A fleet of almost 100 yachts is setting sail today in South Australia's longest offshore race, the 155 nautical mile Quin's Blue Water Classic from Adelaide to Port Lincoln.
The Cruising Division started off Outer Harbour at 10 am, the Racing Division goes off at 3pm, with a short leg along the Adelaide Beaches to a mark of Henley before heading in a south-westerly direction across the Gulf St Vincent, rounding the tip of York Peninsula before sailing across Spencers Gulf to the famous fishing centre of Port Lincoln.
With a fresh 17 knot south-westerly seabreeze blowing this morning, the fleet faces some hard sailing on the wind, at least until they round York Peninsula, with winds of 15-20 knots forecast overnight.
Most of the yachts that have been contesting the AYF Australian IRC Championship off Adelaide are racing to Port Lincoln, including the overall winner, Loki, Stephen Ainsworth's powerful Swan 48 from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney, and runner-up, Ticket of Leave, Kevin Woods's Beneteau 40.7 from Melbourne's Sandringham Yacht CLub.
They will rank as top contenders for IRC honours, along with David Urry's Farr 40 One Design, War Games, which lost out on third place overall after being disqualified from race seven of the IRC Championship over a racing rules infringement.
Another Adelaide boat with strong IRC chances is Geoff Boettcher's Secret Mens Business, which ripped its best spinnaker in yesterday's fresh racing, but local sailmaker Ray Brown brought on staff to repair the sail overnight.
Line honours favourite is the local boat, Rager, Gary Shanks' fast Elliott 56, with sailmakers also working until just before the start today to repair her mainsail ripped in yesterday's fresh winds.
Another strong contender for line honours will be the Inglis/Murray 50, G-Wizz, skippered by Greg Patten from the CYCSA, along with the fast Bullistic from Melbourne.