Ragamuffin races to record with Syd Fischer at the helm

America's Cup veteran praises crew after winning Hong Kong to Vietnam race

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 October, 2013, 12:46pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 October, 2013, 12:46pm

Five-time America’s Cup sailor Syd Fischer added another feather to his cap when Ragamuffin 90 set a new race record and grabbed the line honours in the Audi Hong Kong to Vietnam Race today.

Fischer’s Dubois 90 smashed the old mark by more than four minutes, but not before the crew had to endure a few anxious moments off the coast of Vietnam with winds getting light while approaching the finish line at Nha Trang.

“We did it by four minutes. It was a good race and all credit must go to the good crew I had with me as well as a good boat,” said the 86-year-old Fischer, who was taking part in the race for the first time.

The previous record of 42 hours, 45 minutes and 41 seconds set in 2004 by Grant Wharington’s Skandia was erased by four minutes and 21 seconds. This being a new course – the race starting for the first time in Hong Kong harbour and not off Lamma adding an extra 17 nautical miles to the previous 656-mile distance – a new record was inevitable but Fischer’s Ragamuffin went one better by breaking the old mark.

The drama surrounding the sinking of Walawala 2, 130 miles from Hong Kong, after it broke its rudder and the subsequent rescue of the 10 crew all took place behind Ragamuffin which reached Nha Trang early this morning. Fischer and his crew were greeted with bouquets of flower by Vietnamese officials.

Ragamuffin 90 crew member and race chairman Geoff Hill said: “It was very exciting, quicker than I thought it was going to be. It had all the elements that you would expect from this race, very heavy conditions on the first day, lighter conditions second day and then a very good finish.

"I’m proud to be on a boat that can pick up line honours and a new record. It’s all about teamwork and Syd has put together a very good team on Ragamuffin.”

The competition for IRC overall category continues on the water with the three TP52’s - Lucky, FreeFire and OneSails Racing - sitting pretty at the top of the table and battling it out to reach Nha Trang first.

Only 13 of the 17-boat fleet were due to finish the race. Apart from Walawala 2, three other boats retired including Grampus which had taken part in the rescue mission, as well as Avant Garde and EFG Bank Mandrake both out with steering problems.