Happy Go takes Line Honours in 2024 Rolex China Sea Race

HONG KONG, 1st April 2024  — The fierce battle for Line Honours in the Rolex China Sea Race between defending Line Honours winner Standard Insurance Centennial V and Happy Go was finally settled in the early hours of the morning today when Happy Go edged out her rival by five minutes. It was as nail-biting a finish as one could ever have with close, competitive racing. It was at around 0315hrs that Happy Go edged in front and finally at 05hr20m53s, Nie Hua’s Happy Go crossed the finish line to claim Line Honours, shaving more than 20 hours off their elapsed time from 2023.

Skipper Jono Rankine said “The battle with Centennial V was close the whole race. We were aware of them the whole way along the racecourse. We were always checking to see who was close to the finish line and then obviously right at the end we could see them right the way through, firstly on AIS and seeing their lights at night. It was pretty exciting and there were a few lead changes. One moment they were ahead, another moment we were ahead and then the next moment we were sitting in a wind hole and not moving and they were ghosting past us. Yeah, it was exciting and a fun way to win the race.”

Jono explained that one of the biggest tactical decisions was made ahead of the race when they dropped four people from the crew, “it made the boat a lot lighter and easier to sail and it made the race more challenging. We were expecting the race to be a lot longer but we knew it was going to be light winds and not super demanding so we knew we could handle it with nine people. “

Ernesto Echauz’s Standard Insurance Centennial V finished only five minutes behind Happy Go. Ernesto said “This was the most exciting Rolex China Sea Race that I have ever experienced. It was so exciting from the start on the first day and up to the finish. Happy Go did very well. What was so nice was that we were competing with each other, especially on the last day up to the end. I am very proud of my team and proud of the other competitors as they are very competitive.” Shortly after, and showing his sportsmanship, Ernesto went to visit Happy Go to congratulate them on their win.

With the Line Honours settled and as the rest of the fleet converges on Subic Bay, all eyes are on who will take IRC Overall. A thrilling battle is developing for the IRC Overall leaderboard with boats swapping positions often. Seawolf, Zesst, A Plastic Ocean and Whiskey Jack have all to play for. Happy Go is currently sitting at the top in IRC overall but will have to wait it out to see whether the other boats still racing can beat her time in the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club’s 565 nautical mile race. The last time a boat won Line Honours and IRC Overall was Neil Pryde on HiFi in 2010.

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