Saturday, November 24, 2012

J/80 JASMINE Wins Hong Kong Round Island!

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing Hong Kong Around Island Race(Hong Kong, China)- It's back! Hong Kong's largest and most inclusive sailing event featured 235 sailing boats, together with outrigger canoes and coastal rowing boats, that battled it out around Hong Kong Island.  It is a capricious 26nm course that would create moments of breath-taking beauty, "shock & awe" and anxiety due to currents, whirlpools and remarkably variable winds-- as any veteran "round islanders" would say, "that's all part of the fun! Makes for great sea stories and camaraderie afterwards!"

It was the proverbial "game of two halves" for the sailors, as 235 boats of all shapes and sizes gathered in Victoria Harbour for the start of this year's Tommy Bahama Around The Island Race. With 7 knots of breeze prevailing for the first starts at 0830hrs, the Pandora and HKPN 1 fleets got clear away, but the breeze then dropped to less than two knots for the later starts, leaving a flotilla of boats drifting gently towards Lei Yue Mun on the tide.

Hong Kong Around Island Race startThankfully the breeze filled in through the morning, giving the fleet a lift through the notorious Lei Yue Mun gap and round through Junk Bay to Shek O and Cape D'Aguilar. The Around The Island Race is highly tactical and a boat's light wind sailing technique possibly influences its result more than any other skill. This was the case again today, however for a change, the sticking point was Bluff Head to Stanley, while the usual parking lot of Cyberport was enjoying 15 to 20 knots of northerly, with good breeze to carry the boats around Green Island and into the western harbour approaches.

Hong Kong Around Island race course chartThe lead boat on the water was, unsurprisingly, Frank Pong's 72' JELIK (notably, an enthusiastic sponsor of several J/80s at Royal Hong Kong YC of the same name), who reached the Green Island Mark around 30 minutes ahead of Sam Chan's TP52 FREEFIRE. Given the conditions for the last 30% of the race, Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen made the decision to allow the boats to go "all the way" and JELIK took line honours at RHKYC Kellett Island after 3 hours and 43 minutes, with FREEFIRE following home just under 25 minutes later. In all, 184 boats recorded a finish at Kellett Island before enjoying a well–earned beer on the famous RHKYC decks.

Hong Kong Around Island race fleetThe Around The Island Race isn't only about who has the biggest and fastest boat, and the overall results are calculated on an RHKATI handicap, developed using the data from years of pursuit racing. After time correction, the results for IRC 2 Class saw Nick Southward's J/109 WHISKEY JACK avoid most pitfalls, but not all, to secure a 7th in their class.  On the one-design front, the J/80s showed up in force with thirteen boats participating. Leading them all home was Ben Bulmer's JASMINE winning their class by a rather substantial margin of 6+ minutes!  Second was David Fan's SEA BISCUIT, third was Henry Wong's FOOTLOOSE, fourth was Alex Cheung's FIGURE OF EIGHT and fifth was Karen Lam's MAY 13 (she was also first women skipper to finish).  Thanks for the contribution from Guy Nowell at Asia
For more Tommy Bahama Around the Island Race sailing information