Strong fleet set for regatta
A FLEET of around 40 boats is expected to contest the annual two-day KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Lantau Boat Club regatta beginning today at Discovery Bay.
The first four races of the five-race series will be for multi-hulls with the monohulls invited to join the action in the final event of the regatta, the KLM Trophy tomorrow.
The regatta brings together Hong Kong's best multi-hull sailors from the LBC and the Tai Tam Hobie Club who in past years have supported the event in big numbers.
Keen competition between the LBC Dart fleet and Tai Tam's Hobie's is always a highlight of the weekend.
Tai Tam currently hold the interclub trophy and will again be the team to beat with last year's overall trophy winner Tong Shing and Mike Scantlebury, the local Hobie champion, spearheading their defence.
The home club will field this year's winner of the DHL Regatta in the multi-hull class, Steve Jones, and veterans Mark Eversdijk and Richard van den Berg.
Hot favourites for line honours will be Shaun Smith and Paul Hurlow in their new Hurricane.
The skiff club from Hebe Haven have also been asked to join the regatta, but organisers have not received a formal replay to date.
They are tipping that there could be a number of upsets this year with a larger than usual increase in the number of new boats in both clubs.
'We've been told that there will be new Hobie 16s and 18s coming over this year so with new Darts bought by our members as well the competition should be close,' Anna Dalgliesh, a Lantau Boat Club official, said.
Dalgliesh said rain was expected in the morning, but clear skies by the afternoon.
'We are expecting around 10 to 15 knots.' Alternate courses have been prepared to cater for the weather conditions which last year blew up to 20 knots and led to many capsizes.