Final preparations are underway for one of the highlights of Hong Kong's sailing calendar, the RHKYC China Coast Race Week, which this year features the Government-supported Panerai Around The Island Race as the final Regatta race.
As always, in addition to the sailing, there is a host of social events organised to entertain competitors off the water.
Entries for the Hermes sub-sponsored Race Week are marginally better than last year, with 28 entries in the three Regatta divisions. Interestingly, 50% of last year's entrants are absent this year, however Regatta winners Stella (Fred KINMONTH), Fox in Soxs (Inge STROMPF-JEPSEN) and Bewitched (Glenn SMITH) will all be defending their 2002 titles. Hong Kong's sailing community will also have the opportunity to see how Frank PONG'S new Jelik (ex-Pyewacket) fares against the competition in her first CCRW.
Cruiser owners are also strongly committed to this year's Panerai Around The Island Race, which has been dovetailed into the Regatta as the final day's racing. Supported by the Hong Kong Government as part of its relaunch Hong Kong campaign, the race will circumnavigate Hong Kong Island after a hiatus of 10 years during which entrants have been forced to race a restricted course. Class boats and Windsurfers will follow a course to Port, while forty Cruisers and six large Multihulls will race to Starboard to maximise spectacular photo opportunities in Victoria Harbour for spectators and press.
A number of "big names" will be adding to the cachet of this year's event. Last year's Monohull line honours winner, Pinta Husavik (Adrian MCCARROLL), will be attempting to repeat her performance over a starboard course, however this time she will enjoy the assistance of the Oracle BMW Racing contingent (Gavin BRADY, Jon GUNDERSEN, Sean CLARKSON and Jamie GALE). The K-Challenge representatives, (John CUTLER, Cameron DUNN, John ZISKIND and Romain TROUBLE), join the first Regatta campaign of Hocux Pocux II under the ownership of Marcel Leidts.
Hong Kong hospitality will also be extended to four Soling Olympic gold medallists, with Dutchmen Valdemar BANDOLOWSKI and Eric HANSEN joining China Blues II (Helmuth HENNIG) and Germans Thomas FLACH and Bernd JAKEL crewing on Siren (Anthony DAY).
Six boats including Ffree Fire (Sam CHAN), Jelik and Hocux Pocux II will contest the 355nm downhill dash to Hainan. After her second night dismasting during last year's Hainan Race, 2002 Trans-Tasman winner Siren will be hoping to finish well this year, however, owing to a clash with Raja Muda Regatta dates, last year's overall Race Week winner, Stella, will be conspicuous by her absence.
Further details are available on the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Website at the address below.