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Newcomers shine at the Hong Kong Flying Fifteen Championship

by Hong Kong Flying Fifteen Class Association 14 Dec 2021 16:18 GMT 11-12 December 2021
Hong Kong Flying Fifteen Championship 2021 © Jonny Fullerton

Sixteen boats took part in the 2021 Hong Kong Flying Fifteen Class Championships over the weekend of Dec 11-12. The fleet included a record nine mixed crews.

Racing took place in Victoria Harbour in beautiful sunny weather. A total of six races were sailed in a mixture of testing wind and tidal conditions.

Pete Britten and Ollie Merz (3722) were worthy winners of the Championship. The story of the weekend however was the results of the newcomers to the Hong Kong fleet.

Day 1

A steady northeasterly breeze of 15 knots, a strong flood tide and choppy sea state greeted the first day of racing. Theme for the day was short tacking up the shore and picking lay lines across the channel.

The Championship kicked off with a super quick windward-leeward course. Three newcomers to the Hong Kong fleet swept the top 3 spots - James and Jim (3990) in first, Gina and Josh (3981) second, followed by Pete W and Marie (4015) third. Unfortunately, guest Ruffian sailors Oliver and Christina (3604) had a technical issue and were forced to return to the dock.

The second race was action packed. Gina and Josh (3981) broke their tiller extension and quickly resorted to sail tie and electrical tape - spirits were however not broken! The windward mark now in strong tide made picking lay lines a challenge. There were a few close calls, some light grazes, plenty of shouting and several penalty turns, including a heated debate as to the required number of turns! (names withheld to avoid embarrassment).

The final race of the day included a fleet favourite, the fast (and a little bit hairy!) reaching leg. Plenty of overtaking opportunities at the gybe mark. There was a photo finish for second with Tom and Beto (3997) pipping Tim and Edith (3876) by one second. It was great to welcome Tom back from a long hiatus.

After a day of hiking, the sailors returned to the club to enjoy (socially distanced) ice cold drinks before heading home to get some much-needed rest.

Day 2

Sailors woke, some refreshed, some hungover, to much lighter conditions. A shifty 7 knot northeasterly breeze with a building tide. Leaving the typhoon shelter was the first challenge. The annual Hong Kong cross harbour swim forced the fleet to take an unexpected detour through all the moored boats.

Race 4 was a game of snakes and ladders in the light breeze and tide. Sam and Kingston (4038) confidently led the first lap. James and Jim (3990) rounded the leeward mark in the back half of the fleet and decided to hit a corner and split the fleet. The strategy paid off overtaking the entire fleet. They rounded in first followed by Sam and Kingston (4038). The duel continued on the last downwind leg, with Sam and Kingston (4038) just taking their first win of the weekend by seconds. Pete B and Ollie (3722), the overnight leaders recovered to a creditable third followed by "Ruffian Oliver" (3604) in fourth.

The breeze was now softening with the relentless tide. A two lap windward-leeward sprint was set for Race 5. Pete B and Ollie (3722) secured their third bullet of the series and with it the overall Championship. Wai Chuen and guest crew Rita (3476) were particularly pleased with their fantastic third place.

The final race of the weekend started in very shifty conditions, the kind that drives crews nuts in the Hong Kong summer. Carlyon and Lucy's (3979) light air skills came to the fore. They took their first win which moved them to third in the overall Championship. James and Jim (3990), one of the 'newbie crews' were second and became Championship runners up. David and Michael (3701) had their best result with a great third place to round out their regatta.

With the Championship completed the fleet drifted home to much needed refreshments, food and the sharing of stories.

Special thanks to Peter and Jarl, the race officers, for overseeing a successful Championship and to the Flying Fifteen Class Secretary Tim Roberts and the rest of the committee for organising the two-day event.

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoPts
1 P Britten377210
2 J Betts399013
3C Knight‑Evans397922
4S Chan403823
5T Sheppard399724
6T Roberts387627
7G Chen398130
8D Chow370130
9WC Chan347644
10Y Kinhara373550
11O Cully360458
12J Komatsu382859
13P Wilkinson401567
14S Suen397871
15T Lee364973
16B Tam370076

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