The favourable conditions that characterised the China Coast Regatta held for yesterday’s start of the 355 nautical mile offshore race to the Chinese island province of Hainan, with 15-18 knot north easterly winds, sunny skies and fair visibility.
Race Officer Jimmy Farquar set the start line for a downwind start to allow boats a running start with no windward mark. Free Fire experienced a last minute hitch when she lost one of her mainsail battens, but managed to solve the problem and cross the start line within a minute of the gun.
All boats started clear, although non took advantage of the opportunity to start with their spinnakers up. Once kites were raised Jelik quickly set the pace, building up a commanding lead by the time she passed between the Leeward Islands and Wei Ling Ding.
By the 1800 hrs radio schedule last night, Jelik had pulled 4 miles in front of Free Fire, with Baringo bringing up the rear of the fleet and competitors were enjoying 20 knots of breeze.
At 0600hrs this morning, Jelik was on course to finish the race in 29 hours, weather conditions permitting, which would topple Free Fire's 2 year old record of 29:55:03hrs. Free Fire is on course for a finish time of 30+ hours, while the last boat to finish is expected in Sanya at around 1600hrs on Friday.
The weather is reported to be fine, with boats enjoying 18 knot Easterly winds and 1.5m swell.
Positions and DTF at 0600hrs this morning
||Polar Star III