Published: Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Last weekend’s Hong Kong International Match Racing Regatta delivered two days of fierce competition in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour for the J/80 fleet.

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Hosts Intl Match Racing Regatta

The Apr 18-19 weekend proved to be challenging for both sailors and race management as a fickle southerly refused to stay steady. On Day 1, Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen elected to set up in Kowloon Bay to make the most of a 5 to 7-knot breeze and managed to fit three flights in before having to finish at mid-day when the wind died.

Two hours later, staying on Kowloon side, Strompf-Jepsen found a little breeze at Kwun Tong and managed to take the schedule through to the end of Flight 7 before calling it a day, leaving three flights to go in the round robin element of the competition. Maxi Soh (SIN) was looking good with four wins out of four matches, with Jeremy Koo (MAS) at 6/5, and Peter Backe (SE) at 5/4 also at the top of the table.

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Hosts Intl Match Racing Regatta 2

On Day 2 the racing followed a similar pattern, with Kowloon Bay looking like a good place to start, but in spite of postponing the start, the breeze didn’t fill in as forecast, and after Flight 8, the RO opted to move to Junk Bay, to the east of Victoria Harbour, where advance RIBs had found 10 to 15-knots of solid south westerly. 

The RO and umpires agreed that there was sufficient breeze to complete the round robin section, and Flights 9 and 10 were dispatched without delay, with the final match being the decider for round robin first and second between Maxi Soh and Jeremy Koo. This provided spectators with a very close match, resulting in a win for Soh.

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Hosts Intl Match Racing Regatta 3

As first placed competitor, Soh was offered the choice of opponent for the semi finals, selecting Guy Brearey (GRB) and leaving Koo to take on Peter Backe. The first team to two wins advanced to the final. After drawing lots for boats, the first flight of the semis saw Koo beat Backe and Soh beat Brearey in a fiercely contested race while the second flight was more open, with clear wins for Koo and Soh.

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Hosts Intl Match Racing Regatta 5

After another boat draw, the Petit Final and Final flights started in 6 to 8-knots of breeze. The Petit Final produced close competition, with the lead changing hands from mark to mark, but it was Breary who held on to win two in a row and claim third place overall. 

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Hosts Intl Match Racing Regatta 4

Two wins was the magic target, and Soh found himself an easy one up after Koo tacked late around the bottom mark and snagged his spinnaker on the jib furler. Soh led the second race all the way in dying breeze and although the boats were close on the water, Koo had picked up a penalty which had to be cleared before he crossed the finish line, so it was a clear win for both the race and the regatta for Soh.

Hong Kong International Match Racing Regatta results

4th – Peter Backe

3rd – Guy Brearey

2nd – Sime Darby Foundation / Jeremy Koo

1st – CMG / Maxi Soh