The biennial Rolex China Sea Race commences mid-April, kicking off Rolex’s 2014 international yachting season. Running 565-nm from Hong Kong’s bustling Victoria Harbour, where traditional sampans compete for water space with modern commercial craft, it is Asia’s principal offshore competition. The race crosses the South China Sea, finishing in Subic Bay, The Philippines.
Hi Fi (HKG) claims 2008 Rolex China Sea Race line honours
The 2012 edition of the race marked the 50th anniversary of the competition and celebrations were suitably festive. Australian Geoff Hill’s 90-ft Maxi Genuine Risk claimed line honours in just over 60 hours, someway off the course record set by acclaimed local yachtsman Karl Kwok on his Volvo 60 Beau Geste (elapsed time 47 hours, 43 minutes and seven seconds) in 2000.
With a month to go until the start, the current entry list suggests a typical fleet of around 35 boats. In its new guise as Ragamuffin 90, skippered by Australian sailing legend Syd Fischer, the former Genuine Risk will start as favourite for line honours and is by some distance the largest competing yacht. Meanwhile, Hill will be campaigning the 72-ft Antipodes (GBR).
Jonathan Mahony’s 42-ft Zanzibar from Singapore, overall winner last time round, is returning to defend her crown having completed the most recent edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Three TP52s in American Brian Erhart’s Lucky, winner of the Rolex Middle Sea Race in 2010, Sam Chan’s FreeFire from Hong Kong and Ernesto Echauz’s Standard Insurance Centennial representing The Philippines will provide stiff competition. Echauz was overall winner of the event in 1998 and 2008 with Subic Centennial. Another sure protagonist is Neil Pryde’s Welbourne 52 Hi Fi of Hong Kong, line honours winner in 2008 and in 2010, when she also won on handicap.
The 27th edition of the Rolex China Sea Race commences at 13:10 local time on Wednesday 16 April. The latest entry list is available here.
Start of the 50th Rolex China Sea Race
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club by night
Sail change on 2008 Rolex China Sea Race overall winner SUBIC CENTENNIAL (PHI), skippered by Ernesto Echauz
Monday, 14 April
19:00 – 21:00 Welcome Party, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
Tuesday, 15 April
18:30 – 19:00 Skippers’ Briefing, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
Wednesday, 16 April
13:10 Race start, Victoria Harbour – Hong Kong
Sunday, 20 April
17:00 Location prizegiving, Subic Bay Yacht Club, The Philippines
Wednesday, 30 April
19:00 – 21:00 Final prizegiving, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
All times listed are local
For more detailed information about the 2014 Rolex China Sea Race including race documents and the current entry list please visit the Royal Hong Yacht Club website.