Jinn wins first China Coastal Race
Held in place of the biennial Hong Kong to Hainan Race, the first China Coastal Race concluded a new-look China Coast Race Week in Hong Kong.
Jinn crew are all smiles in the first China Coastal Race © RHKYC / Vivian Ngan
Nicolas Cohen-Addad’s J122e Jinn won the inaugural St James’s Place China Coastal Race in Hong Kong to add to the yacht’s IRC Racer 2 division win in their Hong Kong to Vietnam Race debut in 2019.
The China Coastal Race started at Shek O Rock with blue skies and an easterly breeze of 16-20 knots, as the Category 3 offshore race replaced the Hong Kong to Hainan Race as the conclusion of the China Coast Race Week.
In rough swells up to 3m, the three competing yachts – Jinn, Ambush and Whiskey Jack – set off at 11am on the 100nm racecourse that included Ping Chau, Round Island, Shek Ngau Chau, Po Toi and Tau Lo Chau south of Lantau before finishing at TCS 2 near Tung Lung Chau.
Joachim Isler and Andrew Taylor’s Mills 41 Ambush took line honours in 14hrs 24mins 23secs before finishing third on corrected time. Ambush won IRC Overall in the 2018 Hong Kong to Hainan Race and topped IRC Racer 1 in the 2017 and 2019 editions of the Hong Kong to Vietnam Race.
Jinn was next home (15:58:55) and was followed by Nick Southward’s J-109 Whiskey Jack (17:17:28), which finished second on corrected time just days after topping IRC Racer 3 in the St James’s Place China Coast Regatta.
The China Coastal Race provided a low-key conclusion to the China Coast Race Week, which began with 30 yachts competing in the St James’s Place China Coast Regatta, which benefited from great weather and good wind.
Alpha+ won IRC Racer 0 in a thrilling China Coast Regatta © RHKYC / Guy Nowell
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s first major big boat event of the season, the China Coast Regatta featured six divisions and a variety of windward/leeward and island courses.
Under the influence of a northeasterly monsoon, the event featured the best of Hong Kong’s sailing conditions, with excellent breeze, blue skies and warm waters to greet the sailors southeast of Lamma Island.
On the first day, Race Officer Inge Strompf-Jepsen sent all four IRC Racer divisions on two windward/leeward races plus one short island course, while four yachts from IRC Cruiser were set two island courses.
Zannekin won six out of seven races in IRC Racer 1 © RHKYC / Guy Nowell
The second day also offered fantastic sailing conditions, with four yachts from the HKPN division joining the weekend action, meaning 34 boats came out for racing. All IRC Racer classes were set three windward/leeward sausages and the HKPN class was treated to two laps.
The wind later dropped to around five knots during the first races, so boats struggled to finish the long course, but as the day progressed, the breeze strengthened to 18 knots, with gusts up to 25. After a few broaches and ripped spinnakers, most sailors came home exhausted but with big smiles.
The superb conditions carried on to the third and final day. Racing got away with all IRC Racer divisions sailing one long islands course ranging in distance from 16.5nm to 20nm. The islands course took the IRC 0 and IRC 1 divisions on a beat towards a windward mark and two ocean marks, rounding Sung Kong, Po Toi and Beaufort before finishing south of Stanley Peninsula.
Kingsman and Jinn let the kites out in IRC Racer 2 action © RHKYC / Guy Nowell
IRC 2 and IRC 3 sailed a similar course rounding Kung Kong and Beaufort, and the HKPN division was given one windward/leeward and an islands course of around 10nm around Beaufort Island.
Almost all the division leaders were able to maintain the leads they established on the first day except IRC 0, which featured fierce competition between three TP52s – Shawn Kang’s Alpha+, Sam Chan’s Freefire and Phoenix (Robert Wiest, Victor Kuk and David Ho).
After learning a lesson from the first day, Alpha+ bounced back in the final race and closely covered Sam Chan’s Freefire, coming away with a bullet in the island race and taking the overall division by one point from Freefire after discard.
Close competition in IRC Racer 3 © RHKYC / Guy Nowell
In IRC 1, Marcel Liedts’ Zannekin took six wins out of seven to run away with first place, seven points ahead of Joachim Isler and Andrew Taylor’s Ambush. In IRC 2, which had the biggest fleet with 11 yachts, Nick Burns’ Blue Bunny remained on top with an impressive seven wins, ahead of Kelvin Au Yeung on Rampage and Nicolas Cohen-Addad’s Jinn.
Although losing the final island race to Blu, Nick Southward’s J-109 Whiskey Jack lifted the trophy for IRC 3, five points ahead of Cheung Meihan’s Dexter II. Eva Leung’s Blu climbed to third place following a bullet in the final race.
IRC Cruiser sailed a 10nm islands course on the final day and Mark Nie and Dominic Law’s Xena won all island races to lift the trophy. In HKPN, Sunny Leung’s Jibulai took two bullets and was declared overall winner of the division.