by Di Pearson
Shortly after breaking the Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam race record aboard Ragamuffin 90 this morning Hong Kong time, 86 year-old Syd Fischer told of the wild conditions on the first afternoon and night at sea.
Ragamuffin afterguard take the jolly boat out to the big ship
'It got very bumpy at one stage – it got quite wild the first night, but that’s yachting and you have to expect that. We were getting 25 to 28 knots from behind,' commented Fischer who said the yacht’s boat speed 'topped at 34 knots.'
'The boys did a good job – Witty (sailing master Dave Witt) drove the boat hard. Vanessa did a good job too,' Fischer said of Vanessa Dudley, the lone female on the crew and a capable helmswoman. Also on board for the high speed dash was double Olympic medallist and two times Volvo skipper, Ian Walker, who said '650 miles downwind in 20-25 knots of wind is a nice change from going the other way up the China Sea in the VOR.'
'It was a good race, a good crew and a good boat; it’s fast,' Fischer, from Mosman in Sydney said after beating Skandia's (Grant Wharington, AUS) 2004 time of 42h 45m 41s by just over 4 minutes, arriving at the Nha Trang finish line at 08:1120 this morning local time (11:11:20 Sydney time).
Although the conditions were mostly ideal, Fischer said: 'We thought we were going to lose it for a while there when the breeze went soft. We were counting down the miles just trying to keep the boat moving. We didn’t know we had it (the record) till right at the end.'
Crew setlle in pre-start - at the Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race
Ragamuffin 90, formerly Genuine Risk, underwent major modifications before arriving in Hong Kong for the 656 nautical mile race. Twin daggerboards were added, the rudder moved aft, the forward canard removed and changes to the aft deck to allow crew weight further aft all the way to transom. Powered sheet winches have been added, as has a new Doyle sails.
Ragamuffin's record breaking run can be seen on the Vietnam Hong Kong Race tracker
Ragamuffin Yachting Facebook page
Matt Humphries: "What's the number of that bar in Nha Trang?"
Syd Fischer (white cap) looking for breeze early this morning at the Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race