The 28th edition of the China Sea Race has the potential to rewrite the record books for not just one, but two records, as the progress of both RP66 Alive and Banuls 60 Catamaran MACH2 suggest that both monohull and multihull records set in 2000 are under serious threat. After 24 hours of racing, both boats had covered in excess of half the course and, averaging 12kts VMG, have a current estimated elapsed time of around the 44 hour mark. The current outright record is 47h 43m 07s, while the multihull record stands at 48h 01m 47s.
This, of course, takes no account of changing weather patterns as the boats approach the Philippine coast and it is interesting to note that, of only two boats in the fleet to stay high of the rhumb line, Standard Insurance Centennial has possibly the best local knowledge of likely conditions. UBOX is hot on her tail, currently estimated to finish after around 56 hours, together with fellow IRC Premier competitors, Shahtoosh and Moonblue 2, who have both elected to stay south for now.
There is a constant change at the top of the leaderboard for the projection of winner in IRC Corrected time, with only three hours on estimated corrected time (ECT) separating the top seven boats. Standard Insurance Centennial’s owner, Ernesto Echauz, has plenty of form, having lifted the China Sea Race Trophy in 1998 and 2008 and will be putting his previous experience to good use, however Anthony Root’s Black Baza is running the TP52 very close, as is Sydney GTS43, EFG Mandrake, with less than an hour amongst the three on ECT.
Chinese A40RC Seawolf is currently leading the charge on ECT in IRC Racer 2, however predictions change with every tracker update, with Krampus and double handed entry Whiskey Jack also laying claim to the leadership through the day.
Night 2 beckons and forecasts suggest it will be as rough as the first night out, with the north east monsoon picking up behind the fleet. If it is strong enough to negate the diurnal breezes off the Luzon coast, we could be looking at Line Honours being taken at 1000hrs tomorrow.
Armchair enthusiasts can follow the action by checking the Yellowbrick trackers at www.rhkyc.org.hk/rcsr16tracking.aspx – trackers are set to update twice an hour and have proved addictive watching for friends and family.