Leg 2 of our Summer Sunday Series July 27 saw some exciting light-wind racing in both the F18 and N16 fleets, but the day’s main news was that a fast-approaching thunderstorm forced the Race Officer to cancel the second and third races and order everyone to sail for their lives!
Thirteen boats signed in for Sunday’s race, many sailed by newcomers. At the briefing, Chris Fraser, Race Officer for the day, lead the group in welcoming Awah’s help in race management. We settled on two round-the-cans races, each two sausages with a downwind finish, followed by a short island race rounding the windward mark to starboard, then circling Kau Yi Chau and Siu Kau Yi Chau to starboard before crossing the line for a downwind finish. Awah set a perfect medium-distance course out by Kau Yi Chau.
Race 1 started in a light but steady 6kn easterly, which went up and down during the race, making race tactics partly a matter of luck. In the F18 fleet, Chris & Ed on Nacra 1600 and Martin & Sylvain on Nacra 1145 had a match race worthy of the America’s Cup, several times crossing each other and giving the starboard boat a chance to force the other boat down. Chris & Ed managed to slip into the lead on the last leg and hold it to the end, finishing just 18s ahead. Meanwhile, Andy & Phil on Nacra 1487 won a close fight for third with Ross & Brian on the C2 300.
Among the Hobie 16s, Jimmy & Carol on 111735 dueled with Gabriel & Cindy on 113788, emerging on top 49:45 to 50:58, with Doris & Iain on the Nacra 500s finishing in the same group at 50:47. Clara & Adam on 112137 had a tight race with Water & Cho on 110557, crossing the line less than a minute ahead.
For a short while after the F18s finished, it looked like the wind might improve a bit for Race 2. It then almost died completely, just as an ominous black cloud appeared on the horizon to the south. Within minutes, we could see thunderbolts striking the sea south of Lamma and the Race Officer shouted for all boats to return to the beach as fast as they could. Halfway there, the fleet was hit by a series of wild southerly gusts, capsizing two Hobies and the Nacra 500s and bringing Ross & Brian on the C2 within centimeters of a nasty pitchpole. With Awah’s help, the entire fleet reached the beach safe and sound as the downpour hit. The race to the beach turned out to be the day’s highlight, and it was a pleasure to have the heavy rain wash the boats for us! The boats packed away, the fleet enjoyed a savory BBQ served up by Cindy and her team of chefs.