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Rolex China Sea Race 2024 wraps up in Subic Bay

by RHKYC Media 3 Apr 00:54 PDT 3 April 2024
Standard Insurance Centennial V and Happy Go - Rolex China Sea Race 2024 © Rolex / Andrea Francolini

The final yachts arrived in Subic Bay late afternoon of 2 April, wrapping up the 2024 Rolex China Sea Race. 21 boats took part in the 2024 edition with 191 competitors hailing from 26 territories.

After a stunning start in Victoria Harbour with up to 20kts of easterly breeze on 27 March, the wind gradually softened throughout the 565nm journey towards Subic Bay, Philippines. The faster IRC Racer 0 division yachts took advantage of their waterline length, making the best of the stronger wind on the course over the first two days and finishing well ahead of their smaller rivals, taking the top spots in the IRC Overall rankings.

It was a fierce battle between TP52 Happy Go and Standard Insurance Centennial V, however Happy Go ultimately finished the Race a mere five minutes ahead of her rival, to take out both Line Honours and the IRC Overall win.

Chinese Entry William Liu's Seawolf claimed 2nd IRC Overall and IRC Racer 0 2nd place. Skipper YY Yan said "We hit two fishing nets on the way down to Subic, but in general we had a pretty good journey down. The whole team performed very well and we hope that our participation can inspire more Chinese boats to join the Rolex China Sea Race."

Third overall, as well as 3rd place in the IRC Racer 0 division went to Philippines entry, Ernesto Echauz s R/P 75 Standard Insurance Centennial V. "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. I am very proud of my team and proud of the other competitors as they are very competitive" said Echauz.

Father and son double-handed entry, Philippe and Cosmas Grelon' s A Plastic Ocean took 1st place in Double-handed division and IRC Race 2 division. On arrival they commented "This year was a bit difficult because of the weather forecast and because it was totally and absolutely incorrect! No model was correct. Unfortunately, we couldn't push the boat and we had a max of 16kts of wind. And we work more and more solo now; not necessarily waking up the other one to do a sail change or put the Code Zero on or whatever so that's much easier."

Race chairman Nicolas Cohen-Addad's Jinn took 2nd place and the sole Chinese Taipei entry Mondher Latiri 's Gutsy got third place. For Double-handed division, Carl Wilkinson/ Patrick Harmon's Lisa Elaine took 2nd place and Ryan Mann/Casey Benjamin's Daybreak was awarded third.

In IRC Racer 3, Nick Southward's Whiskey Jack had a tussle with Henning Mueller's Zesst all the way down to Subic Bay. Whiskey Jack performed really well on 1 Apr, trumping Zesst on corrected time to take the divisional win. Zesst took 2nd place in their first entry in the China Sea Race, while the first ever Korean entry to the race, Hojun Song's Random(), took 3rd place.

In the battle for IRC Premier Division, Tom Attenborough's Parnassus had a great run taking the division win. Tom Attenborough said "Our programme is all about inclusivity and taking amazing people skills and blending them together and watching that develop over the five days is always a highlight. " Peter Churchouse commenting about their rivalry with Parnassus said "We have a great friendship and a great rivalry when it comes to sailing. We love sailing against Parnassus, it's a slightly different boat. Moonblue 2 is a lot heavier and doesn't like the light weather so much, so the boat does better than Parnassus in strong wind. But in light wind does not do so well. So it depends on whether, it's light wind or strong wind. And of course, Parnassus did better this year with the light winds. So congratulations and great competition indeed." Carl Wilkinson/ Patrick Harmon's Lisa Elaine in 3rd place in the division.

In the IRC Cruising Division, 1st place went to Noel Chan's Rampage008, followed by Yong Yao 's TongRan.

In the PHS Division, although Blowers Daughter was the last boat arrived at Subic Bay, this first time Rolex China Sea Race competitor took the division win with a corrected time ahead of another first timer Sunny Leung/ Alex Yu's Jibulai.

Every edition of the race has presents different conditions and that is what keeps attracting sailors back, no matter how hard all the preparation has been. Peter Churchouse said "We had beautiful sailing and the flat seas, lovely wind, got the spinnaker up with the moon in the sky with the stars, that is what sailing on the China Sea is all about!"

Cosmas Grelon echoed the sentiment saying "The Rolex China Sea Race has an element of addiction to it. There is a horrible amount of preparation, but then when you are out there and the conditions are so nice, and the weather is quite warm, everything is smooth, it's such a good Race! In the lead up you're like "why do I do it?" and then you do it and then you're like "ok I'll probably want to do this again another time."

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

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