DBYC Drag Race Training Day | 9th March 2019

March 1, 2019

The story is about a yacht club that has been stripped of its home, its premises and storage facilities gone. The spirits and memories of over 25 years of fun and serious sailing out brought back by the photographs on the Bilge Bar walls ripped away.

The lives and family homes of many of the members also ripped away from them by a calculated act of proportions and reason difficult to fathom.

With a spirit and determination Commodore Nik von de Leuhe has pulled this Club back together with the banner “The show must go on” ! A Xmas party held at Mui Wo attracted the largest turn out for several years at a time when most thought the mood was to dark and sombre even to think of a party. What would we celebrate? The misery and non-sensical sadness around us all? Apparently not. We celebrated the wonderful friendships and fun times the club had brought into being for its members and made a pact that the party must continue.

From there Nik arranged several weekend sails for those who were able but with the dissolution of the marina many of the larger yachts were sold or moved away to other locations. The whole viability of the club going forward was now under question given no premises, storage facilities or common place of residence for many of the members who had previous lived as neighbours in the marina.

So the event schedule was also cast in doubt as several of the event organisers would no longer be available having to focus on relocating their families etc.

So with the first event not going ahead the pressure was on to get the second event of 2019 to happen.

The Drag Races are always difficult to get good attendance as they fall at a time of the year that has many away on holiday or business.

Born out of a situation many years ago where many skippers were unable to get their vessels and crews to the start line within 2 or 3 minutes of the start gun the Drag Races are a shake down training exercise to dust off the rust and get crews and skippers up and for the more challenging events of the year. (Perhaps!)

The day consists of a series of 4 or 5 races with the focus on getting across the start line on the gun in the best position to get to to the top mark first. Sometimes we have spinnakers after the top mark rounding. Other times we focus on learning how to get the best speeds out of white sails and working on VMG angles to get to the finish line.

Thursday 7 March saw the Race Officer heading into the mist out of Silvermine Bay in his 14ft dinghy bound for Cheung Chau where the RO box and buoys and anchors had been tracked down to previous Commodore St John Cameron’s rooftop. 

With a great cup of tea and shelter from the rainstorm from Lindsay Pickles who had just arrived back from UK that morning and was enjoying finally relaxing in her new floating home we set out to collect the gear between squalls and then headed back heavily laden to Mui Wo where the tender with gear ready to go to DB was anchored half way up the River Silver to enable exit by lunchtime the next day.

That nigh a storm of storms beat down on the great Lantau mountains and the river rose 2 ft and became a raging torrent flipping the tender and tipping its contents into the river. Those that could float floated away, the heavy items sank to the bottom. After over 10 years of faithful service my tender had finally foundered and I was left standing on the river bank trying not to believe what I was looking at.

Stay calm! Stay calm! The echo in my brain I walked into the river and somehow with all my strength and Adrenalin managed to right the vessel and recover most of the Racing equipment including the RO’s box. Unfortunately the Racing Rules of Sailing now has all its pages stuck together but it was out of date anyway!

Somehow the buoys and most of the equipment had floated up under the hull and could be rescued. The anchors were on the bottom in 4 ft of water. With the 4:30pm Inters-islander Ferry looming the tender was walked up stream into the shallows with most of the racing equipment needed aboard. Then a large trolley was employed to get the gear to the ferry to Peng Chau and then across to DB where it was stored in Jeremy Blackwell’s tender. Jeremy kindly donated the use of his tender for the Race but unfortunately forgot he had the key so we had to prevail on Simon Ludlow for the use of his once he had got his crew and equipment on board.

The briefing on Sat morning was held in the new DBYC club rooms on Nim Shue Wan pier which have just been very kindly refurbished after being wrecked by the typhoon last year. It it a lovely airy and sunny place well ventilated but somewhat damp if it rains.

Richard Fung had bravely volunteered the use of his large Searay as Committee boat and this to a large degree enabled the event to go ahead.

Of 9 yachts entered 2 withdrew due probably to the bad weather forecast however the overcast conditions did allow 4 reasonable races with average wind speeds of 6-9 knots although several yachts still had trouble getting to the startline in time for the race!

Racing was called off after 4 Races when windspeeds fell to zero.

Crews and skippers retired to the club rooms on Nim Shue Wan Pier for the prize giving and beers and some well directed banter at the RO who had to award himself the Venerable Toilet Seat for parking his dinghy at right angles to the current when he should have known a lot better!

Prizes went to Brendan Dunne on Speedy Gonzales for Third in a closely fought battle with Simon Ludlow on  Illusion for Second who used his larger yachts momentum and VMG to very good effect. A pirate raider from Middle Island called ‘Wicked’ skippered by Mike Delaney ex ‘Boadicea’ (RIP) used her new North Sails to make it no contest for 1st place.

Well done to all those who came and enjoyed yet another great day out on the water and great company afterwards.

Our festivities were cut short by an incredible purple thunder cloud with over 40knots in it which scattered revellers to the nearest bar but also caught out several skippers who were stranded on their yachts in the mooring area for an hour until the stormed passed.

Such are the trials and tribulations of sailing.

And still we want more!

The show must go on!


Ken Wiltshire

RO & Event Coordinator Drag Races 2019







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