Twenty seven yachts representing 9 countries will be contesting this years Volvo Singapore Straits Regatta, the third event in the increasingly popular Asian Yachting Circuit.
If the present strong North Easterly weather forecast holds true, competitors may for the first time in many years have some fresh breezes to get them around the tricky courses.
At the skippers briefing safety officer Mark Ray outlined the precautions to be followed when crossing the busy shipping lanes plus pointed out many dangerous outcrops of reef to be carefully navigated and advised skippers to give the extensive land reclamation areas around Singapore a wide berth.
Close and exciting racing is expected from the nine quality yachts fronting up in Racing Class A. Last years Asean Regatta winner and King's Cup champion Peter Ahern's Yo! must start favorite but will be pushed to the limit by Neil Pryde's reconfigured Hi-Fidelity and Warwick Downes Sydney 38 Stella who convincingly won the Raja Muda Regatta in Malaysia back in November. After missing the earlier regattas Ray Odevesa's Karakoa has arrived from the Philippines and expected to do well if the wind keeps up.
Racing Class B sees four J24's and three X99's take on a mixture of designs amongst which Gordon Maxted's Young 840 Shoon Fung Too is a previous winner at this event and Philip Hermans Xen@ has won most of the races in Singapore at one time or another.
Hans Hvide's Swan 68 Irvmiren is the biggest yacht taking part and expected to dominate the PY Class who will joined by a further 2 Indonesian entries when the yachts reach Batam mid way through the regatta.
The organising committee have packed the racing program with 4 windward / leeward courses and 2 passage races over 5 days plus a remarkable job of fitting in courses within the crowded and ever decreasing waterways that surround Singapore.