17 entries have now been received for the inaugural Hong Kong to Puerto Galera Yacht Race, which will start on 16 and 17 April. The race is organised by Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and will commence in the iconic Hong Kong harbour and take competitors through the eastern entrance of the harbour before setting out on the 650nm mile journey to Puerto Galera on the Philippine island of Mindoro.
Organisers hope the race will see the yachts sail further south than before; allowing them to sail a wider apparent wind angle in the Monsoon breeze, enabling the yachts to sail faster and hopefully enjoy a spinnaker ride earlier than in the Club’s other offshore races across the South China Sea.
Among the entries is the double-handed father and son team of Philippe and Cosmas Grelon. This will be the second Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club offshore race they have competed in double-handed - the first being the 2018 Rolex China Sea Race which took place last March. The Grelons finished the 565nm Rolex China Sea Race in 82h 07m 14s, putting them in second place in their division on their boat Decathlon Aya, a Pogo 10.50.
In the lead up to this month’s event, we caught up with Philippe regarding their preparation for the upcoming race; Philippe comments “We have certainly improved the downwind sails, especially our code zero as last year we had a problem getting it unfurled! We are also working on improving the sails and the spinnaker socks so that we can hoist and recover them more easily.”
In the fast-paced atmosphere of Hong Kong, father and son moments can be hard to come by. How is it really sailing together on a racing boat around the clock for 3+ days straight? Philippe assures us it is smooth sailing - “In terms of strategy we are always agreeing, we never have a disagreement. The sharing of the work we have absolutely no issue; both Cosmos and I can do exactly the same things. Well, except, I am much better in terms of repairs and emergency situations, and Cosmos is certainly better than me at pushing the boat!”
Decathlon Aya will be once again competing against their Rolex China Sea Race division winner on a fully crewed Blackjack - a Grand Soleil 45 owned by Glenn Smith as well as the rest of the fleet fighting for the overall win.
Photo: Cosmas and Philippe Grelon at the start of the 2018 Rolex China Sea Race. (image credit: RHKYC / Guy Nowell)