23rd China Sea Race
AY Race Report 6

Although Boracay took line honours by 50 minutes from Jelik in the battle of the 70 footers it was the smaller 51ft Burns / Kinmonth owned Mandrake that finished about eight hours latter to race away with the handicap honours. After a long wait for other yachts to finish Boracay, helmed this time by the UK’s Peter Morton managed to hold onto second place by a mere one minute and two seconds from the Anthony Day/ R Killip owned Siren. Through-out the race competitors experienced extremes in conditions varying from complete calms to brilliant downwind surfing conditions which turned into a bit of a lottery depending on what time they closed in on the Luzon coast and approached the Subic Bay finish line.

As predicted throughout the race, Mark Thornburrow's Dream took first place on corrected time in Premier Cruising, while Steve Manning's Walawala took line honours for IRC Division B at 05:14hrs, followed just over an hour later by Blackjack.

After wrestling with the light Philippine morning airs the remaining boats are expected latter today or early Tuesday morning. Worst off is multihull Zuma, which is limping down the Luzon coast after reportedly breaking a crossbeam last night and, although all the crew are fine, will need repairs when she finally reaches her destination.

Full results at: http://www.chinasearace.com

23rd China Sea Race
AY Race Report 5

Boracay takes line honours at dawn, 50 minutes ahead of Jelik and the battle of the 70 footers is over! As the remainder of the fleet are still racing Boracay will have to wait a while to see if she can take first place on corrected time. However it appears that the morning breeze along the Luzon coast has dropped to around 7 knots and the Burns/Kinmonth owned Mandrake will be the next to finish. Drumstick, Siren, Moonblue 2 and Hocux Pocux 2 are expected to finish in close succession during the afternoon having suffered badly in the light morning airs.

Follow the fleet goto:http://www.rhkyc.org.hk/chinasearace/purplefinder.htm

23rd China Sea Race
AY Race Report 4

Follow the fleet goto http://www.chinasearace.com then click on ‘Purplefinder tracking’ Full information including entry list, boat profiles crew lists can also be found on the website. Photos courtesy of http:www.guynowell.com

The China Sea Race fleet must have heaved a collective sigh of relief last night as the promised 10-14kt North Easterly breeze kicked in, carrying them away from the fishing grounds of Pratas.

Jelik and Boracay chewed up the miles overnight and are now just off the north coast of Luzon in the Philippines - as of 0800hrs this morning, they were averaging 10kts boat speed and were expected to finish just after midnight tonight, however as Pong knows only too well, the race may well be decided by the vagaries of the Philippine coastal breezes which are likely to affect the fleet over the last 100nm. 40nm behind them, Mandrake also had a good night, with Siren and Drumstick a further 20nm back - all IRC A boats are expected to finish on Sunday.

In IRC Division B, only Walawala and Blackjack look likely to finish by midnight Sunday, with Barnstormer and Martin Tanco's Challenge due sometime in the early hours of Easter Monday and Polar Star III currently bringing up the rear of the division, with an ETA of Wednesday, which will surely improve when the 1800hrs positions have been reported.

IRC Premier Cruising has proved an interesting contest, with all six entrants due to finish on Sunday between noon and midnight - the final results will all come down to their corrected times, with Shahtoosh and Dream appearing to punch above their weight at present.

In HKPN, the current positions suggest that Forign Affaire and Zuma may arrive early on Tuesday, with the remaining boats expected in during the afternoon and evening, however these ETAs are expected to change after tonight's posiiton report.

23rd China Sea Race
AY Race Report 3

The fleet have had a very frustrating 10 hours parked just south of Pratas Reef in light breeze, with Boracay holding on to a slender 17nm lead over Jelik. Jelik, in common with Mandrake and Siren, seems to have gambled on taking a route north of the rhum line, however it has yet to pay off, with the IRC B Division hot on the heels of the front runners after 200nm of sailing.

Premier Cruising and HKPN Divisions have also stayed with the pack, however the breeze has filled in to the 11kt north-easterly promised by Hong Kong Observatory and the competition should hot up overnight. Not expecting to reach Subic Bay before the rest of the fleet is Mikhailov Alexey's Farr 43, Carrera, which finally left Victoria Harbour this afternoon after some hasty repairs and re-provisioning.

23rd China Sea Race
AY Race Report 2

By the 1800hrs radio schedule, Jelik and Boracay were, as expected, at the head of the fleet, followed closely by Mandrake while in IRC B, Imagine had made 10nm on the rest of her division. The Premier Cruising division looked more like a cruise in company than an offshore race, with all six boats sitting within 5nm. The first casualty of the race, Jaywalker, discovered that her rudder bearing was leaking and turned back for Hong Kong at 2100hrs, safely reaching home this morning.

Overnight, the fleet averaged 7 to 8 knots boat speed, however by the 0800hrs report wind speeds had dropped dramatically and the tail end of the fleet has been making ground on the leaders ever since. According to the Purplefinder tracking on board the boats, Jelik appears to have found the breeze again, after parking at Pratas reef for a few hours, and is once again pulling away from Mandrake.

Jaywalker, Paul Bankowski’s Ker 11.3, never got a chance to wallow in the light stuff: she returned to HK at 0830 this morning, having started taking in water last night. We traced the leak to the lower rudder bearing – it was entirely manageable, the pumps were coping with it , but we were just about 100nm offshore then, and reckoned we were sailing away from rescue range if anything went really badly wrong.

Safe to say, Karl Kwok’s record time of 47hrs 43min 07sec for the race, set with Beau Geste in 2000 does not appear to be in any danger this year.

23rd China Sea Race
AY Race Report 1

Thursday 13th April:
Twenty seven yachts featured in a spectacular high noon start on a windy Victoria Harbour, right in front of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. The 23rd running of the 565 nautical mile bi-annual China Sea Race makes it the longest running event in Asian waters. The first yachts are expected to finish in Subic Bay, north west of Manila (Philippines), in just over 48 hours. Local favourite Frank Pong is hoping to take out line honours and corrected time on his 75 footer, Jelik, but will be competing against his almost-identical sister boat, Boracay, helmed this time by the UK’s Peter Morton.

For the first time shore-based fans will be able to follow the action online. Pole Star and SkyWave have joined forces to provide a web based tracking facility for the event. SkyWave have supplied all participating boats with one of their DMR 200 units and Pole Star, utilising their Purplefinder technology to provide the satellite (Inmarsat) based positional data from each boat, which will be updated every two hours during the race. This propels RHKYC's usual twice-daily radio reporting schedule into the 21st Century and has obvious safety benefits should any boats lose radio contact with the fleet or retire from the race. Connect through at: http://www.chinasearace.com

The five yachts competing in the IRC Premier Cruising Division are evenly matched and expected to have a good race. Aussie Geoff Hill's Lyons 49 Strewth is in good company with the Hong Kong regulars Hocux Pocux 2, Shahtoosh and Moonblue 2 being joined by Doc Nicholson's new Dubois Global 80 Intrigue.

The 2006 President's Cup follows on after the CSR in Subic Bay next week where perhaps the biggest fleet of racing class yachts will be racing together in Asia. Local yachts Karakoa will be skippered by Steve Benjamin and Centennial by Jamie Wilmot to ensure that the Hong Kong racers don't have it all there own way. More on the President's Cup can be found at: http://www.manilayachtclub.org/prescup/

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