Zanzibar overall Rolex China Sea Race winner
Published: Monday, 09 April 2012
Event Media; Photos by Daniel Forster/Rolex
By 1330hrs (UTC +8) the results for IRC Overall were in: Zanzibar has won the 50th Anniversary Rolex China Sea Race on corrected time. With an official finish time of 20:44.48 yesterday (April 7, UTC +8), Zanzibar beat out the “big boats” and all other competitors on handicap to take the Overall title, the Sunday Telegraph Trophy and a Rolex Yacht-Master Timepiece.
While Zanzibar had been leading the standings before their finish, the jury was still out on who would take the Overall win, with many boats, including EFC Bank Mandrake and Red Kite II, still in the running. EFC Bank Mandrake needed to finish before 0115hrs local time in order to toppleZanzibar’s lead, but with the quiet breeze off the finish, the team only crossed the line at 2:30.30.Red Kite II needed to finish at 1330hrs but at the time of writing is still racing, 24.8nm to the finish.
Jonathan Mahony, Owner/Skipper of Zanzibar said the team had a broad game plan to stay left of the rhum line, which ultimately paid off. “We had an OK beat out of the Harbour and the wind was taking everybody right early on, so we sort of went with that for a bit and as soon as we saw an opportunity to head back out to the left we took it. We saw all the bigger boats going off to the right and we thought, ‘they must know something we don’t’… But we were looking great the second day, we caught a beautiful front running down across the gap and found ourselves in a nice position, while we saw everyone else parked up on the right. We had decent breeze all the way down until the last evening, when we knew we were doing quite well on the big boats, and then things got very stressful and tense. We saw the others had a horrible park up and we were just trying to avoid doing the same ourselves. We had a couple of hairy moments but in the end we just managed to sneak in. We are absolutely satisfied, I mean, you will always have a few holes in this race, which can lead to a tactical nightmare, but we were expecting that. I would say we had a great race.”
Richard Killip, crew onboard Zanzibar, added, “It went really well for us because we took a sort of outside route, rather than going directly south, so that meant we actually stayed in wind. It was good fun, it was challenging and we worked the boat incredibly hard. We have sailed together a lot before and there are just eight of us, so we kind of know what to do. But it’s like Neil Pryde said in Hong Kong: you need an element of luck to be able to finish well, particularly coming into Subic. That’s true, and coming in through here, anything can happen.”
Other boats finishing today, Easter Sunday, were Ambush at 11:28.42 and Red Eye at 11:32.47 (UTC+8) while Orient Express has retired and 14 boats are still racing. Today at 1700 crews already in Subic Bay will celebrate with a Location Party at the Subic Bay Yacht Club.
Line Honours this year went to the maxi racing yacht Genuine Risk, which crossed the finish line on Saturday, April 07 at 02:43.26 (UTC +8). A dockside prizegiving ceremony took place shortly upon arrival in Subic Bay, with Rolex Philippines representative presenting owner Geoff Hill with his Rolex Yacht-Master Timepiece.
Hill walked through Genuine Risk’s race: “The race started a bit more complex than we thought. We had a bit of breeze out to the oil rigs, then it died off again. Our plan was to go south of the rhum line and come up and we effectively stuck with that. Thursday was a difficult day for us, it was light and while the boat went okay we would have liked more breeze. The wind started to fill in last night and we had really good sailing for the past 24 hours: 10-12 knots and we were doing about 12-14 knots. The boat was going very, very well and we had smooth seas and a full moon so, what more can you ask for?”
“We enjoyed the race,” continued Hill, “it was tactically very demanding because of all the changes in the breeze. But this boat was out on the water for the first time in nearly 12 months so we are very pleased with the way it went. We had a new crew and that’s all come together pretty well, so we’ve had a really good race. I think if we had gotten the breeze we could have broken the record- we are pretty confident of that- but we didn’t get the breeze. That’s what ocean racing’s all about.”
Hill confirmed that he will begin seriously campaigning Genuine Risk this year on the Asian circuit and is considering also racing the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race with Sydney-Hobart race veteran Syd Fisher.
- Event Media