Etchells Asia Pacific Championship
24 October to 26 October
Hong Kong (October 25, 2015) – In contrast to the light winds on the first day, today’s Etchells Asia Pacific Championship action started in a healthy 12 to 15kts of nor’easterly breeze, with 33 boats reporting to the start line. Race Officer Kevin Wilson set a 1.8nm beat and after a competitive start featuring one boat OCS, it was American entry Aretas which reached the windward mark at the front of the fleet, ahead of Chris Hamption’s Tango and Jake Gunther’s The Boat.
By the first run, the wind was gusting to 20kts and the heavier conditions took their toll, both in terms of equipment, with Irish entry Matatu Dubh retiring with a broken halyard and in terms of execution, with Michael Haehnel’s Fuzzy Duck retiring with her kite wrapped around the forestay. On the second beat, the fleet continued to favour the left, with positions in a state of flux. As the boats crossed the line, it was Jon McClean’s Aretas which held on to her lead and claimed the bullet, ahead of Graeme Taylor’s Magpie and Tango.
With the RO intending to fit three races in to make up on the schedule, there was no time wasted in resetting the pin boat for the second start of the day and reducing the windward leg to 1.7nm. Once again, boats were pushed over the start line early, with both No Dramas and Gunga Din clearing the line and restarting the race at the back of the fleet.
This time it was Hong Kong’s Mark Thornburrow on Racer X 2 who reached the windward mark first, ahead of Jake Gunther and African Queen, both regulars at the head of the fleet. With China White also having problems with an intertwined kite and forestay, the fleet was further depleted to 32 boats and with the breeze subsiding to 15kts, it was Jake Gunther who surfed over the line for first ahead of Racer X 2 and Magpie.
In 8 to 12kts, the fourth race of the Etchells Asia Pacific Championships got underway, with 31 boats on the start line and The Answer Is … and Scimitar being called on course side. As the breeze filled back in to 18kts, and the Ninepins swell began to build, a gaggle of the leading boats reached the windward mark at the same time. In a crowded mark rounding, Racer X 2 T-boned Magpie in a port starboard, resulting in the retirement of both boats. Magpie goes back to RHKYC Kellett Island tonight to enjoy the attentions of the fiberglass department and is unlikely to play any further part in the regatta.
Ante Razmilovic on Swedish Blue stayed well out of this altercation and let throughout the race to record their first bullet of the event ahead of Baby Doll and No Dramas. With two races scheduled for the final day of the regatta, the top of the leaderboard is tight, with only one discard on offer for the series. The Boat leads Scimitar by three points, with both Aretas and Racer X 2 only one point further back.