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One Global Lipton Trophy 2021

by Guy Nowell 23 Nov 2021 01:59 PST 20 November 2021
One Global Lipton Trophy 2021 - Windfall (and Phoenix, behind) © Guy Nowell / RHKYC

Pursuit races are fun. Start first, and spend the rest of the afternoon looking over your shoulder to see who is about to catch you and take over the lead. Or start last and spend the race checking your watch and figuring out if you can catch the leader before the allotted finish time. Either way you get a crick in the neck.

Last Saturday’s One Global Lipton Trophy was no exception, with the exception that Hong Kong turned on the sunshine and 15kts of breeze, and even sent a few white caps through the harbour. Harbours are harbours for a reason: they are sheltered, and Victoria Harbour is one of the best. It’s only when the wind occasionally comes from a rather precise 070 degrees that the pressure gradient makes its way through the forest of surrounding high-rises and down onto the race track.

RO Gareth Williams has run more pursuit races than the rest of us have had DRCs. He is an expert at judging course and lap lengths, and calling for the finish to be opened at exactly the right time. First away from a Club line were the Pandoras at 14.00h, and the first mark was at Shau Kei Wan, requiring a beat in the direction of the Cruise Terminal, and bearing away for the SKW mark. “If the start had been at Hung Hom or Dock Buoy, it would have reach-reach all the way,” said the RO. Being the first starters, Pandoras often lead at the first mark, and this time it was the familiar green spinnaker on Tom Ho’s Windfall that started the kite run back to Dock.

Last to start was the TP52 Phoenix, at 15.14, meaning they had to do 76 minutes what Windfall was trying to complete in 150 mins! Well, Phoenix didn’t manage it. However, Pat Pender’s Serendipity, a shiny new VX One, was up for the challenge. Windfall was on the final leg to E2 and just 50-odd metres from the finish like when Pender, Houghton and Service caught them. “We were sailing at 12-15 kts with an A-sail,” said Pender, “and I guess they were doing 4 or 5 under spinnaker. On the line, we were only 28 seconds in front, and that feels pretty squeaky when you’ve been chasing through a 65-boat fleet for the last two hours! Huge fun. Looking forward to the next one.”

The stronger than usual breeze reshuffled the finishing order for “usual”. Some perennial winners didn’t get a look in this time as the little boats at the front had a real chance to get away before the big chasers got onto the race course. Top results were predominantly class boats – in fact, first non-class boat to finish was Nicolas Cohen-Addad’s J/122 Jinn in 26th place. For the record, last-starter Phoenix rolled home in 37th place.

The Lipton Trophy is the second event in the four-race Top Dog Series, and is raced under the RHKYC’s ATI (Around the Island) rating. The other events are the Around the Island Race (14 November 2021), the HKRNVR Memorial Vase (15 January 2022), and the Tomes Cup (30 April 2022).

Full results for the One Global Lipton Trophy can be found here:

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