The 28 competitors racing in the 21st China Sea race were greeted with light airs and rain

After a few weeks of partying and intense preparation, the 29 entrants for the 21st China Sea Race had to settle for light airs and rain during the first day’s racing at the China Sea Race yesterday (28 March).

Neil Pryde on Hi Fidelity a Sydney 46 and race organising chairman crossed the start line first, followed by Robert Knight on Rhythm Stick, but by the time the leading boats were rounding the windward mark, race favourite Jelik Frank Pongs Wylie 77 ULDB sled had overtaken Hi Fidelity and showing a clean pair of heels to the rest of the fleet.

Last across the start line and 30mins behind the racing pack, was Marcel Leidts on Elektra. Steering problems on the way out to Steep Island had caused the delay, but the First 47.7 quickly made ground on Beluga Free, Carillon and Irmgard to pass them well before the mark.

Observing the 8 knot north-westerly breeze, Race Officer Graham Jackson selected a windward start to avoid a scramble for the line. Asked later, he described it as “A gentle start in unpleasant conditions. The majority of the fleet got away in good style.”