Rolex China Sea Race 2023 Whiskey Jack takes IRC Overall

HONG KONG, April 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — With 16 boats finished in 2023 Rolex China Sea Race, provisional results show Nick Southward’s Whiskey Jack lifting the China Sea Trophy for corrected time on IRC handicap, with Philippe and Cosmas Grelon’s Simpson Marine posting a second overall and Andew Pidden’s Juice in third.

As many of the boats started to make their final approach to Subic Bay, they enjoyed up to 30kts of breeze but as they converged on the finish the Subic Bay hole appeared and they were trapped briefly before they could cross the finish line.  Many, including the more experienced offshore sailors described 2023 edition as the most tactical race they’ve seen. 

Throughout the Race there was a very interesting tussel between Whiskey Jack and Juice on the IRC leaderboard with Whiskey Jack not going higher than second and third place for a long time. it was only on Sunday when Whiskey Jack hit the dock in Subic Bay that they found themselves as IRC Overall winner, after just over four days of racing at 15h 02m 11s HK time.   

Owner/skipper Nick Southward was greeted with applause at the dock and said “it feels absolutely amazing, seriously I can’t believe it. I mean we’ve won this race! We’ve been right at the back of the fleet. We had a wild last 24 hours it was just wild; we could not have pushed it harder. But we stayed in one piece, everyone’s here and it just feels amazing to be here.”  

Andrew Pidden’s J-99 Juice finished early Sunday evening after 103 hours of racing, earning them 3rd IRC Overall as well as 2nd in IRC 1.  An exhausted Andrew commented after docking “This is my first Rolex China Sea Race and it was a wild ride, from no wind at all to loads of wind, so it was quite crazy but it was a lot of fun and great to do it with my two sons and my regular crew as well.”  Andrew was sailing with sons Matt and Tom and joked about the family pressure “I was pretty nervous because their mother was telling me we had three fifths of her entire family on one boat and if I sank it, she was going to be very angry but they are great sailors and it’s always good to be out with them”  

The father and son double-handed team of Philippe and Cosmas Grelon on board Figaro 3 Simpson Marine finished sailing in 94h 47m 10s, taking double-handed 1st place and IRC Overall 2nd place. They described the journey as exhausting, thanks in part to the loss of their autopilot which “was man overboard at the Pratas” according to Cosmas with Philippe adding “It’s very difficult because when you leave the tiller, the boat is like a dinghy, so you can’t do anything. You have always to have a guy on the tiller. That was very, very hard.”

In IRC 0, after Standard Insurance Centennial 5 taking Line Honours, all eyes were on the intensely close racing that went on between three TP52s.  Finally on Friday night Rampage 88 managed to pull but on Saturday things got even more interesting.  Happy Go took a course south of the rhumb line whilst Rampage 88 sailed along it until lunchtime when she headed east towards the Philippines coast. In the end it was Happy Go that slipped in to the finish 1h 37m 43s ahead of Rampage 88 taking IRC 0 3rd place and Centennial team another boat, Standard Insurance Centennial 3 taking IRC 0 2nd Place.

Tiger Mok, Happy Go‘s navigator said that the Rolex China Sea Race is the longest offshore he’s ever done adding “it’s one of the most challenging offshore races you can ever get.  I loved it and hopefully we can come back and do another one next time!”

In IRC Premier, the sole Chinese entry, Yung Yao’s Dufour 500’s Tong Ran took 1st place with Thomas Wiesinger’s Sun Odyssey 42ds Pacific Sunrise taking 2nd place followed by Shenton Drew’s Swan 53 Athena in 3rd place.

For HKPN division, Eddy Lee’s Sense 46 Generations was leading Johnson Yuen’s Hanse 370 Zoe from the beginning taking 1st Place.

A prizegiving was held on Sunday evening.  Along with a coveted Rolex watch for IRC Overall winner and Line Honours, two new perpetual trophies (named after the originals) will stay in the Philippines whilst the original China Sea Trophy and Sunday Telegraph Trophy remain at home in Hong Kong.

High resolution photos can be downloaded from the below link:

Photos credit: ROLEX / Daniel Forster



User: [email protected]

Password: RLexIMG2017

Video: Provided by ROLEX


The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club is one of the oldest and largest sports clubs in Hong Kong, with a rich, colourful history that spans 170 years of community and competitive sailing and rowing. The RHKYC provides training programmes for practitioners of all abilities and ages – both members and non-members – to nurture their development, produce elite athletes capable of competing at the highest levels, and contribute to the growth and popularity of these great pastimes. The Club also organises a full calendar of high-profile local and international race events, helping place Hong Kong firmly on the global sporting map.


Rolex has always associated with activities driven by passion, excellence, precision and team spirit. The Swiss watchmaker naturally gravitated towards the elite world of yachting six decades ago and the brand’s enduring partnership now encompasses the most prestigious clubs, races and regattas, as well as towering figures in the sport, including ground-breaking round-the-world yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester and the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Sir Ben Ainslie. Today, Rolex is Title Sponsor of 15 major international events – from leading offshore races such as the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, to grand prix competition at the Rolex TP52 World Championship and spectacular gatherings at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup. It also supports the exciting SailGP global championship in which national teams race identical supercharged F50 catamarans on some of the world’s most famous harbours. Rolex’s partnerships with the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Royal Ocean Racing Club, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Yacht Club Italiano, New York Yacht Club and Royal Yacht Squadron, among others, are the foundation of its enduring relationship with this dynamic sport.



Rolex is an integrated and independent Swiss watch manufacture. Headquartered in Geneva, the brand is recognized the world over for its expertise and the quality of its products – symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. The movements of its Oyster Perpetual and Cellini watches are certified by COSC, then tested in-house for their precision, performance and reliability. The Superlative Chronometer certification, symbolized by the green seal, confirms that each watch has successfully undergone tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria. These are periodically validated by an independent external organization. The word “Perpetual” is inscribed on every Rolex Oyster watch. But more than just a word on a dial, it is a philosophy that embodies the company’s vision and values. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of the company, instilled a notion of perpetual excellence that would drive the company forward. This led Rolex to pioneer the development of the wristwatch and numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism, invented in 1931. In the course of its history, Rolex has registered over 500 patents. At its four sites in Switzerland, the brand designs, develops and produces the majority of its watch components, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Furthermore, the brand is actively involved in supporting the arts and culture, sport and exploration, as well as those who are devising solutions to preserve the planet.

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SOURCE Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

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