VCCR - Cut short but still sweet...
A northerly breeze of 15 to 22kts greeted the racers as they reached the race track south east of Lamma Island this morning. IRC 0, 1, 2 and 3 were sent on two windward/leewards and an island course with IRC Premier sailing one island course. The HKPN division sailed one windward/leeward and an island course.
All the leaders from Day 1 of the regatta were able to maintain their lead in their divisions, including Zannekin; Marcel Liedt’s Ker 46 from IRC Racer 0 who won the Volvo China Coast Regatta for second year running! Zannekin was followed by Sam Chan’s TP52 FreeFire who had a great day taking home two bullets allowing them to climb up the ladder after a frustrating first day on the water. Third in the division went to Shawn Kang’s Ker 46+ Lighthorse Alphaplus.
In the IRC Racer 1 division it was Volvo China Coast Regatta Race Chairman Fred Kinmonth’s and Nick Burns GTS 43 Otonomos Mandrake who take home first after an impressive run of three firsts out of six races. Otonomos Mandrake was followed by Tiffany Koo’s King Mills 40 Hero Racing Team who sailed her way to claim the other three firsts in the division.
There were quite a few broaches and ripped kites across IRC Racer 2 and 3 today which resulted in a few retirements. However it was Steve Manning and Paul O’Malley who took home the win after four wins out of six races in their first regatta on board their new A40 Red Rum. Red Rum was followed by Simon Powell’s A40RC Sell Side Dream and Simon commented “The regatta was fantastic; it is without doubt one of the premier regattas in Asia. Fantastic winds, shame we can't get the seventh race in tomorrow but all credit to the race officer for getting the races in over two days. We have had a great time and have enjoyed every minute of it, it was topped off with a bullet in the last race. We worked hard to try and chase Manning's new boat. It was very close racing and thoroughly enjoyable.”
With five wins out of six races Nick Southward’s J-109 Whisky Jack is on top of IRC Racer 3. Nick remarked “We had five bullets and we got second I'm afraid in the last race. The regatta was absolutely brilliant. We had a fantastic time. Our only problem now is getting back to Kellett Island for the party against 30+ kts of wind. Overall it’s been a fantastic regatta, really brilliant!”
In IRC Premier Peter Churchouse’s Warwick Custom Moonblue 2 came out ahead of Alex Yu’s Bavaria 55 Clove Hitch, with a win in all of their races.
The regatta dinner and overall prizegiving will be held at Kellett Island Poolside tonight, as Hong Kong holds its breath with a possibility of a Typhoon 8 tomorrow.
in races before Typhoon warning
After three races and two bullets in their first races of the day, 2016 Volvo China Coast Regatta IRC Racer 0 winner Ker 46 Zannekin was ahead of the fleet. Zannekin was followed by and Shawn Kang’s Lighthorse Ker 46+ Alpha Plus and Philippines entry Ernesto Echauz’s TP52 Standard Insurance Centennial.
There were a few individual recalls throughout the day, but the upset of the day was the second IRC Racer 0 start where an individual recall was called, Sam Chan’s TP52 FreeFire was the first to turn however Frank Pong’s RP76 Jelik and Wang Bin’s Cookson 50 UBOX did not turn back until the radio call; giving them a considerable disadvantage as they chased the fleet up the course.
Fred Kinmonth and Nick Burns Sydney GTS 43 Otonomos Mandrake sailed their way to two wins in the first races of the day and finishing only 23 seconds behind Tiffany Koo’s King Mills 40, Hero Racing team on the islands race putting Otonomos Mandrake in first place going into Day 2 followed by Hero Racing team and Joachim Isler’s and Drew Taylor’s Mills 41 Ambush in third.
In the IRC Racer 2 fleet Steve Manning’s and Paul O’Malley’s newly acquired A40 Red Rum took three bullets making it cracking first day of racing on board their new boat. Manning said “First time on the water, first time with the sails up and first races. The three bullets are great; perhaps its beginners’ luck but we're all very happy. There will probably be a bit more breeze on the water tomorrow, so that will take bit more crew work and more coordination which we are obviously working on for the first time.”
Nick Southward’s J-109 Whisky Jack also came away with 3 bullets giving them a first in the IRC Racer 3 fleet, followed by Simon Powell’s A40RC Sell Side Dream in second and Gordon Liu’s Sydney 38 Kingsman in third.
In the IRC Premier fleet race management very kindly AP’d the start and set IRC Racer 2 and 3 off first allowing Peter Churchouse’s Warwick Custom Moonblue 2 who were experiencing mainsail issues make it to the start. In the end Moonblue 2 was able to win both their races ahead of Alex Yu’s Bavaria 55 Clove Hitch in second. Churchouse commented “We had a great day out on the water, awesome sailing, a perfect Friday 13th. A very special thanks to the race management team."
With Tropical Storm Khanun approaching Hong Kong and some predictions for a typhoon 3 being hoisted on Sunday it will be interesting to see how racing plays out for Day 2 of the Volvo China Coast Regatta.
competitive fleet for Volvo China Coast Regatta
Race organisers, however, are keeping a close eye on a potential typhoon developing off Hong Kong. An emergency meeting was held last night at the Club to discuss contingency plans. The event faced a similar situation in 2016 when Tropical Cyclone Haima brought Hong Kong to a standstill the day before the regatta, however the storm came and went without affecting racing. There is yet another system off Vietnam, which is also being carefully monitored by race management.
The fleet for the 2017 Volvo China Coast Race Week is a very competitive one. RHKYC Sailing Manager Ailsa Angus commented “we have the usual suspects racing and we have a great IRC 0 division this year”. IRC 0 includes China’s Wang Bin with his Cookson 50 UBOX. Bin skippered the first Chinese yacht to complete a world circumnavigation, as well taking 3rd in IRC Overall in the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Shawn Kang has moved from the Premier Cruising Division with his new KER 46+ Lighthorse Alphaplus, with Wade Morgan racing on board; previous team leader of Black Baza - IRC Overall winner of the Hong Kong to Vietnam race 2015 and boat captain of the Abu Dhabi team in 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race.
Five of the boats entered have recently changed hands including; Liu Yong Feng’s, Seawolf, which was previously named Black Baza; the KER 42 Custom won Asian Yachting Grand Prix Skipper and Yacht of the Year for 2016/17 under the ownership of Anthony Root and Steve Manning and took second IRC Overall in the China Coast Regatta 2016.
Looking to the Volvo Hong Kong to Vietnam Race the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club welcomes the first Italian, Russian and Philippines entries to compete in the Race; Mascalzone Latino, Mattteo Savelli’s Cookson 50, No Applause a First 40 CR owned by Alexander Vodovatov and regular participant in the Rolex China Sea Race, Philippines entry, Ernesto Echauz in his TP52 Standard Insurance Centennial.
For the first time in the event’s history the Club has introduced staggered starts; the smaller boats will head off on Tuesday 17 October, with the majority of the fleet setting off on Wednesday 18 October. This will allow the boats to converge as they head into the finish in Nha Trang, Vietnam. The sequence acting predominantly as a safety factor, with the bigger boats coming up behind the smaller fleet should they get into any trouble.
2015 IRC 0 winner, Phillip Turner’s Reichel / Pugh 66 Alive, is racing in her second Hong Kong -Vietnam Race. With a 2015 elapsed time of 49h 56m 21s being only, 7h 38m 57s behind Syd Fisher’s Ragamuffin 100’s current race record of 42h 17m 24s, all eyes will be on her to see how the race plays out in what is expected to be a fast race.
Image credits to AsianYachting / RHKYC / Guy Nowell
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