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2023 Rolex China Sea Race - seven international entries

by RHKYC media 21 Mar 21:15 PDT 27 March 2024
Standard Insurance Centennial - Rolex China Sea Race © Daniel Forster

62 years puts the Rolex China Sea Race up there with the classic offshore races - in 1962 Chris von Sydow's Reverie crossed the finish line after six days' racing to find that they were first finisher after six days at sea. There were no radios on the boats back then.

How times have changed! In 2018 edition, Karl Kwok broke the race and multihull record on his MOD Beau Geste with an elapsed time of 38h 30m 07s. The monohull record is held by RP66 Alive with an elapsed time of 47h 31m 08s - and they knew exactly where they were all the way down the track thanks to satellite comm systems and Yellowbrick tracking.

The Rolex China Sea Race is a biennial event and (thanks to Covid interruptions) this is actually the 30th running of the event. There are 22 entries for the 565nm race and the start line is right in front of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's clubhouse overlooking Hong Kong’s iconic Victoria Harbour on 27 March. Warning signal 11.10 hrs.

2024 welcomes no fewer than seven international/overseas entries making the journey to Hong Kong to compete. This year sees a first-time entry from Korea, the Catalina 400 Random(), and an entry from Chinese Taipei (Pogo 36 Gutsy).

Hojun Song’s Catalina 400 Random() has been actively racing in Korea and ranked 3rd overall in ORC2 class at the 2023 Busan Super Cup International Yacht Race.

Chinese Taipei entrant Gutsy is a cruiser racer who has actively participated in Penghu Race Week and Taiwan Ryukyu Regatta. Owner Mondher Latiri has long dreamed of joining the Fastnet, Sydney-Hobart, and Middle Sea Races. The Rolex China Sea Race is his first step in a quest to compete in a series of prestigious bluewater classics around the world.

Ray Roberts has been here before. The Aussie offshore veteran returns to the China Sea Race having first participated in 2010 on AUS 8898 Evolution Racing, taking 2nd place overall. This time the boat is the Cookson 50 Team Hollywood.

The RCSR is an event is a not to be missed for the Standard Insurance Centennial teams. The 2023 Line Honours Winner, Ernesto Echauz's Standard Insurance Centennial V, was the historic first Philippines entry to have taken Line Honours. This time they will be joined by the TP52 Standard Insurance Centennial III helmed by Emerson Villena, who will also be vying for Line Honours.

Strong competition in the IRC fleet is expected from two boats from Mainland China, Seawolf and TongRan, both returning this year looking to improve on their past results. William Liu’s Ker 42 Custom Seawolf returns after a six-year hiatus thanks to Covid. The inclusion of world-renowned sailors on board for this year’s race, include Malaysia-born siblings Tiffany Koo and brother Jeremy, a gold medallist for Malaysia in the 2001 Asian Sailing Championship in Busan, Korea. Seawolf cleaned up IRC A at the recent 2023 China Cup, and shows steady improvement in her performance in blue water races. Climbing from IRC Overall 3rd in 2016 to IRC Overall 2nd place in 2018, Seawolf is definitely on the hunt for their first IRC Overall in this race.

Tong Ran from Guangzhou Nansha Sailing Club has formed an all-Chinese crew to join their third China Sea Race. As the final finisher in the 2018 edition, Yao Yong’s team stepped up to take 1st in IRC Premier class, and then 4th IRC Overall in 2023. This Dufour 500 is expected to once again challenge for a win in the three-boat Cruiser Class.

Last year's defending champion, Nick Southward, is back with Whiskey Jack (J-109) and a couple of new faces on board. He said, "Nobody has ever won the China Sea Race twice in a row. Running the race in consecutive years (2023 and 2024) means that we've only been able to bask in glory for one year instead of two, but we're going to have a damn good try."

Entry List:

IRC Racing
Zesst (HKG), Sunfast 3600, Henning Mueller
Centennial V (PHI), RP75, Ernesto Echauz
Happy Go (HKG), TP52, Nie Hua
Gutsy (TPE), Pogo 36, Mondher Latiri
Team Hollywood (AUS), Cookson 50, Ray Roberts
Jinn (HKG), J-122, Nico Cohen-Addad
Seawolf (CHN), Ker Custom 42, William Lu
Neo One (HKG), Neo 400, Stefan Fillip
Centennial III (PHI), TP52, Emerson Villena
Whiskey Jack (HKG), J-109, Nick Southward
Random(), (KOR), Hojun Song

Premier Cruising
Moonblue 2 (HKG), Warwick Custom, Peter Churchouse
Parnassus (HKG), Swan 56, Tom Attenborough

IRC Double-Handed
Lisa Elaine (HKG), Bavaria 56, Carl Wilkinson
A Plastic Ocean (HKG), Figaro 3, Philippe/Cosmas Grelon
Daybreak (HKG), Taswell 56, Ryan Mann

IRC Cruiser
Tong Ran (CHN), Dufour 500, Yong Yao
Pacific Sunrise (HKG), Sun Odyssey 42, Thomas Wiesinger
Rampage 008 (HKG), Beneteau First 45, Noel Chan

Jibulai (HKG), Oceanis 46, Sunny Leung/Alex Yu
Blowers' Daughter (HKG), Oceanis 50, Bradley Wilkins
Zoe (HKG), Hanse 370, Johnson Yuen

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