Hong Kong Race Week’s first day of competition got underway today with racing taking place in very windy conditions in four separate areas.
The Optimist Green Fleet at Area A faced very challenging conditions which saw 8 to 10kts of wind phasing 50 degrees and gusting 18 to 25kts. Race Officer Alex Hill said “The young sailors did an incredible job; they really managed it quite well and we managed to get three races off. There was a bit of confusion amongst inexperienced racers about courses and things but nothing serious so we had no major issues. A few people spent some time in the water but nothing too extreme – just a couple of cold sailors. Overall, a very successful day.”
It was a similar situation over at Area B where the Optimists saw an average of 18kts with gusts going up to 25kts throughout the day. A fleet of 70 boats got out to the start line however by the finish of the first race there were only had 47 finishers. A large number of resources were needed to ensure the safety of all of the young sailors and everyone did a fantastic job. Race Officer Sofia Mascia said “I was very impressed with how the sailors handled the tough conditions and many of them sailed beautiful races. We had a total of three races on an Optimist Worlds course with duration of 40 minutes. We were lucky that the winds kept coming from a steady direction and we had no need to adjust the course; with the exception of a runaway gate mark. The starts were quiet as a strong tide pushed the boats away from the line preventing OCS’. All in all, a good first day for the Optimist fleet, where with hopefully lighter winds in the days to come, we will see the need for other sorts of abilities and much more competition.”
The 420, 470, 2.4 Metre, Laser 4.7 and Laser Radial classes were at Area C under the watchful eye of Race Officer Brenda Davies who said “We got out to the course in good time and had a nice wind of 20kts in a pretty steady direction. We had issues however in various parts of the course with getting our marks to stick given the strong winds so unfortunately I had to ‘AP’ several times and then the start pin wouldn’t stick so we ended up starting almost an hour late, but once we got started everything ran smoothly and we didn’t have to alter course. There was a good steady 20kts throughout the day and quite a few boats failed in the conditions and went back in but we had a good number that stayed out. The biggest attrition was from the 420 fleet where we ended up with just two. So today we basically had good sailing and good wind. We shortened the last race for everyone by a lap so that everyone could get home in light and get into a hot shower as soon as possible.”
Area D had a split fleet. 29ers and Hobie 16s in one half and the RSXs, Techno 293s and RSOnes in the other. Race Officer Dave Norton said “It was a very busy day on the Area D racecourse with two classes in the morning and three classes in the afternoon with a total of 15 starts. We had some great wind; 15kts for most of the morning dropping off to about 12kts in the afternoon. There were some great starts, some great action and very clean wind.”