Skandia not only broke Ffree Fire's 1996 record, she smashed it to smithereens. The Grant WHARINGTON-skippered super maxi sliced almost 20 hours off the old record as she easily won line honours in the VinaCapital Hong Kong to Vietnam Race.
She also won the IRC racing division title after nearest challenger, the Neil PRYDE-skippered Hi Fidelity, faltered at the finish, failing to win the race on handicap after arriving some 13 hours behind the race winner.
Skandia, which won last weekend's the China Coast Regatta, has now wrapped up the China Coast Race Week title after her latest exploits.
Skandia arrived in Nha Trang at 6.45am yesterday morning to muted celebrations as it became the fastest yacht in the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club-organised competition, clocking an amazing 42 hours, 45 minutes and 41 seconds for the 656 nautical race that started at mid-day off Lamma Island on Tuesday.
She won the race from Nick BURNS/Fred KINMONTH'S Mandrake, which finished some 12 hours behind the Sydney to Hobart line honours winner.
"Skandia suffered a bit because the wind dropped towards the end of their race. They finished in quite calm conditions this morning. If the wind hadn't¡¦t dropped for them basically in the last five or six hours, it would have recorded an even faster time,"
said RHKYC sponsorship and promotions manager Lindsay LYONS, who flew down to Vietnam on Wednesday.
By winning with such ease, the 98-foot Skandia set a difficult task for local yachtsman as its super-sleek time would present a great challenge for future participants. Ffree Fire¡¦s old record had stood at 61 hours, 56 minutes and 18 seconds, but there was never any doubt the Victorian super-maxi would blow away that record after reaching the half-way mark in less than thirty hours.
'You can bet your bottom dollar that Frank PONG'S Maiden Hong Kong, which is 115 foot long, would compete in two years' time to try to beat Skandia¡¦s record. Maiden Hong Kong didn't compete in this race because she was competing in trials,"
Meanwhile, Neil PRYDE'S 47-footer, Hi Fidelity, finished second on corrected time ahead of Mandrake.
Marcel LIEDTS' Hocux Pocux 2 was experiencing good wind conditions all the way through and according to an estimated corrected time, she will probably take the IRC Premier Cruising title.
Peter CREMERS' Shahtoosh did not have much luck in racing after encountering steering problems and is expected to finish closely to Polar Star III and O' Feeling.
With consistent wind strength, the last and the smallest boat of the fleet, Windseeker is expected to arrive in Nha Trang by Saturday morning with some 40 hours behind Skandia.
By early Wednesday evening, the Sydney to Hobart line honours winner, Skandia, was around 190 miles from the finish and appeared certain to smash the record with conditions suitable for her record-breaking voyage.
She was travelling at an average speed of about 16.8 knots as she put considerable daylight between herself and her rivals