Photo: Guy Nowell

Hong Kong out to win

Strong out to claim Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup

Friday July 20th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

After finishing second in the 2010 event, Hong Kong will again be sending a team comprising mostly Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club members to the Brewin Dolphin Commodore’s Cup, recognised as the most important Corinthian big boat team event in the world.

Attending for the third time as a skipper for Hong Kong will be Jamie McWilliam, this time in charge of the team’s big boat, the Ker 40 Peninsula Signal 8, owned by the syndicate of McWilliam, legends Keith Jacobs and Patrick Pender, and new enthusiasts Matt Hanning and Sam Kendall. Jamie was skipper of the ‘little’ boat in 2008 and the ‘middle’ boat in 2010, so 2012 will round out his collection. Peninsula Signal 8 finished third overall in IRC 0 at Cork Week last weekend.

Another skipper back for a dose of this challenging format is Nick Burns. He has chartered RORC Commodore Mike Greville's Ker 39 Erivale III and is renaming it EFG Bank Mandrake in recognition of the fact that this is very much a team garnered from his own boat of the same name, which has been the top 40-footer in Hong Kong for the past 18 months. Burns and his co-owner Fred Kinmonth took EFG Bank Mandrake to five wins from seven starts in the 2011 China Coast Regatta, and five bullets from five starts in the 2012 Big Boat Spring Cup. Burns raced the same boat in the 2010 Commodores’ Cup before shipping it to Asia, and recently they continued their rich vein of form with a win in class at the Samui Regatta.

Rounding out the team is the Grand Soleil 43 Quokka 8, chartered by the trio of Ante Razmilovic, Joachim Isler and Andrew Taylor, which has a very good rating and is known to be an IRC bandit in its weather. Skipper, Ante Razmilovic who is new to the event, is a demon Etchells sailor who has made a big impact on the local scene since moving back from London two years ago.

Joachim Isler, RHKYC’s newly-elected Commodore, is in his third foray to the Solent (2008, Orient Express; 2010, Rockall).

Isler, who is also the Hong Kong Team Captain, said: “We have a very good team for many of whom this is third time in a row at this regatta. We have three excellent boats and are well prepared. It will be a tough regatta though with no discards so all three boats will have to do well in each and every race. Conditions are "improving", i.e. it won’t be as cold and wet as forecasted only a few days ago, which also means fairly light airs early next week onwards. Such light conditions will be challenging as well though, in quite a different way…”

Also among the group is Isler’s co-owner of renowned Hong Kong Mills 41, Ambush, Drew Taylor. Taylor was also racing in 2010 on the team’s small boat so, all in all, there is a lot of experience at the sharp end of the Hong Kong challenge.

The Commodores’ Cup, sponsored by Brewin Dolphin investment managers and bankers, comprises an overnight offshore race, a Round the Isle of Wight race, and three days of in-shore racing in what can often be strong winds and always strong tides. For 2012 the RORC has changed the format so that all boats start every race together, returning the regatta closer to the historic Admiral’s Cup format. It is likely to make the racing tougher – especially for the smaller-sized boats – and avoiding bad scores is likely to become as important as getting race wins. McWilliam and his team have their hands full in this regard as three sister ships are racing – two for the English teams and one for the Dutch team. It’s not the same as the Admirals’ Cup but it’s a testing and highly competitive week.

The RHKYC website and Facebook page will both carry regular updates on the event as it gets under way. With plenty of local knowledge on all three boats, and a top Solent weather
guru signed up to give a daily briefing, there is every hope that the Hong Kong team can be on the podium again.

EFG Bank Mandrake
Bow - Peter Austin
Mast - Florent Chappette
Pit - Denis Martinet
Cockpit - Andrew Holdsworth
Trim - Peter Fletcher
Trim - Anthony Day
Main - Nick Burns (skipper)
Helm - Laurence Mead (Hong Kong Team Co-ordinator)
Tactics - Phil Lawrence
Navigator - Lauren Mead

Peninsula Signal 8
Bow - Paul Hetherington
Pit - Dave Bolton
Trim - Sam Haines
Trim 2 - Emily Randall
Main - Tom McWilliam
Helm - Patrick Pender
Runners - Keith Jacobs
Tactics - Jamie McWilliam (skipper)
Navigator- Chris Frost
Pedestal - Matt Hanning

Quokka 8
Bow - Iain Chapman
Mid Bow - Paul Rechten
Mast - Philip Crinion
Pit - Mike Halkes
Cockpit - Martin Moody
Trim (Upwind) - Andrew Taylor
Trim (Downwind) - Joachim Isler (Hong Kong Team Captain)
Main - Brian Hammersley
Helm - Ante Razmilovic (skipper)
Navigator - Tim Haines
Tactics - David Bedford
Marty Kaye

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