The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club yesterday launched its 2012-2013 sailing season with Day 1 of its annual Autumn Regatta, sponsored by McLaren, SHK Private and Canaletto.
Victoria Harbour was showing in all her finery at midday, when a preliminary check of winds was carried out. A steady 6.5 to 8kts easterly looked promising, with Race Officer Marty Kaye electing to start the fleet at Hung Hom mark and send them eastwards to Shau Kei Wan and Tai Koo Shing.
Lady Luck was not playing ball though, and by the fourth start a localized thunderstorm was shedding heavy rain on the start area, and just as everyone thought that the deluge was over, back it came. And again. At the same time causing the wind to back round by 180 degrees to give a downwind start for the later classes - and then collapse completely. In the space of 30 minutes, everything went from stair-rods to glass-out. The storm passed, but the wind never recovered, and a very slow afternoon followed. A gently ebbing tide meant that many boats had difficulty turning at the downwind, Shau Kei Wan, end of the harbour.
Constantly monitoring the positions of the various classes on the water, Kaye quickly elected to shorten the Big Boats Divisions 2 and 3 at Shau Kei Wan, the Ruffian and Pandora fleets at Kowloon Buoy, and all other classes at Dock Buoy.
A great deal of construction work going on in, adjacent to and around Hong Kong’s Harbour at present, has created a great number of 'exclusion zones,' and there followed a long evening of protests, as those boats who had been observed entering the various exclusion zones were brought to book.
Today (Sunday) offers two races back to back, with the first race starting at 1110hrs. Race 3 of the series will start just as soon as Race 2 is finished and (protests notwithstanding), the Prizegiving is scheduled to take place at around 1830hrs after racing at RHKYC Kellett Island.
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11:32 PM Sat 8 Sep 2012GMT
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