Today marked the start of the Hong Kong pursuit race season, with the first race in the zerorh+ Top Dog Trophy Series, organised by Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. When RO Gareth Williams went out to preview conditions for Lipton Trophy, he found around 10kts gusting to 15kts, however by the time the 48 entrants had reached the start line off Hung Hom, conditions had filled in to a steady 18-20kts gusting to 25kts.
This proved too much for some competitors, with Salona 41 losing their rig after a broach, six boats declining to start and another 10 boats retiring, leaving 28 boats to record a finish.
At the first rounding of Shau Kei Wan, Pandora Pasisana was clinging to the lead after starting first, but with Flying Fifteens French Fries and Tchaikoffsky in hot pursuit and Etchells Freelance working her way quickly through the fleet she was doomed.
After a large triangle to Shau Kei Wan, came the long sausage to Tai Koo Shing and after just over an hour of racing Howard Williams had taken up the lead position on Tchaikoffsky ahead of the Flying Fifteens and Etchells, now with Dream On leading the pack back down to dock buoy.
With the breeze holding steady, the boats continued on a small triangle via Kowloon Bay and dock, with Tchaikoffsky hanging on to the top spot by 20 seconds, with Dream On chasing hard. Another small sausage from dock to gate and back, and Dream On finally prevailed, with Freelance a minute adrift and Williams pushed into fourth place.
At this point, the RO elected to shorten the course at gate buoy, and the next time the head of the fleet came by, Dream On claimed the gun, with four Etchells on her tail and Tchaikoffsky in sixth place.
With no protests, a packed prizegiving, sponsored by Veuve Cliquot champagne and Becks Beer took place on the Kellett Island Lawn with Race Officer Gareth Williams presenting the prizes.
1st Dream On - Mark Thornburrow
2nd Freelance - Laurence Mead
3rd Etchells 1047 - Frank van Kempen
1st Inshore Keelboat Taxi - Florence Kan
1st Day Boat 3 x 11 - Jimmy Farquhar
1st Big Boat Ambush - Joachim Isler / Drew Taylor
by Lindsay Lyons
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1:30 PM Sat 9 Nov 2013GMT
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