It has been a long, slow day on the water for the 25 yachts still racing in the Rolex China Sea Race, with light winds plaguing the fleet. However on a positive note, the yachts have yet to stop moving.
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 above, while Hi Fi and Freefire both waited until around early afternoon and the Genuine Risk superyacht 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.
A battle still rages for the IRC Overall crown, with the Hi Fi yacht and the sailing yacht 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, however the 2012 Rolex China Sea Race will test the sailors’ patience and endurance, and is destined to be a marathon and not a sprint.