The warning signal for the 2014 Audi Hong Kong to Hainan Race sounded on schedule today and with 15kts of easterly breeze available throughout the harbour, Race Officer Simon Boyde had no qualms about setting a Club start.
Nine boats made it to the start line, with Sam Chan’s FreeFire setting what must be a record for the fastest mast replacement in RHKYC history (less than 48 hours) and with a new IRC certificate to match. Just after the warning signal, Surfdude called in to say that they had broken their main halyard and were returning to the typhoon shelter to try and rectify the problem.
The start was relatively sedate – with 380nm to their destination, a few seconds here or there was not going to win the race, but in 18-20kts of breeze the TP52’s set off like scalded cats, making it through traditional pinch point, Lei Yue Mun Gap without slowing down. Once round Waglan Island, their VMG increased to around 18kts and, given the forecast, it is entirely possible that they might make it to Hainan in less than 24hrs.
At 1700hrs, Racer 0 had all cleared Wenwei Zhuo Rock, leaving 300nm of clear blue water between them and Hainan Island while Surfdude, having managed to re-run her halyard and start the race well behind the fleet, seems to have taken a wrong turn in leaving the Lemas to port.
All boats are carrying Yellowbrick trackers and live tracking, updating at 30 minute intervals, can be viewed at http://www.rhkyc.org.hk/hkhainantracking.aspx