Sam Chan’s seven year old TP52, FreeFire, will have 15 regular offshore and regatta crew on board 'including a few old ones making a re-appearance' adds Russ Parker, FreeFire’s Person in Charge for the Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race.
While there isn’t anyone on board who has competed in all five of the previous editions of the Race, Sam Chan (who has done four HKV Races) and Gray Gibson did compete in the first Race in 1996 on the original FfreeFire 70, winning Line Honours. Gordon Gregor and Russ Parker have done every Race since then and 2013 will make it their fifth, together with Sam. With this Race, Russ Parker is reaching a milestone - this will be his 30th Cat 1 race across the South China Sea - surely something to celebrate!
The Hong Kong to Vietnam Race hasn’t been an especially lucky one for the team, as Russ explains. 'In 2006 on the white TP (FfreeFire 52), the front wall of our brand new mast failed under compression from the spinnaker pole - we retired but carried on. In 2011 the bowsprit broke off FreeFire on the first night, however we continued at a slightly slower SOG until about 60nm out, when the rudder stock tore in torsion and we had to retire!' Here’s hoping their run of bad luck has finished!
FreeFire is certainly looking to win this Race - as Sam says 'We’re out to finally win it – it’s the only Asian offshore Cat 1 title to elude FreeFire so far.' Whilst Sam and Russ admit there’s not much they can do about the 90s (Ragamuffin and Chivas), they predict they’ll 'have a good race with OneSails Racing and Lucky, the other two TP52s entered.'
We did ask them what they were looking forward to the most with the request that they didn’t just say 'finishing and winning' but that’s what they did come back with and, given the bad luck they’ve had before, it’s rather apt!
by RHKYC Media
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8:09 AM Tue 8 Oct 2013GMT
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