The 27th edition of the Rolex China Sea Race looks certain to feature yachting legend Syd Fischer on the silverware, with Ragamuffin 90 sailing consistently to extend an unassailable lead on the water over her closest rivals and expected to finish just before midnight tonight.
At 1500hrs HKT, after 49 hours of racing the Maxi was over 100nm ahead of nearest rival, Freefire who is locked in her own battle with Hi Fi, Antipodes and fellow TP52, Lucky.
Philippine entry, Standard Insurance Centennial, is nearly 30nm behind that group, having gambled by going far below the rhumb line in an attempt to catch better breeze, however this race is renowned for a tricky finish and with the projected IRC leaderboard changing constantly, nothing is certain in the battle for IRC supremacy until the boats have crossed the line at Subic Bay.
In IRC Racing one, having averaged over 6kts VMG since the start, KuKuKERchu is building up a handicap cushion over Ramrod and Australian Maid, with Signal 8 and Zanzibar in hot pursuit. In Racer two, Red Kite II is projected to win on handicap, ahead of Krampus and Sell Side Dream, while the Premier boats are forecast to finish overnight on Saturday / Sunday, currently being led on the water by Warwick 75 Shahtoosh.
Towards the back of the fleet, the Cruiser division has had a torrid time of it, with the breeze softening from behind. They are forecast to arrive in Subic Bay late Sunday and throughout Monday. Beneteau 44.7 Crystal has been leading the division on the water since the start, however with just under 300nm still to go, all the challenges of the coastal finish still lie before them.
All boats are carrying 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 click here