It was the proverbial ‘game of two halves’ for the sailors today, as 235 boats of all shapes and sizes gathered in Victoria Harbour for the start of yesterday's Tommy Bahama Around The Island Race. With 7 knots of breeze prevailing for the first starts at 0830hrs, the Pandora and HKPN 1 fleets got clear away, but the breeze then dropped to less than two knots for the later starts, leaving a flotilla of boats drifting gently towards Lei Yue Mun on the tide.
Tommy Bahama RHKYC Around the Island Race 2012
Thankfully the breeze filled in through the morning, giving the fleet a lift through the notorious Lei Yue Mun gap and round through Junk Bay to Shek O and Cape D’Aguilar. The Around The Island Race is highly tactical, and a boat’s light wind sailing technique possibly influences its result more than any other skill: this was the case again yesterday. However, for a change the sticking point was Bluff Head to Stanley, while the usual parking lot of Cyberport was enjoying 15 to 20 knots of northerly, with good breeze to carry the boats around Green Island and into the western harbour approaches.
The lead boat on the water was, unsurprisingly, Frank Pong’s 72’ Jelik, who reached the Green Island Mark around 30 minutes ahead of Sam Chan’s TP52 Freefire. Given the conditions for the last 30% of the race, Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen made the decision to allow the boats to go 'all the way' and Jelik took line honours at RHKYC Kellett Island after 3h 43m, with Freefire following home just under 25 minutes later. In all, 184 boats recorded a finish at Kellett Island before enjoying a well–earned beer.
The Around The Island Race isn’t only about who has the biggest and fastest boat, and the overall results are calculated on an RHKATI handicap, developed using the data from years of pursuit racing. After correction, the provisional results show Flying Fifteen Noisy Forefather II in the hot seat to lift the La Cigale trophy at tonight’s prizegiving, with Formula 18 HKG1487 taking second, and provisionally the Lady Godiva trophy for top lady helm, with Flying Fifteen Tchaikoffsky in third.
Provisional results are available at http://www.rhkyc.org.hk/TommyBahamaAroundtheIslandRace.aspx