Much to everyone’s relief, not only did the wind do a complete 180 degree turn at around 1pm from West to East, but it also built from a negligible breeze, to a consistent 10 knots with gusts of up to 15. With a Hung Hom start, it was the Pandoras who were off first at 2pm followed by the Ruffians, the sole Dragon participant and the Flying 15s shortly after.
KW Chair’s Pandora Solistice was quick off the mark and took an early lead, whilst in the Ruffian Class it was Erwin Van den Berg’s Schannuleke that set the pace. On the Ruffian Scallywag, helmed by yours truly, the team’s determination to ensure crew member Michael (TR) Tepper-Rasmussen, returning to the United States, would leave Hong Kong and Scallywag on a high note, completely messed up the start being well over the line. We made our amends quickly but the damage was done and the leading Ruffian Schannuleke was an impossible target for the remainder of the race. Instead we set ourselves the goal of keeping up with 2014 Tomes Cup winner, the Ruffian Buster, not an easy feat.
The consistent winds and the ebbing tide enabled a fast beat towards the East end of Victoria Harbour towards SKW the first buoy. The first classes were already rounding the mark and heading for Kowloon Bay as the Etchells were let loose at 14:40, now chasing the Impalas and J80s which started 4 and 10 minutes before the Etchells respectively.
the consistent winds and the ebbing tide enabled a fast beat towards the East end of Victoria Harbour
Ambush was the last boat to start at 15:04 following Signal 8, Tornado, Straight Up and Gambit.
As the big boats set about reeling in the class boats ahead, at the front of the fleet, the smaller boats were fighting it out, with Schannulele taking Solstice and the Dragon Mei Fei making steady progress.
The course took the fleet twice up to the Eastern end of the Habour, the first time to SKW, the second to TKS, with the boats then sailing a small triangle around Gate Buoy, Kowloon Bay Buoy and Dock Buoy followed by loops between Gate Buoy and Dock Buoy.
The Committee boat was tasked with ending the race as close to 16:30 as possible, and opted to finish on the down wind leg close to Dock buoy. By this time the Dragon Mei Fei, helmed by Karl Grebstad and crewed by Hendrik Penndorf, had not only taken the lead, but also had gained a decent lead over the 2nd placed boat, Schannuleke and with both Signal 8 and Ambush coming up fast from behind the pair must have been relieved no additional lap was added. On Scallywag our foredeck Boie shared this relief – having pulled off 7 excellent spinnaker hoists and the same number of drops, she declared the next day “I slept for a full 12 hours following yesterday’s sail”.
On Scallywag we were happy with our final result of 12th place overall, but it was the Dragon’s day and the duo were rightly pleased with themselves. Immediately after the race Karl had a satisfied look on his face and in true fashion, when I asked “how did you get on?”, responded, “not bad. Well, there was no one in front of us at the finish!”
In 2nd place was the Ruffian Schannuleke helmed by Barry Hayes; in 3rd place the Etchell Jezebel, helmed by Peter Backe.
For the full race results click here
About the Tomes Cup: The Tomes Cup is a pursuit race with staggered start times for each class of boat, allowing for boats of all sizes and speeds to compete against one another. On the course, this means that when a boat sails through the finishing line, her finishing position is already known based on her position over the line, rather than a handicap needing to be applied.