This afternoon in Hong Kong, San Fernando Race Chairman Gerry Daughton announced that, having monitored the development of Typhoon Maysak and taken advice from Hong Kong Observatory, the Race Committee had made the decision to amend the destination of the 20th edition of the San Fernando Race for the safety of the fleet.
Daughton stated that “Given the information and forecasts available to them, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and the San Fernando Race Organising Committee believe that there is no alternative but to alter the destination of this year’s race in the interests of competitor safety. It is intended instead to offer the fleet a challenging offshore race in the northern part of the South China Sea.”
A 240nm course will use a Victoria Harbour start as scheduled, before taking the fleet out through Lei Yue Mun Gap to the east, then around virtual and physical marks before finishing back in Hong Kong. The majority of the 25 boats entered for the race to La Union province are expected to participate, with the warning signal sounding at 1310hrs on 1 April.
Director of the Philippines Department of Tourism for Hong Kong and Macau, David Leung was pragmatic about the change in plans, saying that “Safety has to be our number one concern. The weather is very hard to predict nowadays and it is unexpected to have such a typhoon this early in the year.”
While competitors and sponsors were understandably disappointed not to be finishing the race in the sun, sand and blue skies of the Philippines, it was clear that the decision was understood and supported.
Tactician on Ragamuffin 90, Matt Humphries, noted that, although the Custom 90 would probably have reached San Fernando before being affected by the weather system, it was not all about the fastest boats, but “…about the integrity and safety of the fleet and I commend RHKYC for its decision.”
Veteran sailor Geoff Hill, owner of Smith 72’ Antipodes concurred, saying “you cannot send the fleet into danger. I am very comfortable with the Yacht Club’s decision and looking forward to the triangular race instead.”
– Race Media