After three fabulous days of racing in Sanya with a strong breeze over 20 knots, Hainan’s western coast proved to be a real challenge for both the 8-strong fleet and race management .
The weather threw everything at them, including gusts over 25 knots and big waves that tested the crews and their boats and resulted in blown spinnakers and gear failures.
Unfortunately, the initial brisk conditions were then followed by a lull further up the western coast which left the race committee with no option but to shorten the race to the first waypoint, as per the sailing instructions. Failing to do so, would have found the slower Beneteau Oceanis 40’s stuck in a wind hole more than 150 miles from the finish line.
In the IRC-A class, the JV52 Microlab took line honours but by only 7 minutes which gave victory in corrected time to Martin Hingst’s Aloha. Nevertheless, thanks to her strong performance in the three in-port races in Sanya, where she scored three wins, Microlab maintains her overall lead with three points, against Aloha’s four.
In the Beneteau Oceanis 40 division, the Wanning-sponsored team, skippered by Sergey Amelichev, continued its undisputed domination, claiming the offshore race to Haikou by more than an hour over Hainan Daily. Thanks to this victory and the three ones in Sanya, Team Wanning is the overall leader with two points, against six of second-placed Hainan Daily.
While the IRC-A and Beneteau Oceanis 40 fleets were slowly converging to Haikou throughout the night and morning, the IRC-B1’s and IRC-B2’s embarked on their offshore race to Wanning, where thy are expected to arrive on Tuesday night.
After a well-deserved rest on Tuesday, the IRC-A and Beneteau Oceanis 40 divisions will resume racing on Wednesday with the Haikou In-Port races before heading back to Sanya, along the east coast of Hainan, for the final part of their round-the-island race.
The IRC-B1 and IRC-B2 divisions will have a layday on Wednesday in Wanning and then on Thursday hold their in-port race, before heading back to Sanya for their final offshore leg.