Ernesto Echauz’s R/P 75 Standard Insurance Centennial crossed the finish line in the Hong Kong to Puerto Galera Yacht Race at 00h 53m 56s HK time 21 April, setting the race record at 85h 33m 56s. Standard Insurance Centennial is the only Philippines yacht taking part in the inaugural race. The newly acquired Reichel/Pugh 75 has been undergoing a refit over the last few months and only had its new sails tested the day before the race.
The crew on the yacht is made up of current and past members of the Philippines National Team including two female sailors. Ernesto commented on the addition of the female sailors before the start, “Yes, we have two women on board who are part of the national team as laser sailors and women's Far East 28 team. They have been part of the national team and Philippine Navy like most of our team members and adding them to the team is just adding additional members who will fit well in their positions. The R/P 75 is remarkable, easier to handle, sail and doesn't need heavy muscle power because of its advanced technology compared to Centennial 3, a TP52.”
On arrival we caught up with Ernesto, “It was long and difficult. We never expected those kinds of conditions - initially it was smooth, but then we couldn't get away from the holes. Otherwise it was a very pleasant race. We parked up for much longer than we had expected - something like 4 to 5 hours. We are very happy about the new boat; it ran very well and it’s very fast. We had it refitted right before the race. We only had it ready the day before the start and whilst that meant we didn't get to practice, it wasn't really needed as it’s very simple to use; not as complicated as the TP52. We also had Louis Perfecta on board who could tell the team how to use the 75 footer.”
The next yacht to arrive in Puerto Galera was Geoffrey Hill’s Santa Cruz 72 Antipodes at 11h 46m 27s.
The race committee has now confirmed that all other classes except for IRC 0 will be finished at the Limit Point Line which can be seen on the Yellow Brick Tracker. (The Limit Point Line extends from a point at 14° 13.8N, 120° 35.25E and extends through and beyond a point at 13° 52.0N, 120° 05.25E.)
Fred Kinmonth’s and Nick Burns’ GTS 43 Mandrake III continues to retain their lead from yesterday. However as I write this the top four positions are constantly changing, but will most likely be made up of Mandrake III, Standard Insurance Centennial, Antipodes and Peter Cremers’ Warwick 75 Shahtoosh.
Follow the rest of the fleet on Yellow Brick Tracker to see how the racing plays out to the finish. Regular updates can be seen on the Club’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rhkyc
image: RHKYC / Nikki Claringbold