by RHKYC Media
Second on the water, but certain to take IRC Overall as well as defend her 2008 IRC Racing Division 0 title, Hi Fi crossed the finish line just after 1500hrs Hong Kong time today. Owner and skipper Neil Pryde was a very happy man, saying 'Great race, absolutely fantastic. Unbelievably good conditions, except cold and wet today, incredibly consistent breeze with 18 to 20 knots all the time, so the boat speed only dropped below 10 knots as we came into the finish.'
Hi Fi finishes VinaCapital Hong Kong to Vietnam Race
This win makes it two in a row for Hi Fi, although Pryde would not be pushed on whether or not 2013 would see him celebrate his 75th birthday on the open water but confessed to a softening of discipline on this race, with crew smuggling two bottles of champagne on board to celebrate his birthday on the first night out – according to one long time crew member, this was the first time he could remember consuming alcohol during a race.
The crew felt that, in spite of the great breeze, the 2011 edition was the calmest race to date, labeling it 'sunny, flat and fast' , noting that the introduction of electric winches, while pushing up Hi Fi’s IRC rating, had also made the atmosphere on board 'less testosterone driven'.
Hi Fi’s nearest competitor, Sam Chan’s TP52, Free Fire, retired earlier today with gear failure. Already nursing a broken bowsprit, she reported that 'we are now out for good, rudder stock failed, a loud bang and then it went a bit wobbly … we don’t have a good history with this race'. Something of an understatement - her predecessor, FfreeFire 52 had to retire in the 2008 race with a mast problem. FreeFire is proceeding under engine to Nha Trang, and all on board are reported to be safe and well.
Hi Fi Team Pryde win IRC Racing Division 0
Yellowbrick tracking is on board all the competitors, updated at 30 minute intervals, and can be viewed at http://live.adventuretracking.com/HKVN2011
The leaderboard, showing ETA and estimated corrected times for all the fleet can be viewed at http://live.adventuretracking.com/Leaderboard/HKVN2011
Coracle at Nha Trang