Published: Monday, 25 April 2016

Three days of competition saw eight international teams battle it out in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour for the right to lift the trophy in the 2016 California Insurance Match Racing International Regatta (Apr 22-24), held by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC).

Maxi Soh Triumphs At Match Racing Intl Regatta

(Photo: Guy Nowell / Maxi Soh (with trophy) and crew with California Insurance CEO Clifford Yang (right))

Singapore’s Maxi Soh claimed the top spot, followed by Ollie Pekka of Finland and Hong Kong’s Peter Backe in third.

The first day started off in painstaking conditions with the first match lasting 40 minutes and seven seconds - a theme that was continued over the three days of racing.

The first round robin saw Pekka enjoying six out of seven wins ahead of Maxi Soh and Peter Backe each with five.

Maxi Soh Triumphs At Match Racing Intl Regatta 1

(Photos: Guy Nowell / California Insurance)

Unfortunately the team from Japan was eliminated after the first round robin with the top six proceeding to the quarterfinal round robin the following day.

The quarter-final proceeded with three out of the five flights completed by the end of racing on Saturday.  The matches were completed in light, challenging conditions on Sunday morning.  With the top four teams – Maxi Soh, Peter Backe, Olli Pekka Lumijarvi and Malaysia’s Jeremy Koo - going through to the semi-finals.

On the final day, only three matches of the semi-finals were completed by early afternoon.  In the first flight, two matches were sailed; Olli Pekka Lumijarvi beat Jeremy Koo and Maxi Soh edged out Peter Backe.  One match was sailed in the second flight where Jeremy Koo bested Olli Pekka Lumijarvi.

Maxi Soh Triumphs At Match Racing Intl Regatta 4

After that, the race management team valiantly hunted for wind which was shifting 360-degrees; constantly being pulled by the multiple rain storms that came through. The race committee boat moved three times; ending up just off the Kellett Island Clubhouse. A final rainstorm came through putting the final nail in the coffin and the AP over A was hoisted.

In the end, final results were taken from a combination of the results from the semi-finals and also looking back at the quarter-finals for a resolution.

Race Officer, Inge-Strompf-Jepsen described the regatta as “very tough”, adding, “it’s probably been one of the toughest match racing regattas I have ever done. We have had very fluky winds over the three days and basically we had tried hard and Mother Nature won.”

Maxi Soh Triumphs At Match Racing Intl Regatta 2

A prize giving was held after very welcome hot showers back at the RHKYC Clubhouse.  California Insurance Company Limited CEO Clifford Yang presented prizes and also pledged to continue its sponsorship of the event.

The last word goes to the eventual winner, Maxi Soh, “the regatta was good with tough conditions though. The weather was really hard and the wind and conditions weren’t that easy but nonetheless it was a lot of fun! “