Inaugural Hong Kong to Puerto Galera Race 2019

 

HKPG Race - Mandrake III wins IRC Overall
By RHKYC Media
April 22nd 2019:
Sailing across the Limit Point Line (where the course had been shortened) at 18h 28m 36s last night, Fred Kinmonth’s and Nick Burns’ GTS 43 Mandrake III took the IRC Overall win in the inaugural Hong Kong to Puerto Galera Yacht Race with an elapsed time of 103h 08m 36s.

This will be their second win in a row in a Hong Kong to Philippines race having won IRC Overall in the 2018 Rolex China Sea Race. As planned before the start, this was Fred’s last offshore race and he remarked on arrival, “How do I feel about my last offshore? It’s like a whole lifetime has passed before my eyes. All I can look forward to is slippers, a pipe, a warm fire, retirement and that rosy glow of knowing one’s done their best!”

With the IRC 0 Division finishing in Puerto Galera and the IRC Overall being calculated from the Limit Point Line, two unprecedented results have occurred with Antipodes winning the IRC 0 Division with a corrected time of 133h 16m 52s over Standard Insurance Centennial’s 134h 35m 41s and Standard Insurance Centennial coming second in IRC Overall with a corrected time of 124h 42m 13s ahead of Antipodes’ 124h 52m 10s.

As mentioned before, second in IRC Overall, Line Honours win and race record went to Ernesto Echauz’s R/P 75 Standard Insurance Centennial from the Philippines. With one race now under her belt, Standard Insurance Centennial will be going to Subic Bay to do a little bit of work on the boat. Ernesto commented, “We'll lift the boat out and do some work on the bottom and then after that in late May / early June we'll head down for the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.”

Third in IRC Overall and first in IRC 0 went to Geoffrey Hill’s Santa Cruz 72 Antipodes. On arrival, Navigator Alan Tillyer said, “We had a good start and came down the harbour in good shape. After that, the first night was a bit sloppy and then some beautiful sailing, flat waters and a beautiful full moon. Very interesting sailing as well, because it wasn’t the usual course you would take on a Rolex China Sea Race due to the southerly wind. When we got off the Philippines we had a lot of difficult times due to the ever changing wind patterns which made it challenging. But we got here safely and thoroughly enjoyed the race!”

Winner of the HKPN division went to Michael Ashbrook’s Jeanneau 469 Sitka followed by Dean Chisholm’s Hanse 40 Darling. “As a good friend of mine who’s recently travelled around the world on a Volvo said, “it’s all about crew work and it’s all about never giving up!” A testament to this was last night and the night before when the wind was zero and we just pursued to find the wind and we gained about 12nm on our competitors. What an amazing crew.” said Ashbrook.

He added “For those of you who don’t know; this will be our last Category 1 offshore on Sitka and to come in with a win and to have a fantastic race is what it’s all about! Tactically it’s definitely put another element on the race; to get to San Fernando or Subic Bay you are thinking outside the box already but to continue further down the coast and try and get those winds; the land breeze, the sea breeze - it just adds another element. At the end of the day its really guess work because you can’t time it, it’s luck, it’s true luck.”

The only yacht which continues to race is Chin Yew Seah’s A40 Rc Avant Garde, however with the 1800hrs cut off time tonight it seems highly unlikely they will get to the finish with the current conditions.

The on-location prize giving will be held at 1700hrs tonight at Elizabeth Hideaway in Puerto Galera, where battle flags will be awarded to the winners. The trophies for class and overall winners will be presented at Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club on Wednesday 8 May.

Full provisional results are available at https://www.hkpuertogalerarace.com/results
Regular updates can be seen on the Club’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RHKYC/

Photo Credits to RHKYC / Guy Nowell / Nikki Claringbold / Shahtoosh & Moonblue 2 crew / Dilys Wong / Kevin Dibley / Takumi Photography

Philippines’ Standard Insurance Centennial V takes Line Honours
By RHKYC Media
April 21st 2019:
Ernesto Echauz’s R/P 75 Standard Insurance Centennial crossed the finish line in the Hong Kong to Puerto Galera Yacht Race at 00h 53m 56s HK time 21 April, setting the race record at 85h 33m 56s. Standard Insurance Centennial is the only Philippines yacht taking part in the inaugural race. The newly acquired Reichel/Pugh 75 has been undergoing a refit over the last few months and only had its new sails tested the day before the race.

The crew on the yacht is made up of current and past members of the Philippines National Team including two female sailors. Ernesto commented on the addition of the female sailors before the start, “Yes, we have two women on board who are part of the national team as laser sailors and women's Far East 28 team. They have been part of the national team and Philippine Navy like most of our team members and adding them to the team is just adding additional members who will fit well in their positions. The R/P 75 is remarkable, easier to handle, sail and doesn't need heavy muscle power because of its advanced technology compared to Centennial 3, a TP52.”

On arrival we caught up with Ernesto, “It was long and difficult. We never expected those kinds of conditions - initially it was smooth, but then we couldn't get away from the holes. Otherwise it was a very pleasant race. We parked up for much longer than we had expected - something like 4 to 5 hours. We are very happy about the new boat; it ran very well and it’s very fast. We had it refitted right before the race. We only had it ready the day before the start and whilst that meant we didn't get to practice, it wasn't really needed as it’s very simple to use; not as complicated as the TP52. We also had Louis Perfecta on board who could tell the team how to use the 75 footer.”

The next yacht to arrive in Puerto Galera was Geoffrey Hill’s Santa Cruz 72 Antipodes at 11h 46m 27s and although almost 11 hours has elapsed since Centennial V crossed the line, Antipodes has provisionally claimed the Class 0 handicap stakes.

The race committee has now confirmed that all other classes except for IRC 0 will be finished at the Limit Point Line which can be seen on the Yellow Brick Tracker. (The Limit Point Line extends from a point at 14° 13.8N, 120° 35.25E and extends through and beyond a point at 13° 52.0N, 120° 05.25E.)

Fred Kinmonth’s and Nick Burns’ GTS 43 Mandrake III continues to retain their lead from yesterday. However as I write this the top four positions are constantly changing, but will most likely be made up of Mandrake III, Standard Insurance Centennial, Antipodes and Peter Cremers’ Warwick 75 Shahtoosh.

To keep up with the racing, goto RHKYC website
Follow the fleet on the YB Tracker to see how the racing plays out to the finish.
Regular updates can be seen on the Club’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RHKYC/

Photo Credits to RHKYC / Guy Nowell / Nikki Claringbold / Shahtoosh & Moonblue 2 crew / Dilys Wong / Kevin Dibley / Takumi Photography

HKPG Race Update 4 - Crawling towards the finish...
By RHKYC Media
April 20th 2019: Overnight the breeze lightened up and swung back to the south, returning to slow upwind conditions. At midday race leader Ernesto Echauz’s R/P 75 Standard Insurance Centennial V still had 110nm to go to the finish, as the fleet made a beeline for the Luzon coast, some relief arrived this afternoon, with the breeze veering favourably, enabling helms to point the bows towards the finish. With the forecast predicting the breeze to completely die by mid-day Sunday on the approach to Lubang Island, Standard Insurance Centennial may be able to sneak by the shortened finish line, just in time.

Fred Kinmonth’s and Nick Burns’ GTS 43 Mandrake III has taken the lead in IRC Overall followed by Geoffrey Hill’s Santa Cruz 72 Antipodes, then Peter Cremers Warwick 75 Shahtoosh.

Mandrake III has also solidified its position in front of Jonathan Mahony’s HYD 42 Zanzibar and Lo Wing Hong’s HH42 Rampage II in IRC 1. Nevertheless, with impending changing conditions both their overall and class leads could be in jeopardy. As with any race to the Philippines, it may be decided just off the coast! Hopefully they have enough food onboard to last the extended journey.

To keep up with the racing, goto RHKYC website
Follow the fleet on the YB Tracker to see how the racing plays out to the finish.
Regular updates can be seen on the Club’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RHKYC/

Photo Credits to RHKYC / Guy Nowell / Nikki Claringbold / Shahtoosh & Moonblue 2 crew / Dilys Wong / Kevin Dibley / Takumi Photography

HK Puerto Galera Race Update 3 - The beat goes on...
By RHKYC Media
April 19th 2019:
Day 3 and 4 of racing in the inaugural Hong Kong to Puerto Galera Race sees the fleet converge on the western lay line and they are now bearing towards the finish; unlike yesterday when the fleet were scattered across the course. The exception to this is Chin Yew Seah’s A40RC Avant Garde which is on the other side of the shift which is pushing them east.

The leading yacht on line in IRC Racer 0 is Ernesto Echauz’s R/P 75 Standard Insurance Centennial which has passed the rear of the HKPN boats which started a day earlier (Tuesday) and is hunting down their leader Michael Ashbrook’s Jeanneau 469 Sitka which continues to lead the HKPN fleet on handicap and line.

Peter Cremers’ Warwick 75 Shahtoosh is leading the IRC fleet on handicap and is cruising along at 9kts. Two father and sons are part of the 12 person crew including Peter’s son Enzo (17 years) and Dan Tullberg’s son Emil (16 years) who are both well-known dinghy sailors.

We caught up with Peter on racing with his son before the start, “Racing together is probably the best father and son time one can have. With the busy lives we all live, being able to do something that will be a long-lasting memory is valuable. He’s taught me to stay calm and collected, and to trust the team to do what they do best. Their dinghy experience brings an awareness of wind, waves and especially other boats. With so many other boats and other things to think about in large-fleet dinghy racing, they are used to having to keep track of many things at once.”

Another father and son team is Philippe and Cosmos Grelon racing double-handed on the Pogo 10.5 Decathlon Aya. They are currently 2nd in division behind the fully crewed Nicolas Cohen-Addad’s J122e Jinn.

Shahtoosh is followed by Fred Kinmonth / Nick Burns’ GTS 43 Mandrake III in IRC overall - prior to the race Fred was his usual humorous self and summed up their impending journey; ““Well its incredibly unusual, we have never done a race with a southerly breeze before in the South China Sea as far as I can remember. It’s very light. The two sides of the course are extremely different so navigationally it’s extremely tricky. We already extended all our flights; we don’t expect to arrive until Monday. So we will have to wait and see what happens, it’s very unpredictable. As for provisions, we have just got more water and more freeze dried food. The entire menu is freeze dried except for KFC for the first day. Then we have chili con carne for the next 4 days.”

Looking at the current ‘Windy’ forecast, the hole off the coast of the Philippines has reduced in size and shifted a bit to the north. However, keeping the boats moving in the patchy conditions will be dependent on playing the breeze and managing your arrival time into the coast, as the breeze usually dissipates during the night.

To keep up with the racing, goto RHKYC website
Follow on the YB Tracker.
Regular updates can be seen on the Club’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RHKYC/

Photo Credits to RHKYC / Guy Nowell / Nikki Claringbold / Shahtoosh & Moonblue 2 crew / Dilys Wong / Kevin Dibley / Takumi Photography

HK Puerto Galera Race Update 2
By RHKYC Media
April 18th 2019:
Thirteen boats are now racing towards Puerto Galera after two early retirements. The HKPN fleet which started on Tuesday have almost covered half of their 650nm sail across the South China Sea, however we are starting to see the lead yacht, Michael Ashbrook’s Jeanneau 469 Sitka’s boat speed drop on the YB Tracker as they near the rather ominous hole.

The entire fleet is currently west of the rhumb line, however different tactics are coming into play from yacht to yacht. Double-handed entry Philippe Grelon’s Pogo 10.50 Decathlon Aya has taken the most westerly route along with Nicolas Cohen-Addad’s J122e Jinn who is in second position in IRC Racer 2.

In the IRC 0 fleet Ernesto Echauz’s R/P 75 Standard Insurance Centennial is approaching the impending hole averaging 9kts with Geoff Hill’s Santa Cruz 72 Antipodes leading the class. However Antipodes is slowing markedly as they also approach the hole, currently averaging 6.5kts.

Peter Cremers’ Warwick 75 is in the lead of IRC Premier Cruiser with Fred Kinmonth / Nick Burns’ GTS 43 Mandrake III on a similar track and in the lead of IRC Racer 1.

With the hole covering a considerable area of the race track, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club issued a Notice to Competitors before the start which gives the option to shorten the course at a virtual line.

To keep up with the racing, goto RHKYC website
Follow on the YB Tracker.
Regular updates can be seen on the Club’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RHKYC/

Photo Credits to RHKYC / Nikki Claringbold / Dilys Wong / Kevin Dibley / Takumi Photography

HK Puerto Galera Race Update 1
By RHKYC Media
April 17th 2019: The IRC fleet in the inaugural Hong Kong to Puerto Galera Yacht Race got away this morning at 1120hrs in Hong Kong’s iconic Victoria Harbour. The Race takes competitors 650nm across the South China Sea to Puerto Galera on the Philippines island of Mindoro. 12 boats were on the start line with the three boats from the HKPN division having set off yesterday.

With a port and starboard incident after the start which resulted in Surfdude retiring with bow damage, Blackjack has made her way back to Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club was undertaking repairs to her port side and hopes to be on her way as soon as possible.

At soon as they got back to the Club, Glenn Smith commented on their plans, "We are getting the surveyor to come here, we have already taken a look at the hole and believe it's repairable. It all depends on the final inspection and if the surveyor thinks it will be seaworthy, we will go! We will be delayed maybe 10 hours, we might miss the party after all, but at least we will have done the race." Boat repairs however were completed in under four hours and the boat signed off as seaworthy. Said Smith on the quick turnaround "it's super right? Great service from Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club is what I say."

With Blackjack back in the Race, the fleet comprises 14 boats racing across five divisions with over 130 sailors on board from 14 countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, United Kingdom, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Sweden and USA. Today’s boats started in a very light easterly breeze with an ebb tide helping the yachts out of the harbour. Once the yachts passed Junk Bay, slightly more pressure filled in from the north-east.

To prepare for the event, competitors go through a stringent preparation period, during which all participants are scrutineered to ensure that they satisfy the World Sailing Category 1 Offshore Sailing Regulations (with RORC prescriptions). The biggest push to get ready for the start was by far by the Philippines entry Ernesto Echauz’s newest yacht the R/P 75 Standard Insurance Centennial which only just had their new mast put in a few days before the start. Yesterday Ernesto commented, “We were only able to practise with our new sails this afternoon. There are still a few minor kinks which need to be sorted out before the start of the race. Nevertheless, we are quite happy on the performance of the newly refitted yacht and would hope for a good maiden voyage.”

Alan Tillyer (Guilty) on board Geoff Hill’s Santa Cruz 72 Antipodes, who has done more South China Sea crossings than most summed up the forecast, “It's going to be an interesting weather scenario. Not unprecedented; I've seen similar weather forecasts to this. The winds are going to be light to moderate as we leave Hong Kong and increasingly go from the east to the south, so we'll be headed on port tack and then after about 24 hours we'll then have to tack over. That gradual heading as it becomes more southerly is going to be potentially quite tricky - there could be rain showers and storms so there will be modifications on that; we may have to put in short tacks to get around rain clouds. As the Hong Kong Observatory representative said in the skippers briefing, there is a trough of low pressure and this is causing a little instability so that's going to make the first part of the race very interesting and then when we get over towards the Philippines, unfortunately it’s a very light wind scenario.”

The early HKPN starters are currently cruising along at around 7kts have knocked off around 180nm off their journey. In the lead is Michael Ashbrook’s Sitka, a Jeanneau 469 followed by Dean Chisholm’s Hanse 40 Darling and Eddy Lee’s Sense 46 Generations. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we are able to receive updates from the boats.

Just after 1300hrs HK time Michael Ashbrook reported that Sitka was “trucking along nicely. Boat and crew all safe. Clear skies and good winds. We kept the power up last night full main and code 0 - think we made good time on the other boats. Heading to lighter winds tomorrow so will re-evaluate our strategy at some point soon. Was good to get off the coast and put some miles behind us.”

Generations has also checked in reporting “all good 15.4Kt AWS and good visibility”.

To keep up with the racing, goto RHKYC website
Follow on the YB Tracker.
Regular updates can be seen on the Club’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RHKYC/

Photo Credits to RHKYC / Dilys Wong / Kevin Dibley / Takumi Photography

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