They say that discerning gentleman sailors only sail on boats with a foot of waterline length for every year of their age. At age 87, Syd Fischer has got three years to go before he needs a bigger boat. Meanwhile, and after 57h 31m 18s of racing, he finally steered his 90 foot Maxi, Ragamuffin 90, over the line to claim Line Honours for the 2014 Rolex China Sea Race. Having successfully maintained a boat speed of 9 to 13kts for 564nm, Rags found a hole in the last mile, leaving the frustrated crew sitting motionless for an hour within sight of the finish line.
On the dock, asked about the light winds forecast for the race, Fischer said 'that’s why this is a good boat – the modifications helped a lot - we got the breeze that we anticipated but the boat sails well above the wind strength.' Boat Captain David Witt added 'it’s something to be 87 and on the rail all day. There are 22 year olds ... who could get a bit of inspiration from an 87 year old.' Witt was pleased with the timing of their finish, notwithstanding the wait at the finish line, noting that 'you don’t want to be entering (Subic Bay) early in the morning.'
At 1045 on Saturday morning, and looking at the plot from the Yellowbrick trackers, competition to be second boat home and the battle for IRC Overall is ferocious. A collection of saw-toothed tracks from earlier this morning indicates time spent in the hole – almost inevitable approaching Subic at the beginning of the day – but now, just 2nm from the finish, Lucky leads the small pack by just 200m from Neil Pryde’s HiFi, and trucking along at over 8kts. Three miles back and Antipodes and FreeFire are duking it out side by side. By the time these words are posted, the first two will be finished.
Lucky at 52’ gives Hi Fi (51’) just a little time. Hold your breath. The race management team is then in for a busy night Saturday/Sunday, with most of IRC Racing 1 and Premier due to finish in the dark.