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Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Spring Regatta 2022 sponsored by HSBC Expat

by Vivian Ngan 16 May 01:00 PDT 14-15 May 2022
Spring Regatta 2022 © Guy Nowell

The Spring Regatta 2022 sponsored by HSBC Expat, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's closing regatta to mark the end of the Club's official 2021-2022 sailing season, took place over the weekend of 14 and 15 May.

After enduring days of persistent heavy rain leading up to the event, the weather gods finally relented, and the rain abated in time for the first start which saw 94 boats turn out to race.

Race Officer Elberti Uiterwaal-Postma opted for a Hung Hom start which proved a good call, providing a one hour window of no rain with even some patches of blue sky as the sailors enjoyed 5 to 8 kts of easterly breeze.

The TP52 division was sent off on a 11.97nm course; first sailing out of the harbour, around TCS4 outside Junk Bay before coming back to Hung Hom for another lap upwind to Shau Kei Wan. The other classes sailed two to three laps around Tai Koo Shing or Shau Kei Wan on courses ranging from approximately 6.26nm to 8.52nm.

As the starting sequence progressed, the wind strengthened to around 10kts and the fleet enjoyed some very close racing. "The wind was a bit tricky, and we considered courses based on 6kts, 8kts and 10kts, ultimately settling on a course for 8kts of wind speed. I think everyone had a good day. The wind is steady, oscillating from 5 to 10kts, kind of what we expected." said Uiterwaal-Postma.

Sunday turned out to be a rainy and windier day. Coupled with 10 to 12kts of easterly breeze, 84 boats joined the racing on Day 2, with the Race Officer again setting up a Hung Hom start line. The TP52 class headed out to Junk Bay while the long course fleets raced 1.5 to 2 laps around Hung Hom and Shau Kei Wan and all the short course boats racing 1.5 to 2 laps to Tai Koo Shing. Not even the persistent downpours could dimmish the spirits of the sailors.

Fortunately, the rain eased up in time before the start of the third and final race of the weekend and with the timely arrival of north easterly monsoon, the wind progressively built up to 13 to 15kts (gusting up to 20kts) showcasing Hong Kong's yachting at its best with the sun coming out to dry out the soaked sailors. This time the RO sent the fleets off on slightly longer courses around Shau Kei Wan or Tai Koo Shing before finishing the day.

2022 marks the 45th anniversary of the first Etchells racing in the closing regatta. The first Etchells was introduced to Hong Kong in 1976, and the second Etchells, owned by Mike Holbeche, arrived just in time for the Closing Regatta in 1977. Nowadays Etchells are one of the most active one-design class boat fleets in the Club and this weekend they were the biggest participating class, with 15 boats on the water.

As Etchells, Noddy, continued to maintain their steady track record, taking first overall for the regatta, Dragon - Dragonfly, Flying Fifteen - Noisy Forefather, J/80- Footloose and Sportsboat- Serendipity successfully led their divisions throughout the regatta, lifting their respective trophies. While Impala Gnu and Pandora Windfall climbed from second place to overall first place, whilst Ruffian Bandolero took two bullets to take the trophy.

Almost all Big Boat divisions winners maintained their position at the top of the score board after the second day of racing. TP52 Freefire continued strongly with two bullets in hand to take the trophy. Red Kite 2 and Scintilla maintained their leads in Big Boat Division 1 and Division 3 respectively while Ding Dong took one bullet with only one point ahead of Amaze in Division 2.

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