The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s inaugural Hong Kong to Puerto Galera Yacht Race will start this week in Hong Kong’s iconic Victoria Harbour. The Club has introduced staggered starts for the race with three of the smaller yachts will heading off on Tuesday 16 April and the rest of the fleet setting off on Wednesday 17 April. The sequence acts predominantly as a safety factor; with the bigger boats coming up behind the smaller fleet for support should they get into any trouble and the added feature is having all the boats converge as they head into the finish in Puerto Galera, Philippines.
To prepare for the event, competitors go through a stringent preparation period, during which all participants are scrutineered to ensure that they satisfy the World Sailing Category 1 Offshore Sailing Regulations (with RORC prescriptions). 15 local and overseas yachts including entries from Philippines and Singapore will participate including Fred Kinmonth’s and Nick Burns’ GTS 43 Mandrake III, winner of the 2018 Rolex China Sea Race.
The race will have a similar, yet more southern track to the Rolex China Sea Race which traditionally starts in the cooler climate of Hong Kong, then after a bumpy first night, competitors are greeted by clear skies and a full moon as they reach towards the Philippines. As the fleet approaches the northern coast of the Philippines, tactics become supremely important as boats do their utmost to keep moving in the light air that is often found off the coast with the ever present Luzon Hole.
The current forecast is showing a variety of conditions in the various weather models with Wednesday looking like the most stable day with crossing the South China Sea proving more challenging as the race progresses.
The Hong Kong to Puerto Galera Yacht Race 2019 will start at 1120hrs (HKT) on Tuesday 16 April (HKPN Divisions) and Wednesday 17 April (IRC Racer 0, IRC Racer 1, IRC Racer 2, IRC Premier Cruising). Armchair enthusiasts can follow the action by checking the Yellowbrick trackers which update twice an hour.
image: Mandrake III credit RHKYC / Naomi Rebecca