Rolex China Sea Race 2012 - a marathon, not a sprint

RCSR 2 1840hrs Thursday 05 April
Yellowbrick Tracking
Maybe the Philippines' weather patterns have come north to greet the fleet, but whatever the reason this is not a blast reach to Subic Bay. A quick look at the tracker image shows some very unusual fleet manoeuvres, with the fast and leading boats diving away to the south before heading east again, and the less fast boats making the easterly turn before the southerly. You can almost see the pressure pattern, and how the fleet dealt with it.

It has definitely been a long, slow day on the water for the 25 boats still competing in the Rolex China Sea Race, with light winds plaguing the fleet. However on a positive note, the boats have yet to stop moving.

Rolex China Sea Race 2012 - Surfdude. Gone home.

Steve Ho’s Surfdude retired at around 2000hrs on night one due to engine problems and although the race relies on wind power, this would have had a knock on effect on the ability to recharge batteries and maintain radio contact with the fleet. The remainder of the fleet continued along the rhumb line towards the Philippines, with Genuine Risk posting an average speed of 10kts, until the early hours of this morning, when the wind softened, and the fleet slowed considerably.

At that point several boats were sailing well south of the rhumb line, with Jelik V throwing in an early tack to get back up and east, while Hi Fi and Freefire both waited until around early afternoon and Genuine Risk a further hour before changing their direction in the search for boatspeed.

There was never really any doubt that, barring mechanical failure, Geoff Hill would be leading the pack, however his challenge on Karl Kwok’s 12 year-old record of 47h 43m 7s must be considered ‘dead in the water’ given the gentle conditions.

Rolex China Sea Race 2012

A battle still rages for the IRC Overall crown, with Hi Fi and Jelik V swapping the leading role in Division 0 and EFG Bank Mandrake consolidating her lead in Division 1. Talking Head has stolen a march on Red Kite II in the slow conditions, and Xena is currently charging ahead of the Premier Cruising fleet, with Redeye maintaining a strong performance in the Cruising Class.

Much can change overnight. But the 2012 Rolex China Sea Race will test the sailors’ patience and endurance a good deal further yet. This is destined to be a marathon, not a sprint.

Rolex China Sea Race 2012 - good wind off the harbour start line


Rolex China Sea Race 2012 - Ambush


www.chinasearace.com