Day 5 Race Reports - PRYDE
AND JOY FOR HI FI
With only three regattas left in the 2013-14 AYGP Season the stakes are getting higher in the race for the AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year title. Neil Pryde's RCSR victory lifts them up to 7th best racing team in Asia for the time being.
Some big movements have taken place in the rankings after the RCSR. Victory for David Ross' Ker 40 KukuKERchu in the IRC Racer 1 class pushes them up into 2nd place in the AYGP Pointscore, 0.75 in front off Bill Bremner's Foxy Lady 6 coming into the final rounds.
But the big mover and shaker is Anthony Root's Archambault 35 Red Kite II, extending their lead in the AYGP Pointscore by 15 points but will have to continue on their winning ways, as there is a cluster of challengers closing in on them if they are to become the first non IRC Racing Class skipper and yacht to take home the title.
On Saturday morning, Hi Fi became the third boat to complete the 565-nm course from Hong Kong to Subic Bay, The Philippines following a dramatic tussle with a group of yachts, most notably Bryon Ehrhart’s TP52 Lucky from the United States. Pryde’s crew finished the race in 2 days, 21 hours, 47 minutes, enough on corrected time, with the chasing fleet becalmed, to seal overall victory.
“It was incredibly close racing,” enthused Pryde. “To be this close after so many miles is amazing. It was the same all the way down. We were never out of site of the other boats so you could not relax one moment.”
During the final miles set against the mountainous, scenic and sunbaked approach to Subic Bay, little could separate the boats. “There were three 52-footers, ourselves, Lucky and Freefire (HKG) all neck and neck,” explained Pryde. “We were surging down the coast in good wind with an A3 spinnaker up reaching at 12 to 13 knots. It was incredibly exciting, boats kept changing positions because we had all been reading the same weather.”
With the finishing line in sight, the three crews were all seeking to make the winning tactical decision. “Lucky went around the rocks while we took the inside track. The trade off was whether there was more wind on the inside or outside,” admitted Pryde. While Lucky stole the advantage and beat Hi Fi on the water, the two minute margin was insufficient to defeat Pryde’s crew on handicap.
Pryde, a Hong Kong resident, first competed in the race in 1968 and this victory represents one of the most significant accomplishments of his illustrious sailing career. “It ranks as one of the more memorable victories we’ve had and we’ve won a lot of races," said Pryde. "It means a lot to me, over the past few years I’ve not done a lot of sailing because I’ve had some health issues so to go out and still prove we can do it is a big thing for me personally. Yacht racing has been part of my life for sixty odd years. I’ve never cruised, I’ve always raced. It’s what I do.”
Another passionate veteran of the sport, Australian Syd Fischer took line honours with his Maxi Ragamuffin 90 on Friday evening finishing in a time of 57 hours, 31 minutes and 18 seconds.
By 18:00 local time on Sunday evening, 26 of the 34 competing yachts had completed the race and there had been only one retirement.
the handicap placing's
Anthony Root's Red Kite II, extends their lead in the AYGP Pointscore by 15 points but will have to continue on with the winning formula, if they are to capture the AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year title, as there is a cluster of challengers closing in on them with only three regattas to go this season.
1215hrs: Orient Express has reached Subic Bay at 12:11:18, just behind Sea Wolf at 12:06:40.
1145hrs: Crystal is the first boat home in IRC Cruising at 11:44:29 alongside Racer 2's Sell Side Dream at 11:45:27.
1040hre: Surfdude has just finished at 10:33:00 and Explorer has knocked Xena off the top spot in IRC Premier, finishing at 10:47:46. Crystal, Sell Side Dream, Seawolf, Red Kite II and Orient Express are expected within the next hour.
0800hrs: Racer 1 - with EFG Bank Mandrake finishing at 7:30:41 and Zanzibar at 7:38:46, provisional results show Signal 8 taking third, behind Ramrod and KuKuKERchu, all three boats taking part in the race for the first time. Kuku also leaps up into 2nd place in the AYGP Pointscore, 0.75 in front off Bill Bremner's Foxy Lady 6 coming into the final rounds. Only Orient Express and Surfdude to go to complete the division. Krampus is first on the water in Racer 2 at 7:39:02, with 16 boats still to finish in all.
Boats finishing 20
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Photo credits to: RHKYC / Guy Nowell / Rolex / Kurt Arigo / Koko Mueller
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