Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Rolex China Sea Race 2014 - big fleet raring to go

by RHKYC on 4 Apr 2014
2012 China Sea Race Trophy Winner Zanzibar - Jonathan Mahony, back to defend the title © RHKYC/Guy Nowell http://www.guynowell.com/
Final preparations are underway for the 27th China Sea Race, organised by Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and sponsored by Rolex since 2008.

The entrants are currently tying up the loose ends of the Category 1 Offshore scrutineering process, finalising their crews and making sure they have satisfied the requirements for practice drills and safety training. In spite of the ever more rigorous safety requirements for offshore racing, this year’s entry list is 34-strong; up from 26 boats in 2012 and exceeding 30 boats for the first time since the millennium edition.


This classic Cat 1 offshore race is nothing if not cosmopolitan, encompassing mostly amateur sailors from every continent, an age range of 70 years (from 17 year olds Wilhelm Christensson and Aymeric Gillard to Syd Fischer at 87) and at least 20 female sailors. Experienced sailors with over 20 Sydney-Hobarts and VOR experience rub shoulders with those for whom the 2014 Rolex China Sea Race will be their first extended taste of offshore sailing.

IRC Overall should provide a riveting competition, with the fleet containing four skippers who are former winners of the China Sea Race Trophy – Neil Pryde on Hi Fi (1988, 2010), Jonathan Mahony on Zanzibar (2012), Ernesto Echauz on Standard Insurance Centennial (1998, 2008) and Sam Chan on FreeFire (2004) but each division offers its own compelling microcosm of skill, tactics and boat set-up.




Out of the six boats entered in IRC Racer 0, Chan (2004) and Pryde (2008, 2010) have also inscribed their names on the Sunday Telegraph Trophy for Line Honours. They are joined by the legendary Syd Fischer on Ragamuffin 90 (which claimed line honours under Geoff Hill as Genuine Risk in 2012), Bryon Ehrhart on TP52 Lucky (IRC Overall winner of the 2013 Hong Kong to Vietnam Race) and Geoff Hill’s Smith 72, Antipodes, also targeting a fast time.

From overseas, IRC Racing 1 welcomes back Zanzibar, together with Dr Jon Wardill’s Australian Maid, a veteran of the passage from Hong Kong to Subic Bay and David Ross’ Ker 40 KuKuKERchu competing in the race for the first time. They are joined by eight members of the ‘Hot 40’s’ which form the backbone of Hong Kong’s – and indeed Asia’s – IRC racing scene. EFG Bank Mandrake probably came closest to glory in 2012, finishing second in IRC overall, only 22 minutes behind Zanzibar, but Ambush and Redeye come with heaps of experience while Krampus and Ramrod are keen to make their mark as first-timers.

Given the well-documented tactical decisions required in the approach to the Philippine coast, where the diurnal breeze can either make or break a boat’s race depending at what time of day they approach Grande Island at the entrance to Subic Bay, it would be unwise to write off any of the 34 boats for a corrected time win.

IRC Racing 2 features 2011 San Fernando Race winner, the Archambault 35, Red Kite II, which will be hoping to pull off a win over the bigger boats, along with A40s Sell Side Dream and Sea Wolf and Sydney 36 Talkinghead.




It is Sea Wolf‘s first Cat. 1 offshore and she means business, with the all-Chinese crew having sailed together since 2007, starting with the inaugural China Cup International Regatta and improving as a team to take second overall in a 14-strong IRC Racer 2 division in last year’s China Coast Regatta in Hong Kong.

Six boats grace the list of IRC Premier boats entered for the race and with over 12 China Sea Races under his belt, Pete Churchouse tried to explain the allure for Moonblue 2, commenting 'there are all these folks that think the Hobart Race is the ‘biggie’ for sailors and yes it is a classic hard race for sure. But this Rolex China Sea Race takes sailors much further offshore and well out of range of airborne help in the event of a disaster … I have had guys on board who have done literally double-digit Hobart races and get as sick as a dog on this Race given a very uncomfortable quartering sea on the first day out … It is not quite the benign tropical paradise that some people might imagine.'

If the 55 to 75 footers in Premier might have their eyes on line honours, the seven boats in IRC Cruising are equally ambitious. Race safety is paramount and the entire fleet has been training and going through the scrutineering process to ready the boats for the Victoria Harbour start in Hong Kong on 16 April.

With a 7-strong crew boasting more than 40 Cat 1 races between them, Eric Doguet of Ex Libris summed it up for all competitors when he noted that, even after 12 months of extensive preparations 'everyone is as excited as the first time and looking forward to the start, the finish and everything in between'.

The Rolex China Sea Race 2014 will start at 1320hrs (HKT) in Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong on Wednesday 16 April. All boats will carry a Yellowbrick tracker unit, which will report positions every 30 minutes, while the race will feature for the first time as a virtual race on Sailonline.org.

For more information about the Rolex China Sea Race, please visit:
www.rolexchinasearace.com


Zhik ZKG 660x82BandG Asia Triton2 660x82Guy Nowell - Red 660

Related Articles

Day 74 – Vendée Globe victory 24 hours from Le Cléac'h's grasp
British sailor Alex Thomson conceded that his chances of overhauling leader Armel LeCléac'h on the home strait were slim Alex Thomson today conceded that his chances of overhauling leader Armel Le Cléac'h on the home strait were slim, despite narrowing the gap to just 35 miles. In the last 24 hours Thomson, 42, has halved Le Cléach's lead of 70 miles but as the pair prepared to enter the final 300 miles of the solo round the world race this afternoon he said the advantage was now firmly with his French rival.
Posted today at 4:53 pm
Former Clipper Race skipper chasing Vendèe Globe glory
Alex, 42 from Gosport, made up 30nm on his French rival Armel le Clèac’h overnight to cut the deficit to around 40nm After more than 70 days, the Vendee Globe is set for an epic finish, with the youngest skipper to win the Clipper Race, Alex Thomson, closing in on the lead as the race enters into the final 24 hours. Alex, 42 from Gosport, made up 30 nautical miles on his French rival Armel le Clèac’h overnight to cut the deficit to around 40nm by Wednesday morning.
Posted today at 3:34 pm
Vendée2020Vision sailors inspired by Alex Thomson’s performance
The aim of Vendée2020Vision is to help progress these sailors up to the next rung of the ladder. To help them with their fund raising, Vendée2020Vision sailors last year had the opportunity to take part in 12 bespoke training modules.
Posted today at 1:58 pm
Inaugural GC32 Championship coming up next month
A joint gathering of the international fleets of GC32 one design foiling catamarans is to take place in Muscat This will be the first occasion ever that the GC32 Racing Tour and the Extreme Sailing Series™ fleets have combined to lock horns on the race course.
Posted today at 12:44 pm
Vendee Globe – Thomson races towards the finish against French rival
British sailor Alex Thomson is in second place with just 40 nautical miles behind French rival Armel Le Cléac’h. With just 390 nautical miles left to the finish port of Les Sable d’Olonne and less than two days until the leading duo are expected to complete the solo, non-stop, around the world race, British sailor Alex Thomson is in second place with just 40 nautical miles behind French rival Armel Le Cléac’h.
Posted today at 11:15 am
Vendee Globe - Thomson reduces margin but has to make vital decision
Single-handed monohull world record holder, Alex Thomson, continues to gnaw away at Banque Populaire VIII's lead Single-handed monohull world record holder, Alex Thomson, continues to gnaw away at Banque Populaire VIII's lead in the Vendee Globe Race. The margin between the first and second boat is now just 36nm.
Posted today at 10:55 am
Vendee Globe - One tack holds key to Vendée Globe glory
Victory in the solo round the world race now comes down to one crucial last manoeuvre. With less than 40 miles separating Vendée Globe leader Armel Le Cléac'h from second-placed Alex Thomson this morning and under 400 nautical miles left to the finish line, victory in the solo round the world race now comes down to one crucial last manoeuvre.
Posted today at 6:57 am
Setting a new standard for not only solo sailing, but monohull sailing
Doyle Sailmakers is enjoying the down to the wire pace of this years 2017 Vendée Globe unfolding this week. Doyle Sailmakers is enjoying the down to the wire pace of this years 2017 Vendée Globe unfolding this week. With UK sailor, Alex Thomson, on board Hugo Boss, and Armel LeCléac’h just 42.2 nautical miles ahead, we have seen seamanship, racing skills, and the sheer skills of both sailors.
Posted today at 2:13 am
Vendee Globe - Thomson cuts 33nm out of Le Cleac'h with 48hrs left
Britain's Alex Thomson sailing Hugo Boss has made a big reduction in the lead of Armel Le Cleac'h Britain's Alex Thomson sailing Hugo Boss has made a big reduction in the lead of Armel Le Cleac'h in the final stages of the Vendee Globe Race. The official margin of just 45nm - a gain of 30nm in the last 24 hours was confirmed using the weather routing function of Predictwind. Most of Thomson's gain has come on the last seven hours.
Posted on 17 Jan
Zhik Xeflex® - your shield against cold environments
This radiant barrier mid-layer nearly defies description. This radiant barrier mid-layer nearly defies description. How do you make a water resistant garment that really breathes, yet reflects your own body heat back to you? Where do you find a compression resistant and extremely insulating filling that is nowhere near as bulky as the Michelin Man, yet gives you that kind of warmth and comfort?
Posted on 17 Jan