The 25th Rolex China Sea Race, organised by Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) with the assistance of Manila Yacht Club and Subic Bay Yacht Club, will start in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour at 1210hrs on Thursday 1 April 2010 and finish in Subic Bay, northwest of Manila in the Philippines.
The first China Sea Race was held in Easter 1962 with only five yachts. Today the biennial Rolex China Sea Race is one of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's flagship events. The Race is part of Rolex's distinguished portfolio of international offshore races under a long-term partnership between Rolex and the RHKYC that commenced in 2007.
The 30 boat entry list combines Rolex China Sea Race veterans with many new faces and has attracted several overseas entries, including Jon Wardill's Cassidy 55, Australian Maid (AUS) Fidel/Echauz's Sydney 46, Subic Centennial (PHI) and Ray Roberts' TP52, Evolution Racing (AUS).
Neil Pryde's Wellbourne 52, Hi Fi, will defend her 2008 Line Honours' title against stiff competition from a healthy racing fleet; the 'A' division featuring boats such as FfreeFire 52, Strewth, EFG Mandrake and Evolution Racing. All will be hoping to be the first boat to finish and lift the Sunday Telegraph Trophy. Beating the ten year old Race Record of 47h 43m 07s (set in 2000 by Karl Kwok on Beau Geste) would be a welcome bonus.
Subic Centennial has returned to Hong Kong hoping for a repeat of her 2008 race, when her name was engraved on the Rolex China Sea Race Trophy for First Overall on IRC handicap. As this year's sole Philippine entry, the Sydney 46 will be relying on local knowledge to give her the edge as the fleet enters the notoriously fickle breezes off the Philippine coast.
Noting the commitment that ROLEX has shown to high-profile sailing events and the most prestigious yacht clubs around the world, RHKYC Commodore, Warwick Downes commented at today's press conference:
"The Club is extremely proud that this Asian blue-water classic has become part of Rolex's distinguished portfolio of international offshore races since 2008 and that it is the first Asian sailing event sponsored by Rolex. The close ties that bind Rolex to the world of sailing date back to the late 1950's and the spirit and philosophy of the sport are in perfect harmony with values that Rolex holds dear: excellence, precision and team spirit. Rolex has cultivated close associations with the best known yacht clubs and organisers of major events in the world of sailing, and we are honoured to be included as one of these organisations. With Rolex's support, this Race has further increased its status with the international yachting fraternity."
Rolex China Sea Race Race Chairman, Richard Strompf introduced this as a Category One ocean race at today's press conference, meaning that the competing yachts must have a minimum overall length of 10m (LOA), and must be completely self sufficient and able to meet serious emergencies without outside assistance. Five divisions, IRC Racing A, B, C, IRC Cruising and IRC Premier Cruising will compete over the 565 nautical mile course.
The 2010 Rolex China Sea Race will continue to offer shore-based fans the opportunity to follow the action online (www.rolexchinasearace.com) using Pole Star? technology to provide satellite-based positional data from each boat, which will be updated at regular intervals during the race.
For more information about the Rolex China Sea Race 2010, including the entry list, please visit www.rhkyc.org.hk/rolexchinasearace.htm