Master Victorian sailor Lou ABRAHAMS is all geared up to defend his Pan Pacific Sydney 38 One-design championship in the 2004 International Hog's Breath Race Week regatta off Airlie Beach early next month.
The Sandringham Yacht Club skipper a dual Sydney Hobart race winner has generally dominated winter racing in the warmer tropical waters of Pioneer Bay and Whitsunday Passage over the past four years.
Abrahams racing with most of the crew who celebrated success in the Sydney-Hobart race holds an undefeated record of four important championship wins in the Hog's Breath Race Week with Another Challenge.
He has the tactical skills and the boat speed to deserve to be the favourite to add another major trophy to his already impressive list of career wins.
But there is a strong challenge looming from an improving group of younger skippers including Wayne KIRKPATRICK in the Hamilton Island sloop Asylum and relatively new Sydney 38 owner Leon Christianakis helming the Sydney sloop Cydon.
Wayne KIRKPATRICK has shown he is race prepared after his top ten finish in his maiden Sydney Hobart race last December.
He has also expressed this skill in short course racing with major championship heat wins over Another Challenge only to damage the overall title prospects with inconsistent results.
However they have since lifted their Australian class ranking with the outstanding Sydney Hobart result and hope to express this when they challenge for the 2004 Pan Pacific championship during Hog's Breath Race Week.
Veteran skipper Lou ABRAHAMS understands how hard it is to grind out the hard sailing miles and his results suggest that Another Challenge steered by Carl Schmidt will be the yacht to beat for the 'Boss Hog Trophy'.
But they will need to ensure that Another Challenge holds the important tactical edge on Asylum and Cydon.
Tactically the Another Challenge and Asylum crews with their previous racing experience on the tricky waters of the Whitsunday Passage should hold the advantage over Cydon but skipper Leon Christianakis has the potential to be ranked as a distinct title threat.
Cydon winner of a class championship on Sydney Harbour this year followed by a deserved fourth place in the Australian championship under the tactical guidance of Olympian Bobby Wilmot has proven her crew is prepared to enter the battle for the prestigious Hog's Breath Race Week class championship trophy over the Whitsunday Sailing Club courses from August 12-19.