Hong Kong to Hainan race

Karl Kwok’s MOD Beau Geste raced into Sanya, Hainan, at 1121 and 59 seconds (Hong Kong time) on Friday, the 19th of October, taking line honours and setting the race’s first multihull record of 24h 1m 59s. MOD Beau Geste narrowly missed the race record of 23h 31m 52s that was set in 2016 by Seng Huang Lee’s 100-foot super maxi, Scallywag, by a mere 30m 07s.

Second to arrive and claiming monohull line honours was Sam Chan’s TP52, Free Fire. The seven-year-old Free Fire arrived on Friday night at 2015 and 40 seconds (Hong Kong time), with an elapsed time of 32h 55m 40s. Chan is the only owner to have a version of Free Fire take part in every edition of the Hong Kong to Hainan Race.

Racing into Sanya shortly after was the Mills 41, Ambush, arriving at 2234 and 54 seconds (Hong Kong time) and taking the IRC Overall win. Karl Kwok commented: “It was an interesting race, the start was so severe, so rough, but by the time we reached Hainan everything had calmed down, and we were fighting for wind. Our top speed was consistently above 30 knots, so we should have been there six hours earlier, but unfortunately, that didn’t work. By the time the wind ran out there was another system from the island, so basically, we just ran out of wind altogether.

“The first 12 hours were remarkable because we got rewarded with flatter, calmer seas after the initial rush out of Hong Kong and the wind was strong. We had been anticipating close-quartered combat with SHK Scallywag Fuku, and are really sad they had to pull out.”

Joachim Isler (Ambush) was thrilled “We were the first monohull out of the harbour and held on to the lead until just before mark TCS3. We had some great racing; first with the jib top and then with the A4. We recorded fantastic speeds, topping at 25 knots.

“It was a little bit light on Friday but we had a tremendous finish coming in with 20 knots of breeze. So all in all, a fantastic offshore sprint. The crew worked extremely hard the whole race and I think it’s a well deserved result. It would have been all the more sweeter with my friend and co-owner Drew on board; he was sorely missed.”

The GTS 43, Mandrake III, woke the shore crew up with their early arrival at 0531 and 46 seconds on Saturday morning. “We had a tiny bit of trouble dropping the spinnaker at one point and it’s no longer in one piece; that was probably our low point of the race but the rest of it was magnificent. A finer body of men, one could not possibly find. I would say we probably had one of the best crews we have ever had, in terms of years of experience.” said Fred Kinmonth (Mandrake III).

The 390-nautical-mile downwind race started in Victoria Harbour on Thursday, the 18th of October 2018, at 1110. For results and times visit https://www. chinacoastraceweek.com/about-hainan
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