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Rolex China Sea Race: Karl Kwok's MOD Beau Geste smashes multihull record

by RHKYC Media 30 Mar 2018 06:00 BST 30 March 2018
MOD Beau Geste at the finish of the Rolex China Sea Race 2018 © Rolex / Daniel Forster

Karl Kwok's MOD Beau Geste crossed the finish line early this morning, 30 March, at 01h 50m 07s in Subic Bay, Philippines - smashing the 18 year old multihull record set by Benoit Lesaffre's Crowther 50 Catamaran, Atmosphere, by an incredible 9h 31m 40s. The new multihull record now stands at an awesome 38h 30m 07s.

MOD Beau Geste had an epic run for the first 23 hours of the Race averaging around 20kts. On Thursday morning however, with around 100nm left to the finish, the breeze died and the crew had a painful few hours as they tip-toed towards Subic Bay. "We had seven hours sitting, just drifting, doing 1 to 3kts. We got through it, it was not called for but it happens. It was a bit of a low after we gained everything overnight" said Kwok of the final leg into Subic Bay.

Eventually, the breeze filled in for the last 85nm cementing Karl Kwok (HK) and team of Gavin Brady (NZL), Margaret Chan (HK), Cowen Chiu (HK), Matt Humphries (UK), Matt Keelway (NZL), Spencer Loxton (UK), Rob Salthouse (NZL), Dave Swete (NZL) and Cameron Ward (AUS) into the record books. "We did around 400nm in a 17 hour period and at the end of the day we came and did what we wanted to do and we got a new record!" he added.

Of sailing on the MOD Kwok said, "I have been a monohull sailor since 1975 so really this is a brand new experience and all I can say is that it's not as comfortable as a monohull; it's superfast, much faster - and I think that compensates for it all. It's exhilarating when the boat picks up speed and it just flies. Equally when there is no wind the boat just sits there like anything else. We had 37kts, this is what we call the 'red zone', you know, you push a little harder and something might go wrong but our average was about 20kts. At that speed you are like a motor boat with the amount of shaking and rumbling. Again it's a totally new experience. As I get older I guess this is perhaps the only way to save precious time racing; you can do offshore races in less time!"

"I am very appreciative of my team; they have been sailing with me off and on for many years. We didn't just go into the race for the first time - we have trained on this boat for about a year racing in New Zealand against other multihulls and things have paid off. Totally happy." said Kwok, thanking his crew and celebrating with a few beers.

The next boats are expected to arrive this afternoon including the current monohull record holder (47h 31m 08s) Phillip Turner's Reichel/Pugh 66 Alive and Raphael Blot's Banuls 60 Catamaran Mach 2.

To keep up with the progress of the rest of the fleet, follow the YB tracker online at https://yb.tl/rolexchinasea2018.

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