Report 6 - Black Baza comes flying home...
By taking the outside track and avoiding the wind hole, Philip Turner / Duncan Hine's Reichel/Pugh 66 Alive claimed line honours and set a new race record in the process, to hold onto 2nd place overall and win the IRC 0 Class title.
The race results suggest that the favourable conditions benefited the smaller boats, as William Liu’s A40RC Seawolf takes 3rd Overall, as well as 1st in IRC Racer 2, which means that their stated aim to “do better than last time (2014)” has well and truly been achieved. Anthony Day Xc50 Explorer slotted into 4th overall to win the highly competitive Premier Cruising class.
Black Baza finished in the early hours of Saturday morning after just over 60 hours of racing, with crew member Wade Morgan enthusing about the previous 24 hours of racing, saying “We were coming in hot all the way, which was unexpected … We probably played the middle a little bit to the south and then we had good breeze, so we managed to come straight in to the coast without having to do too much fancy work.” Asked if the crew were happy if they had caught Alive on corrected time, Jono Rankine confirmed “Absolutely! We weren’t expecting that at all..” and added that the high point of the race for the crew was surfing into the coast at 20kts.
Next in the order, after a close battle and making the most out of the favourable conditions are Fred Kinmonth / Nick Burns Sydney GTS 43 EFG Mandrake, Russia's Sergey Khramtsov/Vladimir Chirkov's Cookson 12M Megazip, Niccolo Manno Anteros 36 Krampus and Joachim Isler / Andrew Taylor Mills IRC41 Ambush.
As time ticked by and the flourish of finishers continued long into the morning, the bigger yachts were shuffled down the order, with Sam Chan's TP52 FreeFire Racing eventually getting the better of Japan's Yoshihiko Murase / Yoichi Ito Humphreys 54 KLC Bengal7 and after experiencing electrical black out problems, Ernesto Echauz TP52 Standard Insurance Centennial III returns to the fold in 11th overall.
Jono Mahony of Zanzibar fame, also enjoyed sailing down the Luzon coast at 18-20kts, noting that “We finished 8 hours quicker than when we won (IRC Overall) in 2012 even though we hit a sticky patch at the finish which allowed EFG Mandrake to sneak past us – but they do that all the time!”
All the finishers have noted their surprise at the excellent conditions once out on open water, although Li Li revealed that Swan 82 UBOX considered retiring 180nm into the race, as they had suffered damage to the head of the mainsail which seemed unfixable.
“The crew managed to come up with a solution …. to lash the head and stay in the race, although it limited the load they could put on it. The first night a problem with the foot of the number one cost a lot of time in really tough weather. It was a tough first day, half of the crew were sea sick and had been working hard on the boat leading into the race, so possibly have not had enough sleep. On the positive side, UBOX finished the race and all the crew have taken it as a positive experience, as this race is practice for the team. The ultimate goal is the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race and being realistic, we still have a lot of prep to do. It’s good and although we talk about all this damage, it has been a very positive experience for everybody.”
The last finishers are expected in the early hours of Sunday morning, brought in by the tail of the strong monsoon, has gifted the Rolex China Sea Race a record year.
Image Credit: RHKYC / Aitor Alcalde /Guy Nowell / Rolex / Daniel Forster
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