For the past few weeks the Northeast Monsoon has been blowing hard with a true 18-22 knots of wind that bodes well for the event.
A change of format this year will see most of the racing conducted in Tering Bay, Batam Island, Indonesia and will only involve the Changi Sailing Club this time around. In previous years, competitors raced from Club to Club in Singapore before heading into Indonesian waters.
At least this year the format will help simplify matters for the yachts as the amount of paperwork required to enter Indonesian waters is rather a lot considering it is just 14nm from Singapore.
It remains to be seen whether this years event will 'be bigger and better' as quoted by the Chairman of the Organising Committee Mr. Jeffrey LEOW who is also Commodore of the Changi Sailing Club. The favourable winds today were encouraging and some of Asia's leading yachts ventured onto the Straits of Johore for practice sessions.
Ray ROBERT'S stunning red machine 'Hollywood Boulevard' sported some fancy new sails that appear to have increased her overall performance on all points of sail. Ray ORDEVEZA'S 'Karakoa' was last seen checking the racecourse for the first race, which will lead the yachts around some of Singapore's major land reclamation sites before blasting downhill to Batam.
The course makes a dogleg so as to create a windward work before the racers turn and pass through the world's busiest shipping lanes and finish just two miles off Nongsa Point Marina in Batam.
Other competitors already in port are 'Australian Maid', 'Stella', Neil PRYDE'S 'Hi Fidelity' and Yo the Malaysian yacht of Peter AHERN. All in all it looks like a good racing fleet that will face the starters gun a 2pm (local time) tomorrow.
In the 'small boat' fleet a face of between John RAMSDEN'S JS9000 and Andrew CROMBIES Super Magic 25 'Vertigo' is creating considerable interest. The JS9000 is a new concept at 30' long she is barely wider than a canoe. The Super Magic on the other hand has sprouted wings that five crew will perch themselves on for the duration of the racing. It will be interesting to see if the 'new breeds' can take any wind out of the sails of the new Sydney 32 'Scallywag' and the Sydney 38 'Stella' who won the event just a few short years ago.
Up for grabs is the Singapore Straits Regatta Trophy but the real interest is in the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, which is awarded to the highest ranked competitor from the Malaysia's Raja Muda Regatta, Phuket Kings Cup and the Singapore event.
At this stage 'Hollywood Boulevard' could snatch the top trophy away from Neil PRYDE'S 'Hi Fidelity' after scoring well at the other two regattas.