Rolex China Sea Race start. Image copyright Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
by Peter Bourne
At 1320hrs (HKT) the 2014 edition of the Rolex China Sea Race started in Hong Kong’s iconic Victoria Harbour, in front of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s Kellett Island clubhouse.
With a consistent 7kts from the start line through the harbour and Lei Yue Mun, Race Officer Simon Boyde felt there was no choice, the 34-strong fleet requiring a line which stretched northwards from in front of the Club, almost to Kowloon.
On an offshore start line for the first time, Sea Wolf was perhaps a tad aggressive, pushing Ramrod over early, and taking herself half a boat length over in the process. BothRagamuffin90 and Antipodes chose to stay out of trouble at the pin end and, as expected, it was ‘Rags which quickly put distance between herself and the rest of the fleet.
Just after the start of the Rolex China Sea Race. Image copyright Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
Boyde’s decision to start in the harbour was vindicated as the boats made a clean break past Shek O towards open water, with Ragamuffin90 heading the fleet, followed by Hi Fi and the TP52’s, then the Ker 40’S and Antipodes.
Six hours after the cannon fired to start the race, ‘Rags had built up a lead on the water of nearly 10nm on the 52-footers. Currently averaging just over 10kts boat speed, ‘Rags is forecast to finish at around the 50 hour mark, outside the existing record of 47h 43m 07s set in 2000 by Karl Kwok.
All boats are carrying a Yellowbrick tracker unit, which will report positions every 30 minutes (http://www.rhkyc.org.hk/RCSR2014tracking.aspx), while the race will feature for the first time as a virtual race on Sailonline.org.