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Magic Start to Rolex China Sea Race

HONG KONG, March 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — A lovely 10 to 12kts north easterly breeze made for an exciting start to the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s Rolex China Sea Race 2024.  All 21 boats got off to a clean start today at 1120hrs in the stunning Hong Kong Victoria Harbour.

The fleet gathered before the start at RHKYC’s Kellett Island Clubhouse for a lion dance to wish the competitors a safe journey across the ever-challenging South China Sea.

Three of the top contenders in IRC Racer 0 Class, R/P 75 Standard Insurance Centennial V, along with two TP52s; Happy Go and Standard Insurance Centennial III were in a close tussle at the start line but it was Nie Hua’s Happy Go which hit the line first at full pace at the sound of the horn.  She led the fleet up to Kai Tak from where larger rival Standard Insurance Centennial V overtook her.

First through the Lei Yue Mun Gap (the narrowest part between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon) was R/P 75 Standard Insurance Centennial V, helmed by two-time China Sea Race Overall winner Ernesto Echauz. They were followed shortly after by TP52s Happy Go and Standard Insurance Centennial III.

After the fleet passed the sheltered harbour, they were greeted by big swells of up to 2.5m.  Soon Zoe was the first retirement of the Race.

Of the six international entries, two Filipino boats are in the leading pack.  Mainland of China entries, Seawolf and Tong Ran, are looking good in the early stages and the same goes for the first-ever Chinese Taipei entry, Mondher Latiri’s Gutsy and the first-ever Korean entry, Hojun Song’s Random().

As of 1600hrs, Happy Go is at the front of the fleet travelling along at around 8.6kts, followed by the two Standard Insurance team boats, Centennial V and Centennial III.

As the competitors make their 565nm journey across the South China Sea to Subic Bay, they will enjoy the first night reaching down towards the Philippines.  A southerly airstream is forecast to fill in by Thursday so the fleet will be beating upwind towards the Philippines.

2024 marks the 62nd anniversary of this world-renowned blue water classic.  This flagship event is organised by the cosmopolitan Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, one of the oldest and most prestigious clubs in Hong Kong.  Rolex has been a partner of the Club since 2007 and Title Sponsor of its flagship Race since 2008.

There are two main prizes at the Rolex China Sea Race.  The most coveted is the Rolex China Sea Race Trophy for the IRC Overall winner on corrected time (handicap).  The first boat to cross the finish line in real time (Line Honours) receives the Sunday Telegraph Trophy. A Rolex timepiece will be awarded to the first boat under IRC Overall handicap and first Monohull Line Honours.

Race action is being tracked by Yellowbrick Tracking https://yb.tl/rolexchinasea2024  and is being shown live at www.rolexchinasearace.com – the Race can also be followed on the YB Race Viewer App.

For more information about Rolex China Sea Race 2024, please visit www.rolexchinasearace.com.

High resolution photos can be downloaded from the below link:
https://bit.ly/4cJErNU
Photos credit: ROLEX / Andrea Francolini

ABOUT ROYAL HONG KONG YACHT CLUB (RHKYC)

The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club is one of the oldest and largest sports clubs in Hong Kong, with a rich, colourful history that spans 170 years of community and competitive sailing and rowing. The RHKYC provides training programmes for practitioners of all abilities and ages – both members and non-members – to nurture their development, produce elite athletes capable of competing at the highest levels, and contribute to the growth and popularity of these great pastimes. The Club also organises a full calendar of high-profile local and international race events, helping place Hong Kong firmly on the global sporting map.

ROLEX AND YACHTING

Rolex has always associated with activities driven by passion, excellence, precision and team spirit. The Swiss watchmaker naturally gravitated towards the elite world of yachting six decades ago and the brand’s enduring partnership now encompasses the most prestigious clubs, races and regattas, as well as towering figures in the sport, including ground-breaking round-the-world yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester and the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Sir Ben Ainslie. Today, Rolex is Title Sponsor of 15 major international events – from leading offshore races such as the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, to grand prix competition at the Rolex TP52 World Championship and spectacular gatherings at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup. It also supports the exciting SailGP global championship in which national teams race identical supercharged F50 catamarans on some of the world’s most famous harbours. Rolex’s partnerships with the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Royal Ocean Racing Club, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Yacht Club Italiano, New York Yacht Club and Royal Yacht Squadron, among others, are the foundation of its enduring relationship with this dynamic sport.

ABOUT ROLEX

AN UNRIVALLED REPUTATION FOR QUALITY AND EXPERTISE

Rolex is an integrated and independent Swiss watch manufacture. Headquartered in Geneva, the brand is recognized the world over for its expertise and the quality of its products – symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. The movements of its Oyster Perpetual and Cellini watches are certified by COSC, then tested in-house for their precision, performance and reliability. The Superlative Chronometer certification, symbolized by the green seal, confirms that each watch has successfully undergone tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria. These are periodically validated by an independent external organization. The word “Perpetual” is inscribed on every Rolex Oyster watch. But more than just a word on a dial, it is a philosophy that embodies the company’s vision and values. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of the company, instilled a notion of perpetual excellence that would drive the company forward. This led Rolex to pioneer the development of the wristwatch and numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism, invented in 1931. In the course of its history, Rolex has registered over 500 patents. At its four sites in Switzerland, the brand designs, develops and produces the majority of its watch components, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Furthermore, the brand is actively involved in supporting the arts and culture, sport and exploration, as well as those who are devising solutions to preserve the planet.

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