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18 Oct 2013
It's been a good week for sailing in Hong Kong – first, the St Regis China Coast Regatta delivered. Meaning that the wind came, the swell built, and everyone had a bone-crunchingly good time. Asked whether he was enjoying himself, David Ross (KukuKERchu, Ker 40) said, “yes, but I'm very glad it's only three days! This is like trying to race the whole of the King's Cup in half the time. I am exhausted” (but still smiling!).
It was three days of the sort of weather that has made the China Coast arguably the best and most competitive regatta in Asia. IRC 1 and IRC 2 division between them boasted no less than 20 entries in the Over-40 and just Under-40 department. Competitive? You bet. In IRC 1 it was all down to the last race, with Signal 8 (Ker 40) needing a 3rd place to beat Marcel Leidts' Elektra (GTS43), but that went out the window - or over the side - when a lifeline broke and two crew members went for a swim. Anthony Root's all-conquering A35, Red Kite 2, ‘did it again' with a win in IRC 2, and made it look easy.
One weary-looking visitor remarked, “heck, if the Hong Kong boats sail in these sort of conditions on a regular basis, no wonder they win so much silverware when they go south.”
No sooner had the spilled DRCs from the prizegiving been wiped off the bar at the RHKYC, and it was time for the Audi HK-Vietnam Race. A record fleet entry of 17 boats for the 656nm spinnaker run to Nha Trang, destined to become Asia's no 1 offshore race, and a blue water classic that should be every sailor's bucket list. After a blowy start the fleet was well launched when Avant Garde turned round with steering problems and then – real drama – Walawala 2 sustained rudder/rudder stock/lower bearing damage and an intake of water that caused the crew to abandon ship. Can't be more exact than that, the boat is now at the bottom of the China Sea. Crew were picked up by fellow competitor Krampus, and eight of the ten subsequently airlifted back to Hong Kong where they were last seen tucking into an All Day Breakfast at RHKYC that was probably going to take all day to finish. Story below.
Plenty of other news from around Asia and the southern hemisphere – ISAF Sailing World Cup in Qingdao, Team Australia takes on the Tasman for starters. Welcome to the busy end of the sailing year in Asia – there's lots more to come.
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