The 2014 Audi Hong Kong to Hainan Race will get underway in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour on Thursday 16 October, with the warning signal sounding at 1310hrs. First organised to mark the return of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1997 and conducted by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) with the co-operation of the Chinese Yachting Association (CYA), with the finish hosted this year by Serenity Marina in Sanya, Hainan, the race is well established and represents the only existing Category 1 offshore race to finish in the PRC.
Of the 11 boats originally entered, only 9 boats will make the start line on Thursday, with Sense 50, Sea Monkey, withdrawing after losing all her electrics in a suspected lightening strike and X-55, Xena, sustaining damage to her mast in a start line incident at Audi China Coast Regatta. Current record holder, TP52 FreeFire, is also a question mark for the race with suspected rig damage.
The select group of boats left in the race is not to be sniffed at however, with each division promising a battle for the winner’s title.
Karl Kwok’s Team Beau Geste is taking on Audi China Coast Regatta winner Ray Roberts’ OneSails Racing in a TP52 head-to-head which promises exciting racing at the front of the fleet. Paul Winkelmann’s Island Fling (JV42) has been optimized since last year’s Hong Kong to Vietnam Race, and proved fast on the water in the Audi China Coast Regatta, however in IRC Racer 1, they will be pitted against the new Kinmonth/ Burns owned Sydney GTS43, EFG Bank Mandrake 3, on her first offshore foray with her consistent and highly experienced amateur crew. Having run her numbers for yesterday’s forecast, EFG Bank Mandrake 3 is predicting a frisky race with a finish within 24hrs.
Anteros 36 Krampus puts Niccolo Manno’s well drilled team to the test against Simon Powell’s A40RC, Sell Side Dream, in IRC Racer 2 whilst in IRC Premier the Tipsy Easy team takes on Steve Ho’s Millenium 45, Surfdude, in a more comfortable battle.
Owing to restrictions on the fleet’s location in Chinese waters, the route will now measure approximately 380nm from start to finish, taking the boats through Lei Yue Mun Gap before rounding Waglan Island to starboard and heading into Chinese waters on a predominantly downwind slide.
Dangan and Jiapeng island groups are also to be left to starboard before the boats round Wanwei Zhou Rock and alter course for the finish at Sanya Bay, Hainan. This means that, irrespective of the finishing time, a new record will be set for the new course configuration.
All boats will be carrying Yellowbrick trackers and live tracking, updating at 30 minute intervals, can be viewed at http://www.rhkyc.org.hk/hkhainantracking.aspx
– RHKYC Media