Hog's Breath Race Week, Queensland's tropical shirt regatta has become established as major event on the Pacific Ocean racing circuit with an influx of early nominations from a number of champion skippers from Australia and New Zealand.
The first race warning signal may be just over four months away but this has not placed the enthusiasm on hold with Matt ALLEN'S Australian IRC champion Ichi Ban dual Sydney Hobart race winner Lou ABRAHAMS (Another Challenge) and the exciting New Zealand Elliott 16 Hydroflow (Ron BRITTAIN) already entered.
There is a number of other high profile nominations expected including 2003 Admirals Cup champion Colin O'NEIL winner of the 'Boss Hog' trophy in 2002 with the exciting Davidson 60 After Shock.
After Shock has recently been re 'tweaked' providing skipper O'Neil and his crew from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club with an excellent chance to win the 2004 'Boss Hog' trophy.
Veteran Victorian skipper Lou ABRAHAMS has already planed his escape route to enjoy some winter racing in the warm Whitsunday Island trade winds.
Abrahams winner of two Australian Sydney 38 One Design championships with Another Challenge on Pioneer Bay will defend his 2003 Pan Pacific trophy win against another high standard fleet including Wayne KIRKPATRICK'S Asylum.
Kirkpatrick considered as a 'rookie' when he entered serious One Design racing 6 years ago has proved his tenacious attitude to be now ranked among the top contenders in the class.
The Asylum crew climbed another important notch along the learning curve with an outstanding top ten finish in the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race in December.
They had every reason to be pleased with the result from their first Sydney-Hobart beating a number of very experienced crews in what proved to be another tough grind in a mixed range of sailing conditions from a tough slog against cold headwinds and big seas followed by a fast spinnaker ride down the east coast of Tasmania.
But the Asylum crew class winners in the past three Coral Sea races in the Hahn Premium Race Week at Hamilton Island are focusing on being a tactical torment when Another Challenge defends her crown from August 12-19.
There is also a strong possibility that 1998 Sydney Hobart race winners skipper Ed PSALTIS and navigator Bob THOMAS who piloted AFR Midnight Rambler through the tragic Bass Strait storm will enter the IRC class with the Farr 40 OD Valley Tram.
Psaltis and Thomas completed the purchase just before Easter and have included the East Coast winter races in their program as a full scale preparation for the 2004 Rolex Sydney Hobart.
"Hog's Breath and Hamilton Island Race Weeks are renowned for their high standard of racing and the competition will give us a good guide to our preparations for the Sydney Hobart". Bob THOMAS said.