Day 3 and 4 of racing in the inaugural Hong Kong to Puerto Galera Race sees the fleet converge on the western lay line and they are now bearing towards the finish; unlike yesterday when the fleet were scattered across the course. The exception to this is Chin Yew Seah’s A40RC Avant Gardewhich is on the other side of the shift which is pushing them east.
The leading yacht on line in IRC Racer 0 is Ernesto Echauz’s R/P 75 Standard Insurance Centennialwhich has passed the rear of the HKPN boats which started a day earlier (Tuesday) and is hunting down their leader Michael Ashbrook’s Jeanneau 469 Sitkawhich continues to lead the HKPN fleet on handicap and line.
Peter Cremers’ Warwick 75 Shahtooshis leading the IRC fleet on handicap and is cruising along at 9kts. Two father and sons are part of the 12 person crew including Peter’s son Enzo (17 years) and Dan Tullberg’s son Emil (16 years) who are both well-known dinghy sailors.
We caught up with Peter on racing with his son before the start, “Racing together is probably the best father and son time one can have. With the busy lives we all live, being able to do something that will be a long-lasting memory is valuable. He’s taught me to stay calm and collected, and to trust the team to do what they do best. Their dinghy experience brings an awareness of wind, waves and especially other boats. With so many other boats and other things to think about in large-fleet dinghy racing, they are used to having to keep track of many things at once.”
Another father and son team is Philippe and Cosmos Grelon racing double-handed on the Pogo 10.5 Decathlon Aya. They are currently 2nd in division behind the fully crewed Nicolas Cohen-Addad’s J122e Jinn.
Shahtooshis followed by Fred Kinmonth / Nick Burns’ GTS 43 Mandrake IIIin IRC overall - prior to the race Fred was his usual humorous self and summed up their impending journey; ““Well its incredibly unusual, we have never done a race with a southerly breeze before in the South China Sea as far as I can remember. It’s very light. The two sides of the course are extremely different so navigationally it’s extremely tricky. We already extended all our flights; we don’t expect to arrive until Monday. So we will have to wait and see what happens, it’s very unpredictable. As for provisions, we have just got more water and more freeze dried food. The entire menu is freeze dried except for KFC for the first day. Then we have chili con carne for the next 4 days.”
Looking at the current ‘Windy’ forecast, the hole off the coast of the Philippines has reduced in size and shifted a bit to the north. However, keeping the boats moving in the patchy conditions will be dependent on playing the breeze and managing your arrival time into the coast, as the breeze usually dissipates during the night.