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IRC Double handed preview


Heightened interest in double -handed racing worldwide has seen a shift in all major blue water classic races embracing the trend, with the Rolex China Sea Race 2024 being no exception.


Lisa Elaine - Carl Wilkinson and Patrick M Harmon

This year will be the second time Bavaria Cruiser 56, Lisa Elaine has competed, with skipper Carl Wilkinson, opting to race in the double-handed division this year.


Carl will be sailing with co-skipper Patrick M Harmon, a regular crew member on board Lisa Elaine.  The pair have been active on the local double handed race scene in preparation for this Cat 1 offshore race. They will be putting their wealth of experience on the line to be tested by the conditions thrown at them in the Rolex China Sea Race.

Carl is passionate about the opportunity to race in the two-handed format. “I have always been attracted to the idea of double-handed racing and this is an opportunity to fulfill a dream of mine.”


Carl will also be sharing the race to a wider audience of new enthusiasts. "I work in the outdoor and experiential education industry, and we will be providing updates and interviews to a local school in Hong Kong about our experience on the Race. I hope this is an exciting way to get students interested in the sport and to encourage them to also go for their dreams.”


A Plastic Ocean - Philippe and Cosmas Grelon

Father and son team, Philippe and Cosmas Grelon return for a third time as a double handed entry in the Rolex China Sea Race. The pair were the sole double-handed entry in the 2018 edition on their 35-foot boat Decathlon Aya and returned in 2023 on a Beneteau Figaro 3; a high-performance sailing yacht designed specifically for short-handed offshore racing. Despite the auto pilot system failing midway through the 2023 race, the pair took 1st place in the division along with 2nd place IRC Overall.

The Grelon’s have extensive short-handed racing experience, including the inaugural Hong Kong to Puerto Galera Yacht Race.  Philippe owns the world speed sailing record in monohull between Taipei and Hong Kong 2006, while Cosmas was RS500 world champion in 2011.

This pair of lifelong sailors are passionate about connecting people to the ocean and raising awareness of the urgent need to mitigate against pollution. This year their boat is named to show their support to A Plastic Ocean Foundation. 

Daybreak –Ryan Mann/Casey Benjamin

Ryan Mann and Casey Benjamin return for their second Rolex China Sea Race on board Taswell 56’s Daybreak. Last year they encountered technical issues six hours into the race, forcing them to return to Hong Kong. Recommencing racing a full day after the main fleet, the experience has spurred on the duo to join again in 2024.

Rolex China Sea Race 2024, which takes competitors from Hong Kong, China across the China Sea to Subic Bay in the Philippines will start on 27 March.


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