Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
21st China Sea Race 2002
Hong Kong to the Philippines

Summary 21st China Sea Race 2002

Day 5 31-Mar-02
After waiting for the remaining IRC racers to finish the 21st China Sea Race, Neil Pryde's Sydney 46, Hi Fidelity, was confirmed on corrected time the handicap winner of the IRC Racing Division, recording a corrected time of 125:08:04, over two hours ahead of John Wardill's Cassidy 55, Australian Maid.

Expressing his delight at winning, Neil pinpointed late afternoon on the second day as the low point of the race for Hi Fidelity, revealing that the crew had thought long and hard about turning the engine on in the still conditions, but decided to keep sailing, not least because their emergency fuel supply would not carry them the 250nm to land! Once the wind picked up, they enjoyed some good sailing and now being prepared for the President's Cup which starts in one days time.

After 104 hours of sailing, the race winner crossed the finish line off the East coast of Luzon in the Philippines. It had been a grey day of heavy rain on Thursday when the international fleet of 29 yachts left Hong Kong’s sheltered harbour and headed for the open waters of the South China Sea. After three nights at sea it was a bright day with strong breezes that carried Hi Fidelity across the finish line at Punta Fuego, just to the south of Manila Bay, 600 miles distant from Hong Kong.

The China Sea Race began back in 1962 and is one of the oldest and least known offshore races in the world. It is also the climax to the four-stop Asian Yachting Circuit, presented by Fortune, that also visits Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. Going into the race Neil Pryde and Hi Fidelity had scored an impressive three victories at three regattas. By winning this fourth and final leg Hi Fidelity's crew have demonstrated that their domination on the Asian Yachtng scene this last season is complete and beyond question. To win at the four regattas means to win four very different regattas that feature overnight passage racing, windward/leeward courses, day races – and now an long distance offshore race.

Neil Pryde said "It’s temendously satisfying to win the 2002 China Sea Race – it's one of the world’s great offshore races with a forty year history. We knew it was going to be a tough race in light winds – and it was very long. Our tactic was to follow the direct route from Hong Kong to Manila and resist the temptation to chart a course that would mean faster speeds but would take us off course. Many other boats gambled on finding winds to carry them back on course but their gamble didn’t really pay off and we got the win. To win all four of the AYC regattas is a real accomplishment and it’s a testament to the boat and crew. We’ve also won the FORTUNE Series of individual races at the regattas and with that we’ve won US$15,000 of advertising in FORTUNE magazine for charity. Personally this adds a new dimension to our win and the whole of Hi Fidelity is proud."

Line honours (the first boat to cross the finish line) went to Frank Pong’s Jelik with a relatively fast time of 92 hours and 14 minutes. To allow yachts of different sizes and speeds to race with one another a handicap system is applied and after the application of the handicap Jelik could only manage a sixth place. In second behind Hi Fidelity was Australia Maid, skippered by John Wardill all the way from Darwin north Australia and third was Outrageous from Hong Kong, skippered by Gerry Daughton. Fourth was Sam Chan’s Ffree Fire and fifth was Australia’s Sorbent Helsall II skippered by Bill Rawson.

Inevitably over a 600 mile race lasting over 3 days there were incidents. Frank Pong, skipper of Jelik, slipped one evening on board and toppled overboard. Falling into the inky sea on a dark night is treacherous - there is no hope of swimming after a fast-moving boat and for the boat to make a U-turn takes time and it’s easy to drift away from the swimming sailor. Once the mark is lost, there’s a big ocean to search and the chances of success slip away fast. On this occasion though a quick-thinking crewman tossed luminous sticks into the sea near to Frank and they were able to re-locate the shaken skipper and pull him safely back onboard. Frank Pong latter commented " I won’t be in a hurry to try that again".

In the Performance Cruising Division, Roland Schmitt's Red Baron recorded a corrected time of 125.01:42 to beat Robert Knight's Rhythm Stick by just under 25 minutes, pushing Stuart Gulliver's Vida into third place. In Performance Handicap, only Groovy and Ocean Girl are still attempting to make it to Punta Fuego under sail and not expected till latter tonight - all other entrants have either retired or have turned their motors on.

This brings to a conclusion a thrilling season on the 2001/02 Asian Yachting Circuit. Neil Pryde and Hi Fidelity will celebrate at tonights prizegiving – and in November it will begin again in Malaysia at the Raja Muda International Regatta and a new season on the Asian Yachting Circuit.

Each event on the AYC is televised for international broadcast to an audience in excess of 140 million homes on five continents. CNN will also be featuring each AYC Regatta in their own show Inside Sailing which reaches another 167 million homes. The Asian Yachting Circuit is presented by FORTUNE for more info go to www.asianyachtingcircuit.com or call Andrew Owen at Proteus Sports on +852 9472 1704 or E-mail:proteus@netvigator.com for your local TV viewing times.

More information? Try the RHKYC official website http://www.rhkyc.org.hk/chinasearace/home.htm

Results for China Sea Race 2002
Racing Division
1. Hi Fidelity – Hong Kong. Skipper Neil Pryde
2. Australian Maid – Australia. Skipper John Wardill
3. Outrageous – Hong Kong. Skipper Gerry Daughton
4. Ffree Fire – Hong Kong. Skipper Sam Chan
5. Sorbent Helsal II – Australia. Skipper Bill Rawson
6.
Jelik - Hong Kong. Skipper Frank Pong

Cruising Division
1. Red Baron – Hong Kong. Skipper Roland Schmitt
2. Rhythm Stick – Hong Kong. Skipper Robert Knight
3. Vida – Hong Kong. Skipper Stuart Gulliver
4. Kam Loong – Hong Kong. Skipper Jack Mallee
5. Maligaya – Philippines. Skipper Andres Soriano III

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Race Report No 9. China Sea Race 2002

It's finally Jelik by 4hrs to Ffree Fire and Maligaya in Cruising

Day 5 (PM) 01-April-02
With Frank Pong's Jelik taking the Sunday Telegraph line honours Trophy at 08:14:08 01-Apr-02, it took another 4 hours for Sam Chan's Ffree Fire and traditional rival from Hong Kong to cross the line. Unable to claim the coveted line honours trophy for the second time, but with the consolation of denying Jelik the trophy for corrected time.

However Ffree Fire will have to wait for the rest of the fleet to finish before laying claim to the Silk Cut Antique Clock for 1st in IRC racing class. Maligaya crossed the finish line in third place (elapsed time) at the 18:00hrs radio sked. Helsal II and Hi Fidelity were 8 and 11nm miles away respectively, having had an exciting head to head tussle for the full 609 nm of the race.

Australian Maid has made the most of today's strong breezes to pull 30nm ahead of Red Baron, while Vida and Rhythm Stick are having their own private match race further back in the fleet. Unfortunately the slow start to the race claimed another victim as Marcel Leidts' Electra retired during the day to divert to Subic.

All boats have reported in safe and well, although it is not known if Lady Luck has caught any Tuna yet!
Lindsay Lyons
Sailing Promotions Officer
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

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Race Report No 8. China Sea Race 2002
 
IT's Jelik - Finish at Last!

Day 5 (AM) 01-April-02
Just after 08:00hrs Frank Pang's Jellico claimed line honours for the first time in the 21st China Sea Race taking just over 92 hours to complete the 609nm course. Although this race was marred by light winds, conditions could have been worse - Jelik's elapsed time is nowhere near the record set by X-Rated back in 1992 of 123:23:17, a true demonstration of patience by Rick Strompf and his crew.

The breeze has picked up to 20 knots and, while those further back in the fleet may not yet be reaping the benefit, Free Fire and Maligaya should be crossing the line in advance of predicted times (10:15hrs and 13:35hrs respectively). Hi Fidelity and Helsall II are still neck and neck on the rhumb line (not to be confused with Rum line) and should cross the finish line later this afternoon or early tonight.

The tail-enders are expected to finish before mid-day tomorrow, if current conditions hold, with Windseeker, Carillon, Groovy and Ocean Girl holding a lone vigil and reported to be facing a real battle with fierce competition expected from the back of the fleet. Happy April Fool's Day! Hope they make it in time for the Presidents Cup which starts on the 3rd of April and runs till the 6th organised by the Manila Yacht Club in the Philippines. More info... http://www.prescup.com
Kindest Regards
Capt Marty Rijkuris

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Race Report No 7. China Sea Race 2002

Day 4 (PM) 31-Mar-02

With the wind holding steady at around 12 knots, the sailing race is back on again. At 18:00hrs, Frank Pong's Jelik and Sam Chan's Free Fire were neck and neck just 150 nm from Nasugbu Bay, with Free Fire's approach appearing to hug the Philippine coastline - an attempt to benefit from land / sea breezes tonight? The ETA for line honours is around 09:00hrs, 01-April-02 at current speeds.

Andy Soriano's Swan 80, Maligaya is holding on to a comfortable third place, midway between the leaders and the battle between Bill Rawson's Helsal II and Neil Pryde's Hi Fidelity which has been a ongoing battle since the start of the race. Because of the terribly light conditions there certainly won't be any new records set this year other than the slowest sailing trip between Hong Kong and Manilla.

Only 17 boats remain in the IRC and HKPN Divisions, with Zephyr joining the cruising and Lady Luck retiring but reported to be catching tuna! This now leaves Groovy and Ocean Girl bringing up the rear of the fleet with an estimated 3.5 days to reach the finish line if their patience holds.

Intrigue, Lilla D, Baringo, Irmgard and Zephyr have joined the lengthy list that have turned on their motors, while Beluga Free, Bewitched, Body Shots II, Dolphin Six, Hocux Pocux II, Johan II and Lady Luck have retired.

Kindest Regards
Capt Marty Rijkuris

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Race Report No 5. China Sea Race 2002

Day 4 (AM) 31-Mar-02
At last! In defiance of the forecast, the wind strength increased overnight, with Maligaya reporting 12 knots of breeze. Jelik and Ffree Fire are now 20nm ahead of her, while Helsall II and Hi Fidelity are fighting it out 20nm further back. The fleet is starting to spread out again, with Red Baron and Outrageous drawing clear of Australia Maid, Vida and Rhythm Stick.

More casualties are amongst the rear guard, as Dolphin Six elected to join the Cruising Division, and plucky little Beluga Free finally decided to retire, putting Lady Luck into last place.

If current conditions continue, the leaders are likely to reach Philippine coastal waters in the next 12 hours and line honours is expected to be claimed later tonight or tomorrow moinrng.

Kindest Regards
Capt Marty Rijkuris

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Race Report No 5.
China Sea Race 2002
 
Day 3 (PM) 30-Mar-02

No respite during the day for the competitors, who had managed to advance a mere 40 miles in 24 hours in the windless conditions. Free Fire and Jelik fronted up the fleet, neck and neck, still over 360nm from the finish line,  while Elektra slipped back to join Maligaya, Red Baron, Outrageous and Helsall II. As the competitors passed Karl Kwok's record time of just under 48 hours, they had yet to reach the halfway mark for this year's race.

Baringo, Intrigue and Irmgard lost patience with the rate of progress and turned on the motors, while Bewitched and Body Shots II are believed to have retired as they need to pick up additional fuel to get them to Punta Fuego.

Another long night of it can be expected tonight. Light to moderate winds from the East / North East are forecast for tomorrow ..... Relief at last?

Once again, if you have found this AsianYachting Race Report useful and interesting please forward it onto your sailing friends.

Kindest Regards
Capt Marty Rijkuris

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Race Report No 4.
China Sea Race 2002
 
Day 3 (AM) 30-Mar-02
With winds dropping yet again to 1.5 knots, Hocux Pocux II and Johan II have called it a day and retired from the race, while Lilla D the first competitor to enter the Cruising Division has decided to motor the rest of the way to the Philippines.

Yesterday's leader Frank Pong's Jelik has fallen back to just behind Marcel Leidt's Elektra, with Red Baron, Maligaya, and Ffree Fire just a few miles behind. Neil Pryde's Hi Fidelity has slipped to 7th place.

One result of the disappointing wind conditions is that almost all the entrants are now within 50 nm of the leader. However if conditions don't improve tomorrow as forecast, Day 4 may see most of them throw in the towel and join Lilla D in the Hot water class.
Ends

Kindest Regards
Capt Marty Rijkuris

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Race Report No 3.
China Sea Race 2002
 

Day 2 (PM) 29-Mar-02
30 hours into the 21st China Sea Race and the field has really spread out, with leader Jelik 149 nm ahead of tail enders Beluga Free and Carillon. In the leading pack, Maligaya was 18 miles off the pace followed by Ffree Fire (-21nm) and Hi Fidelity (-25nm). Winds had still not picked up, although boats were predicting a shift in direction which might increase the pace. Jelik's current ETA based on the race to date is 00:31hrs, Monday 01st April.

Hocux Pocux II, Red Baron, Helsall II and Australian Maid form the honour guard to the leaders, while the remaining competitors are over 50nm behind Jelik.

Hocux Pocux II holds out hope for better racing conditions in days to come - as many of the boats have an ETA of Wednesday, it is hoped for the sake of the President's Cup that their faith is not misplaced!

"Still not too much wind, we are hoping for a big windshift to go from SW-S and then around to SE and hopefully in the next 24 hrs it may go all the way round to NE, If it does go to NE the big question is if we are on the left and try to go downwind in light air it will be painful. However, if we are on the right hand side and the NE (If it comes!!) is strong, then we will be beating/fetching where others will be square with a spinnaker, tricky! Hey?.

We are still in the first 25% of the race, so the going is still pretty slow. TWD here is SW and windspeed is below 5 knots."
Hocux Pocux II

Once again, if you have found this AsianYachting Race Report useful and interesting please forward it onto your sailing friends.

Kindest Regards
Capt Marty Rijkuris

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Race Report No 2. China Sea Race 2002

Day 2 (am) 29-Mar-02
By 08:00hrs on 29-March, the fleet had split into two distinct groups with light North Easterly winds still dictating the race pace. In the leading line honours group the magnificent Swan 80 Maligaya that even Grant Dalton would feel comfortable sailing in the Tropics than his smaller Swan V60 was holding off Jelik by a narrow margin, closely followed by Sam Chans heavily modified ULDB Sled Ffree Fire and Hi Fidelity.

Further behind, overseas entrants Australian Maid, Helsall II and Intrigue of Stornaway were battling it out with Red Baron, Rhythm Stick and Vida. After her troubled start, Elektra a First 47.7 had made up ground and was positioned with Hocux Pocux II, Kam Loong and Outrageous just ahead of another cluster of nine boats. Carillon, Irmgard and Body Shots II were bringing up the rear of the monohulls, leaving Beluga Free languishing around 50 miles further back.

Maritime Weather forecasts for local waters from the Hong Kong Observatory site are easy to access at http://www.weather.gov.hk/wxinfo/currwx/fmar.htm

Less "marine" orientated is the weather underground report for the Philippines at http://www.wunderground.com/global/PH.html or perhaps the php govt website, http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/wb/wxfcst.html

Once again, if you have found this AsianYachting Race Report useful and interesting please forward it onto your sailing friends.

Kindest Regards
Capt Marty Rijkuris

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Day 1 Round up
As the fleet assembled near the startline the north-easterly breeze dropped to 6-8 knots and strong rain filled in soaking competitors, camera and spectators alike. The weather closed in so much that the helicopter used by the TV film team had to turn for home in conditions considered hazardous.

Weather forecasts for the race do not predict a fast race and the leaders are not expected in the Philippines till sometime late on Sunday. For the winners that's over 3 days of concentrated effort, open seas with little food. Crews are split into shifts with occasional rests down below and many hours spent sitting on the side watching for wind shifts and acting as human ballast. At the beginning and end of each day yachts at sea are required to radio in positions to the nerve centre back at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club where progress is plotted on a chart.


The entire fleet is faced with the same conundrum - stay high, sail northeast and hope for an easterly wind shift or go south and hope the wind shift is a westerly, a critical choice. Local knowledge and experience still plays a powerful role in this ultra high-tech sport but an expected split in the fleet will prove otherwise.

By the first radio report at 1800 the expected split in the fleet had not materialised only the big boats Jelik, Ffrefire and Maligaya had drawn clear of the pack and racing in relatively close company. Wind speeds at sea were reported to be 4-5 knots resulting in very slow progress.

A message received from Hocux Pocux II a well performing X612 had the usual professional crew complaints ranging from "Lots of rain and not much wind, Hi Fidelity having some communication problems and they needed to relay with Jelik to We are barely sailing with an asymmetric spinnaker, wind is around 4-5 knots and the true direction is 065 Magnetic.  ETA Finish is Tuesday at our current speed of 2.9.  We have an extra crewmember onboard, a little rice bird and we have decided not to eat him....yet."

It was a long first night on the China Sea Race.
Ends

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Race Report No.1
China Sea Race 2002
by
Lindsay Lyons
Sailing Promotions Officer
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

Race Start 28-Mar-02

After a few weeks of partying and intense preparation the 29 entrants for the 21st China Sea Race celebrated the races 40th anniversary by starting in light winds and rain. Neil Pryde on Hi Fidelity a Sydney 46 and race organising chairman crossed the start line first, followed by Robert Knight on Rhythm Stick, but by the time the leading boats were rounding the windward mark, race favourite Jelik Frank Pongs Wylie 77 ULDB sled had overtaken Hi Fidelity and showing a clean pair of heels to the rest of the fleet.

Last across the start line and 30mins behind the racing pack, was Marcel Leidts in Elektra. Steering problems on the way to Steep Island had caused the delay, but the First 47.7 quickly made ground on Beluga Free, Carillon and Irmgard to pass them well before the mark.

Observing the 8 knot North Westerly breeze, Race Officer Graham Jackson selected a windward start to avoid a scramble for the line. Asked later, he described it as "A gentle start in unpleasant conditions. The majority of the fleet got away in good style".
Ends

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Pre-Race Report 27th March
This year being the 21st China Sea Race organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and the Manila Yacht Club celebrates the 40th anniversary since the inaugural race in 1962. The 12:00 hrs starting signal on Mar 28 for this classic 600 nm race from Hong Kong to the Philippines for offshore racing and cruising yachts has attracted a wide variety of International yachts which see's 29 crews lining up. Anything from Sam Chan’s Ffree Fire (winner of last year's San Fernando Race) and Frank Pong's ULDB sled Jelik amongst a strong contingent of 40 to 45ft racer cruisers to the veteran Aussie racers Helsal 11 and Australian Maid who staged a dramatic finish to the 2001 windblown Darwin Bali Race.

 Last held in 2000 the strong winds during the first two days meant the 32 competitors had some exhilarating sailing to become the fastest China Sea Race in history. Hong Kong’s Karl Kwok with Beau Geste a Whitbread 60 smashed the former record by an incredible 28 hours taking line honours and overall IRC division to establish a new record time of 47:43:07
(See the archived 2000 AsianYachting race report at http://asianyachting.com/Archive/chinasea.htm )

Who will it be this time? Will Neil Pryde's HiFidelity be able to record his forth straight victory on the Asian Circuit and can Andy Soriano's magnificent Swan 80 Maligaya hold off the challenges presented by David Kong's Hocux Pocux 2 and the lower rating yachts in the cruising class. Their overall fate rests with the weather conditions and the timing of their arrival in the Philippines where yachts often encounter typical patchy light conditions. In the past those yachts a little offshore seem to get the better of it, allowing them to spinnaker reach in toward the Caponies, but for most the last 20 miles of the race has so often decided their eventual placing. Past Race Reports range from excellent daytime spinnaker runs across the Bay with the afternoon sea-breezes to slow painstaking beats at night.

Many high profile yachts have installed the new Ray-Tec navigation software which allows navigators to overlay forecasted wind and weather conditions over the chart. Which technically means the computer should tell them where to go. We will see!. The 2002 China Sea Race will finish for the first time at the beautiful resort of Punta Fuego on the coast of Luzon and many competitors will stay for the President’s Cup hosted by the Manila Yacht Club starting on the 3rd April 2002.

The 2002 China Sea Race is also the final leg of the 2001/02 Asian Yachting Circuit, a four regatta series including the most prestigious events in Asia starting with the Raja Muda Regatta in Malaysia, the King’s Cup in Thailand, the Singapore Straits Regatta and ending with the China Sea Race. Andrew Owen at Proteous Sports has firmly put the Asian Yachting Circuit on the map by producing regatta films that are shown to the worlds TV audience who are fast becoming aware of the quality of offshore racing in Asia and the beautiful places in which we have to sail.

Once again, if you have found this AsianYachting Race Report useful and interesting please forward it onto your sailing friends.

Kindest Regards
Capt Marty Rijkuris

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