Kong to Hainan Race - Freefire takes the trifecta...
Kong to Hainan Race Record
Freshly arrived on the dock at Serenity Marina and still to clear CIQ, owner Sam Chan was clearly delighted, not only with the boat and the team’s performance, but also with the prevailing conditions. “We had great wind and a great wind angle all the way, giving us another new record and beating our old one. It’s great to be back in Hainan and without a single breakage on the boat, which topped out at 23kts boatspeed. Champagne sailing!”
RHKYC’s Rear Commodore Sailing and Chan’s second in command, Russ Parker added “It was a great race in lovely conditions – the boat was flying along! It’s great to be here”
Freefire stands a very good chance of ‘doing the double”, that is, winning the IRC Overall title on handicap as well as line honours. Her nearest rivals for that particular silverware are Jonathan Mahony’s Zanzibar and Anthony Root’s Red Kite II both of whom are very much still in the game with projected corrected times just outside of the TP52’s.
As predicted, it was a very tight finish on the water between Antipodes and Jelik V ... tight as in 27 seconds on the water after 355nm. Antipodes 19 46 28 edged it, but Jelik V 19 46 55 takes her on corrected time. Red Kite II's projected corrected time is currently an hour behind Freefire, while Wicked is a further 2 hours back .. unless they get a serious lift during the night, it looks like Freefire's Race.
set to break Hong
Kong to Hainan Race Record
Oct 19th 1400hrs: At the 1400hrs tracking update, Freefire's ETA is 1649hrs ... nailbiting stuff! Jelik V and Antipodes are bow to bow at present, with the Aussies showing slightly better VMG for the last hour. Red Kite II now lies second to Freefire (by just over half an hour) in the predicted IRC Overall results, followed by Wicked then Ambush. Touch and go for Freefire - 4 hrs to do 35.5nm - Presently doing 13kts gybing downwind along coast to Sanya. Hopefully afternoon seabreeze picks up for another rendition of "Play it again Sam..." long into the night.
Oct 19th 0900hrs: Freefire still on course to break record! At 0800hrs Friday, Freefire was less than 100nm from the finish at Serenity Marina in Sanya, averaging around 13kts VMG, however Jelik V, Antipodes and Zanzibar are not far behind. Freefire also leads on projected IRC Overall corrected, with Jelik V, Red Kite II and Zanzibar also in the hunt for this silverware. Force 5 to 6 NE forecast, with the breeze strengthening from the north and turning more easterly, means the smaller boats may get a boost as they come in to the Hainan coast. Koon Woon is averaging about 8 knots at the tail end of the fleet, but is currently projected to make Saturday's location party.
Keeping time ... Freefire's (or any other boat's) target time to beat the 2005 record is 17 55 08hrs today. Keep up with the pace go to Yellowbrick Tracking
details, Entry List and Results at: http://www.rhkyc.org.hk/hainanrace.aspx
Kong to Hainan Race gets underway...
Oct 18: After frantic weeks of training, scrutineering and boat prep, the twelve competitors entered in this year’s Hong Kong to Hainan Race gathered early in the typhoon shelter at Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s Kellett Island headquarters for final preparations, radio checks, and to await Race Officer Simon Boyde’s decision on whether there was sufficient breeze to start in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.
Boyde was out on the water from 0930hrs, taking wind readings up the harbour and through the notorious Lei Yue Mun gap, where many Hong Kong races have come to a grinding halt.
All was good with 12kts north easterly at Shek O Rock and a reasonably solid 6kts through Lei Yue Mun, with 9kts and building at the start line in front of the Club, so a harbour start was on the cards.
To avoid any confusion with Hong Kong’s ‘Noonday Gun’, the warning signal was sounded at 1210hrs with the start at 1220hrs. In a good spread along the line, Jelik V from the Philippines was first away, followed by Singaporean offshore fan Jonathan Mahony on Zanzibar. Ambush got a good start at the committee boat end, while Freefire was forced outside the committee boat by Wicked.
By the time the boats approached Lei Yue Mun gap, Jelik V and Freefire were virtually match racing their way through the channel, with Antipodes and Zanzibar following up. Ambush was at the head of Div 1, ahead of EFG Bank Mandrake. Last through the gap was Koon Woon, the lone HKPN entrant.
At the 1800hrs radio sched, based on the last hour’s progress, Yellowbrick tracking was showing Freefire leading on the water and on course to finish at around 1400hrs tomorrow. While technically, as this is the first time the Hainan Race has started in the harbour, whoever wins line honours sets a new record, it would surely be sweet for Sam Chan and the boys to break their existing record of 29h 35m 08s, set in 2005.
Nothing is guaranteed of course, and Jelik V, Antipodes and Zanzibar are breathing right up Freefire’s transom and could make gains overnight in the force 5 to 6 forecast by the Hong Kong Observatory. Unfortunately, early in the race, Avant Garde was forced to retire with gear problems and is due back in Hong Kong shortly with all on board safe and well.
Goto Yellowbrick Tracking
Image credits to RHKYC / Guy Nowell
Oct 16: This Offshore Category 1 race from Hong Kong to Sanya, Hainan Island was first contested in 1997 and was a biennial alternative to the Hong Kong to Vietnam Race until 2009, when logistical issues made the race unviable.
Twelve boats will set off from Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour at 1220hrs on Thursday. The conditions being bandied around by those with access to weather services are 15 to 20kts of north / north east breeze – just perfect for this race.
The race record of 29h 25m 08s is held by Sam Chan’s Ffree Fire, a 71’ ULDB sled, and Chan will be chasing his own record on his latest incarnation, TP52 Freefire as well as looking for a first on corrected time to add to his perfect score at the St. Regis International China Coast Regatta.
Competition for Line Honours will be fierce though, with Geoff Hill and Syd Fisher campaigning Santa Cruz 72 Antipodes and Stephen Tan and Ernesto Echauz looking for Philippine glory on Jelik V. The competition for IRC Overall will be equally gripping, with Jonathan Mahony’s Zanzibar, IRC Overall winner of the Rolex China Sea Race 2012 up against Anthony Root’s Red Kite II, IRC Overall winner of the San Fernando Race 2011 and Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake, who came a very close divisional second to Zanzibar in the 2011 VinaCapital Hong Kong to Vietnam Race.
EFG Bank Mandrake will also be hoping to add to her first in division at the St. Regis China Coast Regatta with a win in Racing Division 1, however Ambush, Sell Side Dream, Wicked and Avant Garde will also be looking for glory in the 40-footer division and will not be making it easy for the Burns/ Kinmonth partnership.
X-55 Xena could also prove dangerous in the overall standings, although as the only Premier Cruiser she is guaranteed first in division, as is Koon Woon, the lone HKPN representative.
All boats will be tracked using the proven Yellowbrick tracking system, with the first boats expected to arrive early Saturday morning, and the tail end to finish on Sunday.
The Hong Kong to Hainan Race is proudly supported by the Apes Hill Club, Barbados, who hosted an exclusive dinner event for competitors, sponsors and invited guests on Monday 15 October. This luxury property development is also joined by American Express, Pernod Ricard and GAC Pindar as official race partners. ABSOLUT Vodka will host the Official Prize Presentation and post-race celebration on Thursday 1 November at the Club.
More details, Entry List and Yellowbrick tracking at: http://www.rhkyc.org.hk/hainanrace.aspx
Image credits to RHKYC / Guy Nowell
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