After a three day warm-up of short courses in the China Coast Regatta, 13 competitors are making their final preparations for the start of the 656nm VinaCapital Hong Kong to Vietnam Race at 1200hrs tomorrow.
With the forecast predicting force 5-6 North to North Easterly breezes for the first 48 hours, Grant Wharington's 98' "Skandia" could potentially reach Nha Trang within 36 hours, smashing Sam Chan's 1996 record of three days set on the 71' ULDB Sled, "Free Fire".
If winds soften, the smaller boats such as Neil Pryde's 47' "Hi Fidelity" will be given a great opportunity to overtake the bigger boats on corrected time and, having finished the Regatta phase only one point adrift, Pryde could still overtake Wharington for the China Coast Race Week title.
"Ffree Fire" will be going all out to maintain their run of offshore successes after winning China Sea Race 2004 and Hainan Race 2003. Making a welcome return to Hong Kong, Mini-Transat campaigner Elaine Chua has taken a break in her training to and help them in their quest. She will be flying straight back down to Singapore after the race to take delivery of her brand new mini transat "Feng".
Also racing will be HSBC Johan III, helmed by Lawson Dixon and chartered by a crew of sailors based in Vietnam who are keen to see the sport grow in their adopted country. On board for his first racing experience and flying the title sponsor's flag will be VinaCapital executive and Vietnamese national, Le Hong Minh.