Subic Bay, Philippines (March 27, 2016) – Philip Turner’s RP66 ALIVE sets new course record and takes 1st place in IRC Division 0. The Rolex China Sea Race 2016 is a 565nm Category 1 Offshore Race run under the auspices of RORC, and takes competitors from Hong Hong, China to Subic Bay in the Philippines. Title image © Daniel Forster
Sixteen Year Race Record Falls
Having faced the gamut of sailing conditions and provided one of the most exciting finishes since race tracking was introduced, Phillip Turner’s RP66 Alive has claimed Line Honours in the 2016 Rolex China Sea Race and written herself in to the record books by setting a new record for the race of 47h 31m 08s, 11 minutes and 59 seconds inside Beau Geste’s record, set back in the millennium edition.
After an inauspicious harbour start for the fleet, Alive made very slow progress out of a foggy, damp Hong Kong and, had it not taken four hours for the northeast monsoon to kick in, she could have been looking at taking a much larger chunk out of the record.
Once in open water, the breeze picked up and the RP66 had stiff competition for Line Honours nearly all of the way, with Banuls 60 Catamaran MACH2 making impressive gains through the middle stretch of the race. Both vessels raced close to the rhumb line, however just over 200nm from the start, Alive chose to peel off south to stay off the coast and set up a more westerly approach to Subic Bay, leaving MACH2 to take an inside line.
The tactics paid off for Phillip Turner and while MACH2 sat in the dreaded Luzon hole for 5 hours, making slow progress, Alive benefited first from the mid-morning sea breeze kicking in.
Crew Stacey Jackson commented, “The race was fairly good for us. We managed to stay ahead of the bad weather which I gather some of the smaller boats are having. It’s a good way to go sailing. Several times last night we commented how great it was – we were doing 17 to 18kts under a full moon. They say ‘start well, finish well’ … well, we finished well!”
About Alive Yachting
Alive is a 66 foot canting keel Reichel Pugh racing yacht currently racing out of Brisbane and registered with the Derwent Sailing Squadron, Tasmania. Purchased at the beginning of 2014 by Tasmanian businessman, Phillip Turner, Alive and fresh crew sailed the northern circuit as well as the Melbourne to Vanuatu, finish off with the 2014 Sydney Hobart. Alive is skippered by fellow Tasmanian, Duncan Hine, running a mostly non-professional crew of Brisbane and Tasmanian sailors. At 66 foot Alive fits into the ‘mini-maxi’ size category. However, her narrow and light hull combined with powerful new Southern Spars rig makes her a technically advanced and challenging boat.
About The Rolex China Sea Race
The 2016 Rolex China Sea Race started on Wednesday 23 March in Hong Kong’s iconic Victoria Harbour finishing 565nm later in Subic Bay in the Philippines. 2016 year marks the 28th edition of this biennial Offshore Category 1 race, run under the auspices of RORC since 1972. Organising authority Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) hosted 33 local and overseas boats at its Kellett Island base prior to the start, including entries from Australia, China, Japan, Philippines, Russia and Singapore.
The fleet gathered for the start in front of RHKYC’s Kellett Island clubhouse after a demanding preparation period, during which all participants have been scrutinized to ensure that they satisfy the World Sailing Category 1 offshore sailing requirements (with RORC prescriptions). Renowned as being a tricky race, the China Sea Race typically starts with grey skies in a cool Hong Kong but, after a challenging first night, the skies clear and competitors can enjoy a spinnaker ride under a full moon. Once the fleet approaches the northern coast of the Philippines a strong diurnal breeze kicks in and tactics become supremely important as boats do their utmost to keep moving in the light airs of dawn and dusk.
China Sea Race History
On April 7, 1962, three yachts from RHKYC, one from Manila and one from Japan crossed the line at the start of the first China Sea Race. The yachts were escorted over the first 100 miles of their 600 mile journey by two minesweepers of the Hong Kong Royal Naval Reserve.
The finish was off Corregidor Island, crossing a line formed by vessels of the Philippines Navy, to be met by members of the Manila Yacht Club who had co-operated most generously with the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in all the arrangements. Due to no radios being on board the yachts, Chris von Sydow’s Reverie crossed the finish line after six days’ racing to find out that they were in first place.
The China Sea Race was subsequently held as a biennial event. In 1964 it attracted 12 entries and in 1966, 13, including the famous ketch Stormvogel. With each successive race, the event grew bigger. In 1968, it was included for the first time in the newly organised World Ocean Racing Championships and in 1972 it was officially recognised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
Since then it has continued to attract interest and, as an undisputed Asian blue-water classic, has served to draw the attention of the international yachting fraternity to Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.