Although “big boats” Jelik and FreeFire had the edge, the 2-person crewed F18 catamarans put up an amazing fight, taking five places in the top 10 on elapsed time in the annual Tommy Bahamas Around The Island Race 2012 last weekend. The catamarans also took three places in the top five on corrected time.
Meanwhile, Alexandra Nitsch sailing an F18 was third on elapsed time, won overall on corrected time and also took home the Lady Godiva Trophy. Peter Davies also put in an excellent performance to come fourth in both elapsed time and on corrected time.
The annual 26nm, clockwise around the island race took place on Sunday Nov 11, with 235 boats of all sizes and descriptions, including rowing boats, taking part. It was an array of colour in Victoria Harbour as they all gathered for staggered starts based on boat classes between 8.30 am and 10.00 am.
Although the breeze was good for the early starters, it dropped off, causing some stagnation for the later boats. But they all got off and the wind did pick up as they headed out of the harbour at Lei Yue Mun Gap.
This highly tactical race, with unpredictable wind shifts and weather conditions, became an annual event in 1983 and has grown to one of the biggest yacht races held in Hong Kong. This year, the winds were generally rather light, although 15 to 20 knots were recorded at certain points on the course.
After watching the starts, the media boat set off in the opposite direction to meet the leaders. Sitting off Aberdeen, as expected, Frank Pong’s 72-foot racing yacht Jelik was the first to appear, passing Aberdeen at 12.07 pm on her way back to Victoria Harbour to complete the circumnavigation and taking line honours in 03:43:00.
The TP52 FreeFire owned by Sam Chan was second to appear some 20 minutes later, passing Abredeen at 12.25 pm. Several other boats passed, including Peninsula Signal 8, Electra,Ambush, Red Kite II and some smaller craft.
However, it was then another half hour before the marvellous sight of a large number of spinnakers were seen in the distance. Unfortunately, after rounding Stanley Peninsula and before reaching the media boat, the wind dropped and boats were bobbing on the waves. They gradually got through the becalmed area and were off again carried along by a 15 to 20 knot breeze.
Although Jelik and FreeFire were first and second over the line, the next four places were taken by F18 catamarans, cutting a very impressive image in the water.
In the IRC-1 category, the order was Ambush, Electra and Peninsula Signal 8 and Red Kite II headed the IRC-2 Class ahead of Talking Head and Vixen. Frank van Kampen put in another good performance in his Magic 25, Fly By Wire, to win the Sports Boat category, with Merlin second and Phoenix third.
At Kellett Island 184 boasts recorded a finish.
Top Dog Series
Four races make up the Top Dog Trophy, which started with the Lipton Trophy sailed on Saturday Nov 10, the Round the Island Race on Nov 11, the Thomas Cup on Jan 12 and finishing with the HKRNVR Vase. Overall results are calculated on position in race/number of starters x 50.
The Lipton Trophy, an in-harbour pursuit race with staggered starts based on handicap, was run last Saturday with 8-10 knots of easterly winds, with 58 competitors taking part. On provisional results, the top five boats were Ambush (last year’s series winner), followed by Peninsula Signal 8, Etchells 3×11, Etchells Easy Tiger and Red Kite II.
The Hebe Haven Winter Saturday Series starts this coming weekend Nov 17.
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