sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Rolex China Sea Race - Veterans steal the headlines
Rolex China Sea Race - Veterans steal the headlines

'Rolex China Sea Race 2014. Ragamuffin 90'    © RHKYC/Guy Nowell    Click Here to view large photo

In the 2014 Rolex China Sea Race, two yachtsmen seemingly in the twilight of their sailing careers stole the headlines and plaudits at a memorable edition of the event.

Syd Fischer, 87 years young, a veteran of 45 Rolex Sydney Hobarts, winner of the Rolex Fastnet in 1971 and five-time challenger of the America’s Cup, skippered Ragamuffin 90, the race’s largest and fastest boat to line honours. 74-year old Neil Pryde, a racing sailor for 60 years, guided his 52-ft Hi Fi to outright victory for the second time in four years, and with a victory back in 1988 became the first skipper to win the race on handicap three times.

The 27th Rolex China Sea Race welcomed 34 boats, the highest number since the turn of this century. 'We’re back to the numbers where the race was in yesteryear,' explained Joachim Isler, Commodore of organizers the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, 'the growth is due to the popularity of yachting, the support we get from Rolex and the fact that Rolex gives the race more interest to overseas competitors. This is the oldest and most meaningful offshore race in the region.'

Overseas entries totalled seven. Bryon Ehrhart’s TP52 Lucky from the United States was one of the participants expected to make an impact, Lucky having proved her offshore prowess by winning the 606-nm Rolex Middle Sea Race in 2010. In preparation for a stern offshore challenge, Ehrhart reinforced his crew with the inclusion of navigator Adrienne Cahalan, the most experienced female sailor in Rolex Sydney Hobart history, 22 appearances, and multiple line honours victories onboard the all-conquering 100-ft Maxi Wild Oats XI.

Cahalan was charting new waters. 'This is my first time doing the race and indeed sailing in Hong Kong, The Philippines or the South China Sea,' she revealed. 'I’ve sailed with the team before and there is a nice fleet of TP52s, so we’re looking forward to good close, racing.' The TP52 fleet also included Hong Kong entry Freefire and Standard Insurance Centennial, the latter skippered by Ernesto Echauz (overall winner in 1998 and 2008), the only entry from the arrival destination of The Philippines.

Completing the international entry list were boats representing Australia, Singapore and the United Kingdom as well as the first ever crew entirely composed of sailors from mainland China, those onboard Seawolf.

Fischer’s Ragamuffin 90 led the race from start to finish, departing from Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong in decent but not dramatic breeze, on route to a 565-nm journey through the South China Sea to Subic Bay, The Philippines. Her lead on the water was never threatened nor though was the race record set by Karl Kwok on the Volvo 60 Beau Geste in 2000.

Ragamuffin played it relatively safe, staying close to the rhumb line. 'Tactically it wasn’t difficult. The race got a little bit frustrating especially at the end. It was very light, we only saw 18 knots in the last two hours on the approach to the harbour. Until then we never saw breeze over 10 knots,' explained David Witt, boat captain. Witt paid tribute to the crew’s extraordinary skipper. 'He’s amazing isn’t he? 87 years old and he’s sat on the rail all day. There are 22 year olds who could get a bit of inspiration from him.'

On arrival, a relaxed Fischer joked that ‘it was just another yacht race’. 'The modifications we’ve done on this boat helped a lot. Our boat speed was well above the wind speed and that’s good,' he explained after 57 hours and 31 minutes at sea. Fischer is not resting on his laurels, instead focusing on a mouth-watering 2015 campaign which will take in the Rolex Fastnet, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Middle Sea Race, all onboard his new Ragamuffin 100. Nobody would bet against him adding to his burgeoning list of triumphs.

Hong Kong resident Neil Pryde first competed in the Rolex China Sea Race in 1968, had won line honours twice and was the overall winner in 1988 and 2010. Like Fischer, his love for the sport has never diminished.

Along with the three TP52s and Geoff Hill’s 72-ft Antipodes, Hi Fi was tipped to challenge for the title. While Ragamuffin cruised to a straightforward line honours success, the battle for overall victory proved to be dramatic. Hi Fi, Lucky and Freefire barely left each other’s side throughout the race. 'Three 52-footers all going the same speed, all alongside each other all the way down. You don’t get yacht racing better than that,' enthused Pryde. 'It was one of the all time classics. I have done this race a lot but I don’t remember one as exciting or as close in the final result. It was exhausting, you could not relax one moment.'

Rolex China Sea Race 2014. HiFi.  © RHKYC-Guy Nowell   Click Here to view large photo

It proved to be the perfect race for a medium size boat. 'We had a period of about three or four hours outside the finish in Subic Bay when it went very light,' continued Pryde, 'but one of the great things about these 52-footers is that when the wind is down to three or four knots these boats still move and that is the difference really. All of the fleet had their park up but these 52s are amazing - they keep sailing at more than the wind speed.'

Charging into the mountainous, sun-kissed approach to The Philippines, Hi Fi and Lucky were practically match racing with spinnakers hoisted. It was a captivating sight. Every move, sail change, tactical decision was crucial. Lucky eventually finished two minutes ahead of Hi Fi but it was not enough; Pryde’s crew enjoyed a 17-minute margin on handicap. And with the chasing fleet becalmed, outright victory was soon confirmed.

'It ranks as one of the more memorable victories we’ve had and we’ve won a lot of races,' confirmed Pryde. 'It means a lot to me, over the past few years I’ve not done a lot of sailing because I’ve had some health issues so to go out and prove we can still do it is a big thing for me personally.'

Elsewhere, other crews revelled in simply finishing the race, none more than Seawolf who arrived in The Philippines to a rapturous reception from their sizeable Chinese following. 'You are out there, other yachts disappear and as you approach The Philippines it is always getting warmer,' explained Peter Forsythe owner of 55-ft Xena, 'there are times when it’s like magic.' A sentiment shared by those who completed the journey in 2014.

For more detailed information about the 2014 Rolex China Sea Race please visit the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club website.


by KPMS


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=121457

3:28 PM Thu 24 Apr 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World



















Audi Melges 20 U.S. Nationals - Oleander takes early lead by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,






2014 Detroit Cup - Sam Gilmour leads by Dobbs Davis, Detroit, Michigan








Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: Riding the AC45 - VIDEO by Crosbie Lorimer, Hamilton Island










America's Cup: Five Challengers sign-on for 35th Match by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,


Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad talks Time and Money (Part II) *Feature by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team,


















AWT Quatro Desert Showdown at Punta San Carlos by American Windsurfing Tour,




2014 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship - Day 2
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week; MC38s Lindeman Island Race VIDEO
2014 Audi Melges 20 U.S. National Championship - Ready to rock
IFDS Worlds - Wind delays, but racing continues in Halifax
IFDS World Championships - Day 2 images by Jude Robertson
MS Cup - Three days until the start
America's Cup: Rod Davis - Time for a change after ten years with team *Feature
ISAF seeking hosting bids for Nations Cup
Laser 4.7 Youth Worlds - Luvisetto and Alexadr Boite victorious +Video
IFDS World Championships - Action shots by Tim Wilkes
Maxi yacht rendezvous this September in Sardinia
World Yacht Racing Forum 2014: 'Growing the business of Yacht Racing'
Clipper Race: 2015-16 edition of world's longest ocean race 70% full
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland - Swish smash 5th World Record
Leaderboards take shape at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games 2014
IFDS Worlds - Hot competition on first day of racing
Challenging Conditions - CORK OCR
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 for the US Sailing Team
2014 Melges 20 World Championship - Countdown begins
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Day 3
America's Cup: Team NZ wish Davis well with new team *Feature   
Fisher's View: Sailing perfection at Hamilton Island- Day 3   
Roble and Wilson still number one match racers in the U.S.   
2014 Formula Kite World Championship Day 1   
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 images by Jude Robertson   
Volvo Ocean Race: Forget the f-word - Team SCA profiled   
52 Super Series - Fleet grows, 2015 dates revealed   
420 and 470 Junior Europeans - Teams from 9 nations on the podium   
IFDS Worlds - Former president presented with ISAF awards medal   
Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Improvements aplenty in Byte CII fleets   
America's Cup: New Zealand loses top coach to Artemis Racing   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 CEO Knut Frostad talks (Part I) *Feature   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race Day 9 - Swish on record pace   
2014 CORK Olympic Classes Regatta - Day 3   
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Day 2   
2014 IFDS World Championship: Opening Ceremony images   
Opera House Cup - Images by Ingrid Abery   
Teams descend upon Cowes for inaugural J/111 World Championships   
Hamilton Island Race Week: Everywhere there's smiley people   
IFDS World Championships - US Paralympic hopefuls ready for racing   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT