In a reversal of the 2002 entry demographics, this year's China Sea Race will boast a mouth-watering array of 15 big boats in the IRC Racing Division, with the entries in Premier Cruising and HKPN Divisions down 50% on the 21st Race.
It's not clear whether this is due to crew being drawn to the elite entrants or to the costs associated with training crew up to the new RORC Category 1 regulations, however all 26 entrants are looking forward to a competitive downhill race.
The Race starts at 1200hrs on Thursday 8 April, in the vicinity of Steep Island (Ching Chau) which lies off the south-eastern tip of Hong Kong's New Territories. Conditions should favour the larger, lighter boats including well-known local entrants 'Jelik', 'Jaywalker', and 'Siren', who will be eyeing up visiting competitors, 'Australian Maid' Jon WARDILL, 'Maverick II' Brian PETERSEN, 'Clariden Karakoa' Ray ORDOVEZA and 'Centennial II' Ernesto ECHAUZ to see how they fare against the local fleet.
No race is complete without a dark horse or two, and the 2003 Mooloolaba Race PHS winner, Geoff Hill, has left 'Strewth' back home in Australia, choosing instead to put local Farr 40, 'Time', through her paces over the 565nm race. Robert Knight will also be hoping to spring a few surprises on the way down to Subic Bay with his brand-spanking-new DK46, 'Drumstick'.
The 2004 CSR Race Committee chairman, Neil PRYDE, is a past winner of the China Sea Race and will be keen to record a good result, improving 'Hi Fidelity's' position in the Omega Asian Yachting Circuit rankings in the process. Fred KINMONTH and Ray ORDOVEZA will also be chasing top spot on the podium with 'Stella Minter Ellison' and 'Clariden Karakoa' respectively, Ray ROBERTS having made a late decision not to enter 'Hollywood Boulevard' into this, the final Circuit event.
Event information, entry list and boat profiles are available on the event website at the address below.