San Fernando Race

Wednesday, 12 April 2017


16 boats came out for the 40th Anniversary of the San Fernando Race, a 480nm race across the South China Sea from Hong Kong to San Fernando, Philippines

Racing started today slightly east of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s Kellett Island Clubhouse due to a work area in the harbour. The warning signal for racing sounded at 1310hrs in 8 to 10kts of due east breeze. The fleet vied for position on the start line in a 10-minute start sequence with all boats getting away cleanly at 1320hrs.

The left side of the harbour seemed to pay off for the only Philippines entry in the Race; Ernesto Echauz’s TP52 Standard Insurance Centennial as well as Hong Kong boats - the Custom Ker 42 Black Baza owned by Steve Manning and Anthony Root and the GTS 43 Mandrake III owned by Fred Kinmonth and Nick Burns allowing them to sneak up the fleet.  As the fleet approached Lei Yue Mun, gains and losses were made as the wind dropped to 1 to2kts and yachts tiptoed along until the breeze filled in again and kites were hoisted in Junk Bay.

The first boat through the Lei Yun Mun gap and subsequently out of view on the horizon was Hong Kong’s 100’ super maxi Scallywag owned by Seng Huang Lee. Scallywag crew no doubt have the San Fernando Race record on their mind and will do their best to slice some time off the 2001 record set by Sam Chan’s 70’ ULDB Sled, FfreeFire of 49h 55m 12s. Scallywag raced in the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s last major offshore race the Volvo Hong Kong to Hainan Race in November and chopped 2h 22m 41s off the previous record.  

With most of the fleet now out of Hong Kong waters the boats navigators will be watching the weather forecast to see how they can best position themselves to take advantage of the strengthening NE monsoon breeze tonight, which could possibly see wind strengths up to 20 to 25kts.  After three hours of racing Standard Insurance Centennial are in the lead position in IRC 0 and Overall, Black Baza is ahead of the IRC 1 fleet, Michael Ashbrook’s Jeanneau 479 Sitka ahead in IRC Cruising and Tim Bruce’s Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49 Diamond Queen is ahead in HKPN.  Spectators will be paying close attention to Yellowbrick trackers through the night to see who can keep their position and who pulls out ahead in the morning.

This year armchair sailors can race alongside the fleet against 18,000+ virtual skippers on Virtual Regatta and/or Sailonline.org.

The San Fernando Race also supports the San Fernando Race Foundation which helps fund the Faith Rescue Home in San Fernando, La Union, Philippines.

Further information about the race is available on the event website www.sanfernadorace.com

News presented by Cathy McLean

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 April 2017 )