It’s been a long time since I have done so much motoring in 2 days on a racing boat.
Fist off, yesterday morning we motored form Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club base at Causeway Bay to the start line for the China Cup off Steep Island to the east of the Hong Kong SAR, that was 1 and a half hours. 30 Beneteau 40.7s and assisted IRC boats, the largest of which was Jelik 3, a sister of Pyewacket and assorted HK Handicap boats.
The line was set fair by the PRO but the Beneteaus were a little eager, in fact too many of them for the race officer to catch were a little eager and the two additional hoots meant we had to go to the back of the queue to try again.
At the second attempt we were off for what was to turn out to be a long beat in about 8-10 knots of breeze and a 2m swell.
It was going to be a long way to Dawa Wan (Bay) and the finish line off Longcheer Yacht Club in Shenzhen. Longer than we would know as the wind started to shut down as we approached the turn into the bay.
Fortunately the race officer, Russ had taken a race around the corner and having found just 2 knots decided to shorten off the coast. The last 500m though was very frustrating with boat on almost identical tracks on different tacks.
What looked like being a bottom third finish was nicely elevated to exactly mid fleet with a 16/30 by being on the right side and in the last 200m we passed 5 boats.
Then on with the iron topsail for another hour plus to the marina.
There, because we had come from Hong Kong to PR China we had to pass through immigration which had been set up especially for the event, a unique experience as the officials checked our passports with many of us sucking on a bottle of the free beer supplied by one of the sponsors. Can you imagine getting away with that at Kennedy or LAX – and they say China has npo freedoms – Ha!
After a good night sleep it was back on the shuttle bus to the marina and some round the cans racing – Oh no it wasn’t.
The wind gods refused to play ball at all and after about an hour in the one spot the committee boat guys thought they saw the wind in a different part of the pay – off they charged.
In their wake were almost 50 racing yachts giving chase. They only caught up when the committee boat stopped where they thought there might be enough wind for a start but rather suspiciously they didn’t drop their anchor.
Many, many more minutes putt-putting around and off went the committee boat again, it was starting to look like a guided tour round Dawa Bay. Again nothing but there was breeze a bit further north so off went the committee boat again and this time when it stopped the anchor chain rattled down into the water and the two mark boats headed off hopefully, one to windward an the other to lay the pin.
But it was not to be. Russ Parker the PRO and his team had tried valiantly for almost 4 hours to find a big enough patch of stable breeze for us yachties to go and play and though no fault of his there was really nothing to find.
So we motored back to the marina – at least we had plenty energy left for the beach party put on by the organisers, complete with hi tech sound and light show and some half decent DJ’s.
Only damage this day was one of the Beijing Sailing Team went over the ankle and was stretchered off the pontoons although I can happily report seeing him at the beach party later without the aid for a stick – anything for the attention of some pretty girls.
Tough to drag the team away early but we have a long day with 3 scheduled races tomorrow to make up for today.