Rolex China Sea Race – A gamble of heading south or east
The first night of the Rolex China Race 2023 went well with the fleet continuing to beat upwind in their first 24 hours, in a fair south-easterly breeze.
With the weather predicted to be influenced by the northeast monsoon filling into the South China Sea, the routing for the start of the Race saw the majority of the fleet heading up east towards Taiwan and then working down to Philippines. Jinn reported early on that they had "Lovely wind of 15kts from SSE. Going along nicely in good weather."
Philippines entry Standard Insurance Centennial 5 has held onto the (Line Honours) lead and at around 2130hrs last night, was the first to break away from the main pack and head south and for much of the day was south of the rhumb line. As of HKT 1545hrs, they were traveling at 8.6kts and have 357nm left to cover. Whilst they are currently lying first for Line Honours they are 9th in IRC Overall.
At 0200hrs this morning the crew onboard Swan 53, Athena, reported "All’s well onboard Athena. Consistent 13 - 15 knots wind. Sea state is 1m. Boat speed 8-9 knots.” 15 hours later, Athena is currently 1st in IRC taking over the spot from Whiskey Jack.
When the sun came up, Sun Odyssey 42ds, Pacific Sunrise, aptly shared "We are on our way to Taiwan and enjoying the beautiful, sunrise. No fish yet. All well.”
The update mid-morning from J122e, Jinn, was "Weather forecast still shows a hole forming south of Pratas, which is our general direction. We hope to get the easterlies sooner than the forecast since the model has been wrong from the beginning.”
Behind Standard Insurance Centennial 5 in the race for Line Honours are the three TP52s Happy Go and Rampage 88, followed by Standard Insurance Centennial 3. Currently leading in the HKPN Division is Sense 46, Generations. Figaro 3, Simpson Marine, is leading in the double-handed and a very credible 4th in IRC.