Next up is the 40th anniversary of the iconic 480nm Hong Kong to San Fernando, Category 1 Offshore race, starting on April 12th. One of the first blue water classics in Asia, 16 boats will contest in 4 divisions, with Seng Huang Lee’s 100ft Scallywag aiming to smash the 2001 monohull record, of 49h 55m 12s set by Sam Chan’s 71’ ULBD Sled, FfreeFire. Chan will be defending his record on his latest TP52 FreeFire.
Soon after on April 19th – 23rd, the Commodore's Cup fires up in Subic Bay, with serious contenders for the 2016-17 AYGP Skipper and 'Yacht of the Year' title and some adventurous Chinese teams eager to exchange the winter blues, for some Philippine sunshine and warm hospitality, will battle it out for the top honours.
Presently leading the pack, Anthony Root and Steve Manning's, Ker Custom 42 Black Baza is a downwind flyer and since launching, has claimed overall honours on all the long distance races – 2015 Hong Kong to Vietnam Race, 2016 Rolex China Sea Race and the Hong Kong to Hainan Race this season. Although they have reached the six AYGP regatta scoring limit and lay down 65.5 points as the 2016-17 benchmark to beat this season, they aim to better the dismal 8 points scored at the Royal Langkawi Int Regatta and add the difference to their tally, to extend their lead.
Second placed Chris Mitchell's Naut 40 Lady Bubbly won't be in action, till the season ending Top of the Gulf and Samui Regatta and has these two events to make up the present 22 points deficit on the leader.
Third placed Fred Kinmonth/Nick Burns GTS 43 Mandrake II returns to action for the San Fernando Race and Commodore's Cup, also has two full scoring regattas to complete their six regatta tally and have to score 23 points in the process, to overtake Black Baza.
Well travelled and eighth placed Judes Echauz’s all Philippine crewed TP52 Centennial III, have contested 3 regattas this season and despite the decline in Racing Class entrants, keeping the scoring low, aim to finish above the Whitcraft family's all conquering TP52 THA 72 in the AYGP Rankings and become top dog of the big boats.
Good News! Philippine Sailing have purchased six FarEast 28 yachts, to form a one design keel boat class in the Philippines and next season will be available for charter, to foreign teams during these regattas.
You may ask why is this so important? Donning the coveted Trend Fashions Navy Blue Blazer is the iconic prize and symbol of the AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year awards. An honor bestowed on top racing teams, since the 2002-03 Season. What The Masters Green Jacket is to pro golfing in the USA, the Navy Blue Blazer is to yacht racing in Asian waters.
Meanwhile back in the AY Headquarters in Port Dickson, Malaysia, the specially hand crafted, take home trophy is taking shape and the annual review of selected events for next season is underway.
We welcome any constructive comments and suggestions on the regattas and point scoring system from the participants. Email: email@example.com
The warning signal for the 2017 San Fernando Race will sound at 1310hrs on Wednesday 12 April, against the backdrop of RHKYC’s Kellett Island Clubhouse in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.
Spectators wishing to follow the race can keep up with the yacht movements on Yellowbrick Tracker and armchair sailors can race alongside the fleet on Virtual Regatta.