34 Pepper & Salt took today’s race on corrected time, with Hanse 400 Darling taking the gun.

Racing gets underway at 1030hrs tomorrow, with three races for IRC Racer divisions and two for Premier, Cruiser and HKPN.