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French father and son double-handed entry to take on the Rolex China Sea Race

by RHKYC media 18 Mar 2018 07:03 GMT 28 March 2018
Start of race - Rolex China Sea Race 2016 © Rolex / Daniel Forster

With just under a month to go before the start of the 56th Anniversary of the Rolex China Sea Race, 30 entries have been received from eight territories, including one double-handed entry.

Philippe Grelon, an experienced offshore sailor, has raced in all of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's blue water classics, since arriving in Hong Kong, including the 2014 and 2016 Rolex China Sea Race on board Krampus an Anteros 36. Krampus placed 2nd in IRC 2 and 7th Overall in both editions. In a challenging 1993 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, he placed 10th overall and 3rd in division on board an Adams 50 Collex Onyx and 2nd in division with famous French skipper Lionel Péan on Kyote French Line a Beneteau 53f5 in the 2014 race. In December 2006, Philippe broke the Taipei to Hong Kong record set by Dame Ellen MacArthur's 23m trimaran B&Q by 1h 5m 50s on Tuatahi (Ex Johan II) a Sun Odyssey 47.

Philippe will challenge himself with his first double-handed China Sea, crossing with his 23 year old son Cosmas on board. The last double-handed entry was in the 2016 edition when Nick Southward and Barry Hayes raced their way to 3rd in IRC 2 and 21st Overall on board Nick's J109 Whiskey Jack.

Cosmas is an experienced dinghy sailor who learned to sail in Hong Kong waters with the Hebe Haven Yacht Club and Aberdeen Boat Club. During his teens, he racked up impressive results including the 2011 Youth World Champion in RS500s and 2012 Asian Sailing Champion in 29ers. Cosmos has not shied away from offshore racing either, he was a trimmer on board Primitive Cool a Reichel Pugh 51 that took 4th overall in the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. He is now the racing coach of Vanhang Sailing Academy in Shenzhen.

Adding to their experience, both father and son have been in some tricky situations. During the 2013 Hong Kong to Vietnam Race, they assisted in the successful rescue of the ten crew off of Steve Manning's Sydney GTS43 Walawala 2, when she lost her rudder and began taking on water.

The father and son will race on tbs-Aya a Pogo 10.5. Philippe Cotillon's Aya previously raced in the 2010 Rolex China Sea Race but had to retire, due to lack of wind close to the finish.

When asking Mrs. Grelon about her thought on the pair doing the race double-handed, Florence Grelon commented, "I am very happy for them as they are both excellent sailors and I wish them all the best for this race."

In preparation for the Rolex China Sea Race, the duo will take part in a 200nm qualifying race as well as both taking training for first aid and Sea Survival.

For their plan of action during the race, Philippe said, "Cosmas is in-charge-of the cooking and myself for the repairs (if needed). Both of us have to do navigation, sail trim, eat and sleep. And hopefully the autopilot will do a good job all the way!"

The Notice of Race for the 2018 Rolex China Sea Race starting on 28 March 2018 is available online at

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