The Hong Kong to Hainan Race got away this morning, in an easterly breeze of around 12kts. With a rather long start line, the fleet stuck to the committee boat end and played it safe as the gun sounded ensuring no boat was over the line.
First through the Lei Yue Mun Gap was Karl Kwok’s MOD Beau Geste 70 followed by Meitatsu Fukumoto and Seng Huang Lee’s Orma 60 SHK Scallywag Fuku.
Gavin Brady boat captain of MOD Beau Geste talked to us on the challenges of racing out of Victoria Harbour “Starting in Victoria Harbour with all this traffic? Well, we had a rehearsal of that at the Rolex China Sea Race which was good. I think that whether you are in the Solent or starting the Trans Pac Race or this Race, the cool thing about our sport is that we don't play on a field... When you play rugby you've got a set of white lines, and you have a stadium, it can be a different shape, but the playfield is the same. That's what makes these races so exciting for the owners, is that you come to Hong Kong and you have to get your head around getting out of Hong Kong Harbour, and it’s very different from getting out of Los Angeles or getting out of Sydney Harbour for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Don't have an incident. Don't go into restricted zones. We have to be real cautious. It would be a shame to lose the race trying to get one boat length ahead only you sail into a restricted zone and get disqualified from the race. I think that's what's really neat about these regattas; I think that's ultimately why sailing is so cool, why people keep doing this.”
At 1400hrs MOD Beau Geste and SHK Scallywag Fuku were flying along at around 28kts and had knocked 51nm/49nm off their 390nm journey to Sanya on Hainan Island in China.
At 1436hrs however, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club received a call from SHK Scallywag Fuku which regretfully had to retire due to a broken foil. They are expected to return to Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club between 1800hrs and 1900hrs tonight.
The first of the IRC fleet is Sam Chan’s TP52 Free Fire, who at 1400hrs have the peddle down and are sending it at 18kts. They are followed by Joachim Isler and Drew Taylor’s Mills 41 Ambush and Fred Kinmonth and Nick Burn’s GTS 43 Mandrake III. Keeping up the rear are Joshua Cole’s A40RC Avante Garde, Emmanuel Pitsilis’ Beneteau Sense 50 Sea Monkey and Michael Lunn’s Azuree 40 Lion Rock.
The first of the fleet are expected to arrive early Friday morning and are on pace to break the 2016 record, which stands at 23h 31m 52s and was set by Seng Huang Lee's other boat, the 100ft Super Maxi Scallywag.
Gavin added “If we get the breeze and we get the angle, we can cut the corner and shave 40 miles off the course. We're looking at finishing in the early hours of the morning, maybe before the sun comes up.”
Keep up with the latest news on the Hainan Race visit: https://www.chinacoastraceweek.com/news