Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race underway
Weeks of preparation came to a head this morning, as the 17 entrants in the Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race carried out their radio checks and made their way to the start line of the longest offshore race in Asia.
Race Officer Simon Boyde had been out on the water early and, finding 8 to 10 knots at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club start line with stronger breeze through Victoria Harbour to the east, had no hesitation in confirming that the race would start in front of the Club at Kellett Island.
At 1330, the start gun was fired by Rita Lee, General Marketing Manager for Audi Hong Kong and the race was underway. Ragamuffin 90 got a great start, along with Lucky and Red Kite II, which was closest to the favoured committee boat end of the line.
Chivas contrived to be around four minutes late for the start, but quickly clawed back the difference on the way out of the harbour.
Ragamuffin 90 led through Lei Yue Mun gap on the north shore, with Chivas breaking a main sheet as she endeavoured to catch them. FreeFire and Lucky stuck to the south shore, seeming to catch more consistent breeze.
Once out of the gap and past Junk Bay, the boats started preparing to hoist, and by Cape D’Aguilar all had their spinnakers flying.
kukuKERchu is currently looking very good on IRC handicap, however this is a tough race, with a reputation for testing hardware to the limit, so there’s plenty of scope for drama over the next four days.
With breeze up to Force 8 forecast over the next 12 hours, it seems likely that Ragamuffin 90 can maintain her VMG of around 20 knots, which would give her an ETA of around 0100hrs (HKT) on Saturday, smashing Skandia’s existing record of 42h 45m 41s.
To be accurate, as this is the first time this race has started in Victoria Harbour rather than off the south east of Lamma Island, whichever boat claims line honours in this year’s edition will set a new record, but everyone on shore is hoping for a sub-40 hour elapsed time from the Maxis.