VinaCapital Hong Kong to Vietnam Race Reports
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Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race 2013

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Daily Race Reports
By RHKYC Media


Bryon Ehrhart’s TP52 Lucky strikes gold in HK Vietnam Race
By RHKYC Media
19th Oct 1800hrs: The TP52 Lucky which travelled all the way from America to take part in the Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race has ensured she leaves with at least one piece of silverware, having won IRC Racing 0 Division on IRC handicap, pushing fellow TP52, OneSails Racing (which finished 1h 12m behind Bryon Ehrhart’s boat) into second place on corrected time.
FreeFire finished just under an hour behind Ray Roberts team, however with a much higher IRC rating has had to settle for third place in Racer 0. This completes the finishes for IRC Racer 0 and as time ticks by, they have ended up in the sme order in the Overall IRC handicap stakes. Goto HKV Race Results

20th Oct 0600hrs: The next boat Island Fling made it to Nha Trang, finishing at 00:02:34 to claim the IRC Racer 1 Division, just after midnight. followed by kukuKERchu at 02:19:41 (HKT) and Signal 8 at 03:31:49 this morning, but on Overall IRC handicap are no threat at all to Lucky.

Although there are four boats still racing which theoretically have not run out of time on the 'fag packet' calculations, their projected times suggest they are highly unlikely to upset the top IRC placings. Next boat due is Red Kite II at around 2100hrs tonight (Sunday) in close company with Sell Side Dream and Surfdude.

Photos by RHKYC - Guy Nowell - Ragamuffin Yachting

New record & line honours to Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin 90
By Di Pearson
19th Oct 0900hrs:
Eighty six year-old Syd Fischer and his Team Ragamuffin broke the Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam race record this morning, beating Skandia's (Grant Wharington, AUS) 2004 time of 42h 45m 41s by just over 4 minutes, arriving at the Nha Trang finish line at 08:1120 this morning local time (11:11:20 Sydney time).

Revelling in the ideal downwind conditions, the Sydney yachtsman skippered his 90 foot Dubois Ragamuffin 90 to line honours and a new record for the 656 nautical mile race. It is not every day an 86 year-old is out racing at the top level, let alone breaking records. In doing so, he not only beat Skandia’s record, but did so from an eight foot smaller yacht.

Although the wind piped in for the entire, race, averaging between 15-22 knots, it was touch and go in the last 75 miles, as the breeze oscillated from 13-18 knots and the minutes ticked away. In the end, it came down to the final couple of miles and keeping the boat speed up.

This is the first time Fischer has contested the race, which started at 13:30 hours on Thursday Hong Kong time. He led from the start and was never overtaken. At 6.00am local time (9.00am Sydney) there was a 92nm gap to Team Ragamuffin’s nearest rival.

Fischer used the race for crew training and selection for the upcoming Rolex Sydney Hobart. Among the experienced big boat crew were sailing master, Dave Witt, British Olympic double silver medallist and Volvo Ocean Race skipper, Ian Walker; Matt Humphries, a veteran of five Whitbread/VOR's, Geoff Hill, sailmaker Mark Fullerton and Campbell Knox.

While he was pushing the yacht hard at sea last night, the Mosman yachtsman was honoured at the Australian Yachting Awards with a Lifetime Achievement award. It was accepted by his grandson Brenton Fischer.

Ragamuffin Yachting has a Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/RagamuffinYachting

Photos by RHKYC - Guy Nowell - Ragamuffin Yachting

Syd Fischer says Hong Kong Vietnam Race record was touch and go
By Di Pearson
Shortly after breaking the Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam race record aboard Ragamuffin 90 this morning Hong Kong time, 86 year-old Syd Fischer told of the wild conditions on the first afternoon and night at sea.

“It got very bumpy at one stage – it got quite wild the first night, but that’s yachting and you have to expect that. We were getting 25 to 28 knots from behind,” commented Fischer who said the yacht’s boat speed “topped at 34 knots.”

“The boys did a good job – Witty (sailing master Dave Witt) drove the boat hard. Vanessa did a good job too,” Fischer said of Vanessa Dudley, the lone female on the crew and a capable helmswoman.

“It was a good race, a good crew and a good boat; it’s fast,” Fischer, from Mosman in Sydney said after beating Skandia's (Grant Wharington, AUS) 2004 time of 42h 45m 41s by just over 4 minutes, arriving at the Nha Trang finish line at 08:1120 this morning local time (11:11:20 Sydney time).

Although the conditions were mostly ideal, Fischer said: “We thought we were going to lose it for a while there when the breeze went soft. We were counting down the miles just trying to keep the boat moving. We didn’t know we had it (the record) till right at the end.”

The 90 foot yacht underwent major modifications before arriving in Hong Kong for the 656 nautical mile race. Twin daggerboards were added, the rudder moved aft, the forward canard removed and changes to the aft deck to allow crew weight further aft all the way to transom. Powered sheet winches have been added, as has a new Doyle sails.

Juggling the handicap honours...
By RHKYC Media
18th Oct 2300hrs:
Based on her progress this afternoon and evening, Red Kite II is once again taking on the might of the maxis and TP's to top the projected leaderboard for IRC Overall, ahead of Lucky and FreeFire. If viewed in terms of distance covered since yesterday's Harbour start, including the testing conditions of he first night, Lucky comes out on top, narrowly ahead of OneSails Racing then the A35. It's too close to call on this one, as a drop in breeze as the boats approach the finish line could make or break their claim to the IRC prize.

Which ever way you look at it, Ragamuffin90 looks certain to claim line honours with the big question being çan she finish before 08:15:41 Hong Kong time. Based on recent VMG, it's tight, shwoing the Dubois 90 finishing around 0830hrs, but that doesn't take into account the flat calm that generally accompanies early morning off Nha Trang beach.

EFG Bank Mandrake and Krampus continue to make steady progress on their return to Hong Kong, being around 6 to 7 hours out at 2300hrs.

24 hours in and 13 of 17 boats still racing
By RHKYC Media
18th Oct 1500hrs:
Late yesterday Avant Garde was the first casualty, retiring after three fruitless hours spent trying to fix a steering problem. Then, in the early hours of Friday, the drama surrounding Walawala 2’s lost rudder unfolded, and then in another unrelated incident, EFG Bank Mandrake turned back for Hong Kong with steering problems.

Krampus, who retired after responding to Walawala 2’s distress flares and picking up the crew, is also on the way back - both Krampus, an Anteros 36 and EFG Bank Mandrake, a Mills 40 Custom, are making good progress and are expected in Hong Kong tomorrow, Saturday at around 1100hrs local time.

Conditions have eased up slightly, with the Hong Kong Observatory predicting force 6 to 7 for the first 500nm to Vietnam, softening to force 5 to 6 for the final stretch into Nha Trang. Ragamuffin 90 has been the first to suffer, dropping from a VMG of 20kts to around 13kts, with just over 60% of the race completed.

The projected finish times extrapolated from the Yellowbrick tracking data fluctuate wildly along with the conditions, so it is unclear if Ragamuffin, a Dubois 9,0 still has Skandia’s 2004 record time of 42h 45m 41s in her sights. It’s not even a ‘given’ (although it’s very likely) that she’ll claim Line Honours, as OneSails Racing and MACH2 are not far behind her in distance terms and could enjoy a better run into the finish if the breeze fills in from the north.

The competition on IRC handicap is red hot, with Signal 8 leading the rankings for the past five hours, ahead of sister Ker 40 kukuKERchu. TP52s, OneSails Racing and Lucky sandwich Island Fling, while Bermudian Sloop, Red Kite II is currently projected to finish sixth overall.

The current projections show all boats finishing before Monday 21 October, with Sea Monkey getting in around 2300hrs on Sunday 20 October. The fleet can expect force 6 to 7 overnight tonight and, having survived the first night, will hopefully not experience any further damage.

Goto Yellowbrick tracking at http://yb.tl/hkvn2013

Lighter wind but still on record pace
By RHKYC Media
18th Oct 1100hrs: EFG Bank Mandrake and Krampus currently have an ETA back in Hong Kong of around 1040hrs on Saturday. For the 13 boats now left in the race, Ragamuffin90 still seems set for line honours, but has slowed to a VMG of around 14kts and a predicted arrival time tomorrow around 0800hrs HKT. MACH2 is right on her transom, and could overtake her, so keep watching the tracking at http://yb.tl/hkvn2013

On recent VMG, the leaderboard shows Signal 8 making big gains and sitting first ahead of OneSails Racing and Island Fling, but it's way too early to call. Sea Monkey's bringing up the rear of the fleet but is still expected to reach Nha Trang on Sunday.

Photos by RHKYC - Guy Nowell

Walawala 2 Crew Abandon Ship – All Safe
By RHKYC Media
18th Oct: At 0135hrs local hours on Friday 18 October, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) Sailing Manager, Alex Johnston, received a distress call via satellite phone from the skipper of Walawala 2, Steven Manning, reporting that the yacht had lost its rudder and was taking on water. Manning also advised that there were no injuries to the 10 crew.
At this time the crew activated the yacht’s EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon). RHKYC immediately confirmed the yacht’s position with the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) who activated a rescue plan involving Hong Kong Government Flying Services.

By 0145hrs, Walawala’s life raft was being prepared which led to MRCC activating the Hong Kong Government Flying Services who deployed both a helicopter and a fixed wing aircraft.

The RHKYC also set into motion their Crisis Management Plan with the team assembling at RHKYC Kellett Island and the yacht Krampus, another competitor in the Race, was identified as being the closest to Walawala 2 and was directed to Walawala’s position.

The crew of Walawala 2 were safely on board Krampus by 0405hrs and by 0440hrs the GFS helicopter was reported overhead. Given the distance of 130nm offshore and the limits on operational flying time at the scene, only 8 of the 10 crew were able to be winched aboard safely in that time.

The remaining two Walawala 2 crew remained on the yacht Krampus who subsequently made the decision to retire from the Race instead of continuing to Vietnam, and began making their way back to Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the GFS helicopter returned to Hong Kong with the 8 Walawala 2 crew members and were picked up at the airport by RHKYC staff and taken to the Club’s Kellett Island clubhouse.

Early reports indicate that Walawala 2 lost their rudder which in turn allowed water ingress at such a rate and volume that Manning was forced to make the decision to abandon ship. The crew on board range in age from 21 to 59 and some are Hong Kong residents. Their nationalities are British, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Australia and Canada. Walawala 2, a Sydney GTS 43, was one of 17 yachts competing in the RHKYC organised Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race. The event is sailed under ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Category 1 Offshore regulations which require at least 50% of the crew to have completed a sea survival course and first aid training.

This is fast...
By RHKYC Media
17th Oct 2100 hrs: Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race at 2100hrs on day 1 shows Ragamuffin90 finishing at around 11pm tomorrow (Friday) which would be an elapsed time of around 33.5 hours. She's already chewed her way through 20% of the course - Chivas is about 20nm behind her.
The IRC competition is hotting up, with the TP52's, Luck, FreeFire and OneSails Racing pretty much neck and neck on the water, accompanied by MACH2 having clocked up over 100nm since the start at Kellett Island. On IRC Overall the current predictions have Lucky edging out FreeFire ahead of kukuKERchu.

We can't wait to see what happens over the next couple of days. The "intense northeast monsoon" will certainly give them something to think about tonight, with the forecast giving up to force 8 offshore - at least they'll have moonlight.

Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race 2013
By RHKYC Media

Change of course as they blast out of Hong Kong...
Goto RHKYC Race Reports,,,By RHKYC Media
17 Oct 2013:
Weeks of preparation came to a head this morning, as the 17 entrants in the Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race carried out their radio checks and made their way to the start line of the longest offshore race in Asia.

Race Officer Simon Boyde had been out on the water early and, finding 8 to 10kts at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club start line with stronger breeze through Victoria Harbour to the east, had no hesitation in confirming that the race would start in front of the Club at Kellett Island.

At 1330hrs, the start gun was fired by Rita Lee, General Marketing Manager for Audi Hong Kong and the race was underway. Ragamuffin 90 got a great start, along with Lucky and Red Kite II who was closest to the favoured committee boat end of the line.

Chivas contrived to be around four minutes late for the start, but quickly clawed back the difference on the way out of the harbour. Ragamuffin 90 led through Lei Yue Mun gap on the north shore, with Chivas breaking a main sheet as she endeavoured to catch them. FreeFire and Lucky stuck to the south shore, seeming to catch more consistent breeze.

Once out of the gap and past Junk Bay, the boats started preparing to hoist, and by Cape D’Aguilar all had their spinnakers flying. kukuKERchu is currently looking very good on IRC handicap, however this is a tough race, with a reputation for testing hardware to the limit, so there’s plenty of scope for drama over the next four days.

With breeze up to Force 8 forecast over the next twelve hours, it seems likely that Ragamuffin 90 can maintain her VMG of around 20kts, which would give her an ETA of around 0100hrs (HKT) on Saturday 19 October, smashing Skandia’s existing record of 42h 45m 41s.

To be accurate, as this is the first time this race has started in Victoria Harbour rather than off the south east of Lamma Island, whichever boat claims line honours in this year’s edition will set a new record, but everyone on shore is hoping for a sub-40 hour elapsed time from the Maxis.

Photos by RHKYC - Guy Nowell

Official Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race website at: http://www.rhkyc.org.hk/hkvietnamrace.aspx

Follow the Race on the Club’s Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/rhkyc

Spectators can also track the race via Yellowbrick tracking at: http://www.rhkyc.org.hk/hkvyellowbrick.aspx

Armchair sailors can sail in the Virtual Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race at http://www.sailonline.org

About the Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race

First conceived in 1996 when it was run at Lunar New Year, this 656nm Category 1 offshore race is now a biennial fixture in the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club sailing calendar. A constituent event of RHKYC’s popular China Coast Race Week, the race makes the most of October’s prevailing north east monsoon to give competitors a thrilling, predominantly downwind race from Hong Kong to Nha Trang on Vietnam’s eastern seaboard. The 2013 edition will see a record seventeen-strong fleet chasing the current race record of 42h 45m 41s, which was set in 2004 by Grant Wharington’s Skandia.

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