Out on the blue waters of Subic Bay today it was ‘business as usual’ – meaning 10kts of breeze and plenty of sunscreen, please. Race Officer Jerry Rollin rolled out two windward leeward courses for the IRC Racing and IRC Racing/Cruising classes, and a 13nm scenic tour for the PY Cruisers taking in places with interesting names such as Barretto and Mayanga and ending up back at the entrance to the SBYC marina.
Starting away across by the gigantic shipbuilding yards, the first w/l course ran 2nm to windward at 095° and featured the big boats (Hi Fi and Free Fire) leading all the way round the two-sausage track. Free Fire probably regretted banging the corner all the way out to the starboard lay line on the second beat, losing a lot of distance in the process. As the 40-footers set off down the last run a new breeze line was clearly visible coming in from south and west, and in mere moments the run became a fetch. Hello, the sea breeze. EFG Bank Mandrake and Subic Centennial slugged it out in a straight line drag race, but the local Sydney 46 was not quite able to reel in the Mills 40. And when the sums were done it was back-marker Sell Side Dream (A40, Simon Powell) that took the honours, followed by EFG Bank Mandrake and then Hi Fi.
Marks were re-set for the second start, with the windward pin now at 195°. The big boats went left together, and the others went right. At the top mark it was Hi Fi trying to climb into Free Fire’s cockpit as both boats had to hitch up for the mark – apart from the port rounding, it looked like a match racing sequence as Free Fire wriggled away from Hi Fi’s bow and skittered round the mark ahead – just. It certainly kept the Media Boat well entertained! Who says yacht racing isn’t a spectator sport?
It was a close thing for the leaders down the last run, with Free Fire finishing 54s in front, but once again Hi Fi took the honours, this time by 29s. First finisher completed the course in 1h 10m and last home took 1h 40m, but five boats corrected out less than 3m 30s apart, which once again begs the question –‘who says IRC doesn’t work?’
IRC Cruising/Racing ‘got up and went’ on the flat water, too. The two Platus, Body Shot and Frantic, spent both races joined at the hip, finishing 2, 3 in the first race and 1, 2 in the second. Jesus Avecilla Jr’s venerable First 36.7, Selma Star, took the first race but was shut out by the Platus in the second.
All in all it was a good day on the water for absolutely everyone. The only thing that would make it better would be a bigger entry list, and with Hong Kong weather being pretty damn ordinary at this time of year, we are wondering why more of the Rolex China Sea fleet didn’t stop around a bit longer and join in. Pass the Factor 50 – oh, and another cold beer please.
Tonight’s prize presentation will be at The Lighthouse, and just like James Ramsay, we’ll keep a steady hand on the tiller.
1 Hi Fi (1,3,1) 5
2 EFG Bank Mandrake (3,2,3) 8
3= Free Fire (2,5,2) 9
3= Sell Side Dream (4,1,4) 9
5 Subic Centennial (6,4,5) 15
1 Frantic (1,3,1) 5
2 Selma Star (2,1,3) 6
3 Body Shot (3,2,2) 7
4 Alexa (4,4,4) 12
1 Selma SBYC (1,1) 2
2 Rapparee XXX (2,2) 4
by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia
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7:08 AM Thu 12 Apr 2012GMT
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