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The Figaro Beneteau 3 achieves impressive results again in the Rolex China Sea Race

by Beneteau Asia Pacific 12 Apr 23:45 PDT
A Plastic Ocean, a Figaro Beneteau 3 - Rolex China Sea Race 2024 © RHKYC

At the recently-completed Rolex China Sea Race 2024, A Plastic Ocean, a Figaro Beneteau 3 (FB3) skippered by Cosmas and Philippe Grelon achieved excellent results again: 1st place in Double-handed Division and 5th in IRC Overall.

As an Asian blue-water classic, the 565nm race is hosted by the prestigious Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and supported by Rolex. The 2024 edition kicked off on March 27th, with a thrilling start from Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. Competitors navigated through the unpredictable South China Sea and finally arrived at Subic Bay in the Philippines. 21 boats signed up for this year's race, vying for the coveted Rolex China Sea Trophy. The local Hong Kong boats accounted for the majority of the racing fleet, yet the increasing international entries suggested the race's ever growing popularity in Asia.

At this year's race, we saw the robust appearances of several Beneteau sailboats at the starting line, including the Figaro Beneteau 3, two Oceanis sailing yachts and one First yacht.

For Cosmas and Philippe, this was their third-time entry in the Rolex China Sea Race. Having achieved double-handed 1st place and IRC Overall 2nd place in 2023, the father-son duo are attracted each year by the excitement of the race with the desire to win the Rolex Trophy and to promote double handed sailing. "After last year's performance, we are very excited for this year's race as we are confident the Figaro 3 is a boat that can win the Rolex China Sea race Overall in IRC, given the right conditions." said Cosmas before the race.

"This year's Rolex China Sea Race weather forecast however, was unlike any previous editions and proved to be the ultimate decider of the race's outcome. With climate change's ever increasing impact on our weather systems, the wind which is typically a strong north easterly at this time of year, was predominantly light winds and from all directions. The major challenge we faced this year was overcoming the lighter winds which prevented us from pushing the Figaro 3 to its potential. In light winds as well, the challenge of double handed sailing is all the more visible with only 2 pairs of hands to do the huge amounts of sail changes at critical times. We probably did around 50 sail changes over the past 4 days, trying to get through the various wind holes on the race course." said Philippe in Subic Bay after their finish.

Having said this, the duo both confirmed they thoroughly enjoyed the race and spoke extremely highly of the performance of the FB3 despite the unfavourable conditions. "What's incredible is that despite the unfavourable conditions we faced this year, the Figaro still performed extremely well in the lighter winds and having spoken to some of our competitors, they all said their eyes were on us as one of the major threats. It is really great to see that for the second edition in a row of the Rolex China Sea race, the Figaro 3 has proven to be extremely competitive in IRC.

Although it's not the result we quite wanted, we have no regrets because we did everything we could, the boat was well prepared, we raced hard and made lasting memories that we will cherish forever." said Philippe Grelon at the finish.

"We are honored to support Cosmas and Philippe Grelon completing the Rolex China Sea Race 2024. Congratulations to them for winning the double handed category. They were battling among much bigger yachts with a difficult weather forecast and their result is outstanding. The Figaro 3 is the world 's first production foiling monohull, a distillation of technology and innovation. She has proven to be a perfect yacht for our local races in Asia and we will soon see a few of them sailing in Japan and South Korea.

Beneteau is committed to promoting yachting culture and growing a strong sailing community in APAC and the Rolex China Sea Race is a perfect example.

As this year marks the celebrations of Beneteau 140's year, we invite all our owners and friends to look for the special events we are putting together through our regional distributors. There will be more races and celebration to come." said Erwan HER, Beneteau Asia-Pacific Sales Director.

The Figaro Beneteau 3 is designed by world-renowned naval architectural firm VPLP, equipped with a higher-performing ballast-free hull, a more slender and deeper keel, a setback mast, and a more extensive and larger sail plan. With a lighter weight, she is easy to handle with a fast acceleration and speed.

The FB3 is the official boat of La Solitaire du Figaro, the legendary annual French solo offshore race. She is not only beloved by the world's elite sailors, but has also won several influential industry awards including the "European Yacht of the Year 2018".

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