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The ninth Hong Kong to Vietnam Race will feature two racing trimarans for the first time, with globe-trotting Maserati Multi70 and Hong Kong entry SHK Scallywag/Fuku the favourites to cross the line first in Nha Trang. Professionally crewed Lucky, a US-based J/V Maxi 72 owned and skippered by Bryon Ehrhart, is among leading contenders for monohull line honours.
Maserati Multi70, skippered by Italian Giovanni Soldini, established the Hong Kong to London sailing record in 2017 and joins SHK Scallywag/Fuku as the leading contenders to beat the Hong Kong to Vietnam Race record of 42h 17m 24s, set in 2015 by Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin 100, clocking an average VMG of 15.8 knots.
Hong Kong-based Malaysian Seng Huang Lee, Group Executive Chairman of Sun Hung Kai & Co, and Meitatsu Fukumoto of Japan are the co-owners of SHK Scallywag/Fuku, an ORMA 60 they bought in 2018 from Australian Sean Langman. Previously Team Australia, the 60ft trimaran holds the World Sailing Speed Record Council record of 1d 5h 52m 23s between Sydney and Hobart, achieving top speeds of 39.6 knots.
SHK Scallywag/Fuku trimaran is managed and skippered by Australian David Witt, who also skippers Lee’s super maxi SHK Scallywag 100, a regular contender in the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in late December.
The start of this year’s Hong Kong to Vietnam Race is split over two days, with the slower IRC Racer 2 division setting out on Tuesday, October 15, before the IRC 1, IRC 0 and MOCRA Multihull classes begin their chase on Wednesday, October 16.
Organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, the biennial 673nm race is usually a fast, predominantly downwind run in 25-30 knots, although teams need to account for current, shifts and exclusion zones before the vagaries of Nha Trang Bay on Vietnam’s southeast coast. Upon arrival, the boats will be based at the newly constructed Ana Marina, Vietnam’s first marina.
Race Chairman Joachim Isler said: “Without question, this is one of the most rewarding offshore races on the globe. Downwind surfing for almost 700nm in 20-30 knots of wind and tropical temperatures … it doesn’t get better than that. The race is not without challenges, though. All in all, it’s a very special and unique race.”
Recognised as a Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race qualifier, the Hong Kong to Vietnam Race alternates with the Hong Kong to Hainan Race each year as the conclusion to the China Coast Race Week, which starts with the China Coast Regatta (October 11-13).
Established in 1993, the China Coast Regatta is based out of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s Middle Island clubhouse, with sailors competing in a variety of windward/leeward and island courses.
Due to the delayed arrival of the northeasterly monsoon, the forecast for the upcoming 27th edition is a light breeze for the first two days of racing. The monsoon is predicted to fill in on Sunday, bringing promising conditions for the 31 yachts competing across six divisions, with the biggest contingent coming from IRC Racer 2.
Ellian Perch’s Cape 31, Orion DYP, which made the journey to Hong Kong from South Africa, is set to compete against a slew of locally based strong competitors including as Glenn Smith’s Blackjack, Herman Wong’s Kiasu, and Noel Chan and Denis Ma’s Rampage.
The five-strong IRC Racer 0 division includes three TP52s: FreeFire (Sam Chan), Phoenix (Robert Wiest, Victor Kuk and David Ho) and Ark323 (Ting Lee and Hongquan Li) from mainland China. They are joined by another head-to-head competition between Marcel Liedts’ Ker 46 Zannekin and Shawn Kang’s Ker46+ Alpha +.
Many eyes will be on Fred Kinmonth and Nick Burns’ Mandrake III (IRC Racer 1 winner in 2016 and 2017) taking on Joachim Isler and Andrew Taylor’s Ambush, with Rampage II, Seawolf 2, Quest and Neo One also in the mix. IRC Racer 3 comprises six strong local teams including Dexter II, Whiskey Jack and Arcturus.
IRC Racer and Premier Cruiser Classes will race from October 11-13, with the HKPN Class from October 12-13. Racing takes place in the waters to the east and south of Hong Kong Island, with some islands courses extending into the waters to the east of Sai Kung.
The original article appears in Yacht Style Issue 49. Email [email protected] for print subscription enquiries or subscribe to the Magzter version at: www.magzter.com/SG/Lux-Inc-Media/Yacht-Style/Fashion/