Rolex China Sea Race 2023 - A lot more fun when the NE monsoon fills in
As Thursday turned into Friday, TP52s Happy Go and Rampage 88 had their own match racing competition out on the open water and spent the night closely covering each other. After an awkward start on Wednesday, Taswell 56 Daybreak, made great progress in catching up with the back of the fleet by Friday morning ; a Herculean effort by the double-handed crew on board and no doubt helped in part by much of the fleet being stuck in windless hole southeast of the Pratas at around midnight.
The bulk of the fleet have spent hours and hours today struggling to get even 5kts from their boats as they arduously sailed through a huge windless area in middle of the South China Sea.
Swan 56 Parnassus reported however that whilst they were going slow, they were truly enjoying themselves "Glorious Day out here in the South China Sea. Plenty of dolphins to accompany the lunchtime cheese and ham toasties, tomato soup and espressos. Shame there's no wind...! 2.5kn TWS right now. Ticking along at 2 knots for now and resting up before a spot of breeze tonight (hopefully)."
Finally in the afternoon, the wind caught up to the fleet who stayed east of Pratas and they gained some benefit ahead of the Westerly bulk (Swan 56 Parnassus, Warwick Custom Moonblue2 and Hanse 370 Zoe). J122e Juice and J-109 Whiskey Jack both in the east bulk had been travelling in 7 to 9kts compared to just 1 to 2kts several hours earlier., There have been a few shifts in the IRC standings, as the afternoon progressed it’s now Juice and Whiskey Jack fighting over the 2nd and 3rd positions and interchanging every half an hour it seems.
Jinn too has dropped a few places in IRC to 8th from 3rd at lunchtime and Rampage 88 is still ahead of Happy Go in 10th and 11th in IRC respectively (and 2nd and 3rd in Line Honours) with the third TP52, Standard Insurance Centennial 3 in 14th place in IRC Overall.
The lead boat Standard Insurance Centennial 5 who was the first boat to sail west of rhumb line, hasn’t seemed to suffer one bit. On Friday morning, she was already into the next trough of north-easterly breeze near Philippines and moving along nicely at 10.1kts - a far cry from a few of the others situated over 150nm behind her going less than 1kts. As of HKT 1600hrs, Standard Insurance Centennial 5 was still trucking along at 9.2kts and has managed to cover more than 80nm than the rest of the fleet over the past 24 hours. She has 190nm left to go.
Over in HKPN, Sense 46 Generations is still leading Hanse 370 Zoe.