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Fleet battles through first night of the Rolex China Sea Race 2024

by RHKYC media 28 Mar 11:43 GMT 28 March 2024
Subic Centennial V. Rolex China Sea Race 2024 © RHKYC / Guy Nowell

The fleet enjoyed a fast-reaching leg during the first night of the Rolex China Sea Race thanks to an easterly airstream which stayed with competitors all the way up to 0700hrs at which time the fleet came to a halt and parked up for at least an hour.

Happy Go and Standard Insurance Centennial V have been battling hard from the start, on the hunt for Line Honours. Happy Go sailed further south of the rhumb line whilst 2023 Line Honours winner Standard Insurance Centennial V is using a different approach to last year's, where they stayed closer to rhumb line. Behind the front two, Seawolf is having her own competition with rival Standard Insurance Centennial III.

The two IRC Premier boats, Thomas Attenborough's Parnassus and Peter Churchouse's Moonblue2 were also sailing fast behind the contenders in IRC Race 0, while enjoying their own private race.

The Two-Handed Division is being led by A Plastic Ocean, sailed by the father and son duo Philippe and Cosmas Grelon. In second place is Carl Wilkinson and Patrick M Harmon's Lisa Elaine with Daybreak chasing from behind.

As a new entry to Double-handed division, it seems owner Carl Wilkinson isn't busy enough sailing - not only has he only one other crewmember to share tasks with, they are also on a mission to provide updates to a Hong Kong local school during their journey in order to inspire them and to get them interested in the sport and to encourage them to also go for their dreams.

In the battle for IRC Racer 2, Race Chairman Nicolas Cohen-Addad's Jinn is staying strong and over in IRC Racer 3, Zesst skippered by Henning Mueller is enjoying an early lead in front of last year's Overall winner Whiskey Jack.

For the PHS division, both first-time entries in the Rolex China Sea Race, Bradly Wilkin's Blowers Daughter and Sunny Leung/Alex Yu's Jibulai are fighting hard at the back, trading positions every few hours.

Speaking for the Race ahead, Lisa Elaine said "After an exciting first 20 hours where we rode the strong easterly, and set a new record for nautical miles sailed for Lisa Elaine and managed to work our way up the fleet, we're now trying different tactics with Jinn and Tong Ran to find a good breeze line and maintain boat speed. The next 12 hours will be key to see if we can keep on the edge of any pressure as we work our way along the rhumb line."

When the race turns into the second night, the fight for Line Honours and Overall is expected to become even more fierce as the sailors consider their strategy and tactics as winds are predicted to weaken.

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