Supported by the Philippine Department of Tourism and organized by Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), the 2015 edition of this biennial race will feature 25 sailing yachts, ranging in length from 10.5m Pogo Aya to Syd Fischer’s Custom 90’ Ragamuffin.
Australian legend Fischer is looking for Line Honours on this, Ragamuffin’s inaugural San Fernando Race, with boat captain David Witt confirming that the boat is looking to break the monohull race record of 49h 55m 12s set in 2001 by 70’ ULDB Sled, Ffree Fire. Hong Kong based owner Sam Chan will be defending his record on TP52 FreeFire , joined in IRC Racer 0 by Ray Roberts on TP52 OneSails Racing and 2013 Line Honours and IRC champion Geoff Hill on Smith 72 Custom, Antipodes.
IRC Racer 1 features old adversaries Ambush and EFG Bank Mandrake under a new guise, with Joachim Isler and Drew Taylor christening their new, McConaghy-built, Mills 41 and the Nick Burns / Fred Kinmonth owned Sydney GTS43 competing in only her second Cat. 1. They are joined in Racer 1 by Paul Leese’s veteran J-145 C Redeye. Isler was keen to stress that the race is “the first race for the boat and we are very excited; needless to say, the fact that we only had a couple of weeks of prep time is (unnecessarily) adding to the excitement levels.. We expect all sorts of different conditions in terms of wind strength and direction, so it will be a good test of the boat’s capabilities.”
In IRC Racer 2, the experienced ARC40 Sell Side Dream and J-109 Whiskey Jack are joined by ARC40 Avant Garde and two boats doing their first Cat 1 race, namely Pogo 10.5 Aya, skippered by Philippe Cotillon and Salona 42, Jarrah, owned by Matthew Johnson.
Apart from the oft-quoted full moon, clear skies and blue seas enjoyed during this blue-water race, one of the attractions is the fabulous cruising on offer in the region for those boats staying on after the race finish. Banuls 60 Catamaran MACH2 is one such competitor, with owner Raphael Blot saying “Right after SFR, we will bring the boat down to Busuanga where I will pick up my family for a week of cruising during the Easter holiday. We will then deliver the boat back from El Nido to HK after a stop in Subic.”
After a blistering run in the 2013 Hong Kong to Vietnam Race, Blot is eyeing up both Line Honours and the 2001 Multihull Record of 49h 52m 42s set by Benoit Lesaffre’s catamaran Atmosphere.
The warning signal for the 2015 San Fernando Race will sound at 1310hrs on Wednesday 1 April, against the backdrop of RHKYC’s Kellett Island Clubhouse in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.