It took just under 26 hours for Team Beau Geste to finish the 380nm Audi Hong Kong to Hainan Race, smashing FreeFire’s 2012 record for a shorter route by 2h 49m and 21s and setting a new benchmark of 25h 54m 33s. Given the fantastic force 5-6 north easterly which blew throughout the race, it may be some time before this time is bettered.
Boat Captain Cameron Ward was delighted, and when asked how the race had been for Team Beau Geste, he answered in a word – “Wet!”. Ward went on to elaborate: “The boat is designed for inshore sailing, but we thought we’d try her out. It was a tough race – none of us slept for the whole night – we just kept working as it was the only way to stay in front of the other boats.” Summing up the race, Ward continued, “A great race – fun, warm and downwind, so it was fantastic.”
Arriving second on the water, and taking second in IRC Racer 0 in the process was FreeFire, with Sam Chan philosophical about losing the record he had set just two years before “It’s my fifth race and the second in this boat – we’ve held the record twice with two different boats and every time we come here we enjoy the sailing.” Given that FreeFire replaced her mast and was re-rated in less than 48 hours, it was an achievement to be in Sanya at all, never mind second on the water and second in Division.
The final boat in IRC Racer 0 finished just over 40 minutes behind FreeFIre. Fresh from his victory in Audi China Coast Regatta, owner of OneSails Racing, Ray Roberts was generous in his assessment of Beau Geste’s race, while admitting that he may have made a tactical error. “It was a very exciting downwind race – we really love these warm sailing conditions compared to the Sydney to Hobart! I think we gybed in off the seaward side of the course a bit too early and that probably cost us the race but, no excuses, we gave it our best shot and Beau Geste put in a very good performance.”
With all the IRC Racer 0 boats now finished and no discards from the series allowed, Karl Kwok reverses the tables to take the divisional silverware for China Coast Race Week with Team Beau Geste.