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2021 Autumn Regatta sponsored by HSBC Expat at Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

by Vivian Ngan 12 Sep 20:27 BST 11-12 September 2021

With two typhoons in the region, light winds had been predicted for the weekend but luckily for all Autumn Sponsored by HSBC Expat was successfully held with decent breeze holding over the weekend of 11 and 12 September raising the curtain on Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's 2021-2022 sailing season.

Open to all of Hong Kong's keelboat sailors, the regatta attracted more than 600 sailors across seven one-design classes, Sportsboats and Big Boats. 109 boats gathered in a hot and hazy afternoon for the start of race with an 8 to 10 kts Westerly.

Race Officer Barry Truhol opted for a start in Hung Hom, sending the fleet up Victoria Harbour before the fleets hoisted their kites offering a spectacular view to those watching from both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world featuring four TP52s racing in a small harbour and there were quite a few skippers in the smaller fleets nervously checking as they converged on Kowloon Bay mark. The biggest fleet on the start line, as usual, was the Etchells class with 22 boats.

Barry Truhol admitted he was surprised by the wind conditions on the first day "in the last three days, Hong Kong has been sandwiched between two typhoons, we were expecting a nightmare of wind, the forecast was for zero wind even this morning. But at 1000hrs, we had a 6 to 8kts westerly breeze which remained stable for the day allowing us to run westerly courses. The racing has been close with the fleets not spread out as much as the easterly courses, so it was a good day."

Saturday's race was also designated as the Bart's Bash event - "the Largest Sailing Event in the World". Bart's Bash is a global charity fund-raising sailing race taking place at more than 1000 yacht clubs across 63 countries over the same weekend.

The subsiding air of the super typhoon brought extremely hot and hazy weather in the second day of the Autumn Regatta Sponsored by HSBC Expat.

The westerly breeze dropped to 6 to 8 kts, all classes took part in two races with the start off Kowloon Bay, with the courses covering the Victoria Harbour area mainly between North Point and Kowloon Bay. The Big Boat Division 1 was sent a longer course beating up to the Wan Chai Convention Centre with four TP52s sailing through Victoria Harbour passed the Kellett Island Clubhouse and also delighting pedestrians enjoying the day out at the newly-opened Wanchai Promenade.

Although the wind weakened to 4kts near Kowloon Bay at noon, with the breeze holding at western part of the course, all fleets were allowed to complete their full course. In Big Boat Division 1 Marcel/ Liedts' Ker 46 Zannekin tied with Shawn Kang's TP52 Alpha+ with 5 points. Eventually, Zannekin took the overall on count back. In Division 2, James Verner's Nightshift took the win with one bullet in Race 2. In Division 3, it was Dean Chisholm's Hanse 40 Darling taking the overall win.

In the biggest fleet, Etchells, Jamie Boag's Noddy took two bullets out of three races, anointing them as overall winner in their class. J/80 Footloose, Dragon Zephyr, Pandora Solstice and Ruffian Helios and Flying Fifteen Niffty all held on to their first day leads and took 1st place in their respective classes. Impala Taxi took 2-1 today, picking up the silverware in their class. In the Sportsboat class, VX One Serendipty retired from the third race, and so Ironman is the new winner in the class after scoring 2-2.