by RHKYC Media
24 hours into the RHKYC-organised Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race and 13 of 17 boats are still racing.
Late yesterday Avant Garde was the first casualty, retiring after three fruitless hours spent trying to fix a steering problem.
Then, in the early hours of Friday, the drama surrounding Walawala 2’s lost rudder unfolded, and then in another unrelated incident, EFG Bank Mandrake turned back for Hong Kong with steering problems.
Krampus, who retired after responding to Walawala 2’s distress flares and picking up the crew, is also on the way back - both Krampus, an Anteros 36 and EFG Bank Mandrake, a Mills 40 Custom, are making good progress and are expected in Hong Kong tomorrow, Saturday at around 1100hrs local time.
Conditions have eased up slightly, with the Hong Kong Observatory predicting force 6 to 7 for the first 500nm to Vietnam, softening to force five to seven for the final stretch into Nha Trang. Ragamuffin 90 has been the first to suffer, dropping from a VMG of 20kts to around 13kts, with just over 60% of the race completed.
The projected finish times extrapolated from the Yellowbrick tracking data fluctuate wildly along with the conditions, so it is unclear if Ragamuffin, a Dubois 9,0 still has Skandia’s 2004 record time of 42h 45m 41s in her sights. It’s not even a ‘given’ (although it’s very likely) that she’ll claim Line Honours, as OneSails Racing and MACH2 are not far behind her in distance terms and could enjoy a better run into the finish if the breeze fills in from the north.
The competition on IRC handicap is red hot, with Signal 8 leading the rankings for the past five hours, ahead of sister Ker 40 kukuKERchu. TP52s, OneSails Racing and Lucky sandwich Island Fling, while Bermudian Sloop, Red Kite II is currently projected to finish sixth overall.
The current projections show all boats finishing before Monday 21 October, with Sea Monkey getting in around 2300hrs on Sunday 20 October. The fleet can expect force six to seven overnight tonight and, having survived the first night, will hopefully not experience any further damage.