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2024 Rolex China Sea Race Day 4 - Happy Go takes Line Honours

by RHKYC Media 30 Mar 02:06 PDT 30 March 2024
Happy Go - 2024 Rolex China Sea Race, Day 4 © Rolex / Andrea Francolini

The fierce battle for Line Honours in the Rolex China Sea Race between defending Line Honours winner Standard Insurance Centennial V and Happy Go was finally settled in the early hours of the morning today when Happy Go edged out her rival by five minutes.

It was as nail-biting a finish, and close, competitive racing. Happy Go edged into the lead at at around 03.15h, and finally at 05h 20m 53s, Nie Hua's Happy Go crossed the finish line to claim Line Honours, shaving more than 20 hours off their elapsed time from 2023.

Skipper Jono Rankine said "The battle with Centennial V was close the whole race. We were aware of them the whole way along the racecourse, and were always checking to see who was closest to the finish line. Then obviously towards at the end they were always in sight, firstly on AIS and then we could see their lights at night. It was pretty exciting, and there were a number of lead changes. One moment they were ahead, another moment we were ahead, and then the next moment we were sitting in a wind hole and not moving while they ghosted past us. Yeah, it was exciting and a fun way to win the race."

Jono explained that one of biggest tactical decisions was made ahead of the race when they dropped four people from the crew, "it made the boat a lot lighter and easier to sail, and it definitely made the race more challenging. We were expecting the race to be a lot longer but we knew it was going to be light winds and not super demanding, so we knew we could handle it with nine people. "

Ernesto Echauz's Standard Insurance Centennial V finished only five minutes behind Happy Go. Ernesto said "This was the most exciting Rolex China Sea Race that I have ever experienced. It was so exciting from the start on the first day and all the way up to the finish. Happy Go did very well. What was so nice was that we were competing with each other, especially on the last day up to the end. I am very proud of my team and proud of the other competitors too for a well-fought race." Shortly after, and showing his sportsmanship, Ernesto went to visit Happy Go to congratulate them on their win.

With the Line Honours settled, and as the rest of the fleet converges on Subic Bay, all eyes are on who will take IRC Overall. A thrilling battle is developing for the IRC Overall leaderboard with boats swapping positions often. Seawolf, Zesst, A Plastic Ocean and Whiskey Jack have everything to play for. Happy Go is currently sitting at the top in IRC overall but will have to wait it out to see whether the other boats still racing can beat her time in the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's 565 nautical mile race. The last time a boat won Line Honours and IRC Overall was Neil Pryde on HiFi in 2010.

As of HK Time 16.00h, A Plastic Ocean is leading in IRC Racer 2, Zesst leads IRC Racer 3 and Rampage008 is looking strong for the Cruiser division. Moonblue 2 and Parnassus are having another nail-biting race, with Moonblue2 in front by a whisker. Blower's Daughter is leading in PHS.

For more information about Rolex China Sea Race 2024, please visit www.rolexchinasearace.com.

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