The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s GREAT Nations’ Cup race took place on Saturday (Mar 8) in drizzle and light rain with a 9 to 12 knot Easterly breeze.
Despite 85 boats entering the race, only 65 boats assembled at the start point at Hung Hom Bay—four did not get off the start line; four did not finish; and one boat retired.
The water was a little choppy at the start, but smoothed out towards LeiYue Mun Gap before becoming quite rough on the way to the turn-around mark of Shek O Rock – where waves were making quite a splash.
One notable rule for the race required all crew of a boat to have the same nationality.
There were four starts raced under the Round the Island Race handicapping system. Start times were 20 minutes apart with the slower boats leaving first. Flying 15’s and Impalas were predominant in Start-1, Etchells and J80’s were the main competitors in Start-2 and the final starts were for two groupings of Big Boats.
Start-1 and -2 got off on time, but as can often happen in Victoria Harbour a tug boat ploughed through the start line just as the gun sounded for Start-3, causing some chaos and consternation—the start was aborted and immediately reset for five minutes later. The boats got off to a good start the second time.
Impala’s were first to start and first to round Shek O Rock, and at the end of the race Impalas Boss Hogg, Rainbow Chaser, Gnu took 2nd to 4th places, respectively, for Hong Kong. Also other Impalas—England flagged Moll and Scottish flagged Impala 1—took 6th and 7th places, respectively.
Greg Farrell and crew of Etchells Dream On flying under the New Zealand Flag started 20 minutes after the Impalas, but just beat Boss Hogg to the finish post and took first place by some four minutes on corrected time.
Meanwhile, the first three Impalas finished within a second of each other so Race Officer Sofia Mascia and her assistants had to be on their toes.
Another Etchells, 3722 helmed by Frank van Kempen took 4th place for the Netherlands. While Flying Fifteens Noisyforefather (France), 3882 (Japan) and Tchaikoffsky (Wales) took positions 8 to 10, respectively.
The first of the Big Boats, EFG Mc Mandrake (Ireland), finished in 20th spot and well ahead of her next direct competitor Whiskey Jack (England) in 29th place.
Day-2 of the Hebe Haven Spring Saturday Series takes place on Saturday March 15.