Kinmonth tries new boat to retain title

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 October, 2004, 12:00am

Fred Kinmonth will go in search of a fourth successive title when the China Coast Regatta gets under sail today around the waters of Hong Kong. But this time he will be at the helm of a new boat.

Kinmonth, winner of the event for the past three years, is bidding to maintain his stranglehold on the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club-organised event when he takes part with co-owner Nick Burns in the recently acquired Mills 50 Mandrake.

From 2001 to 2003, Kinmonth has won the annual regatta on Stella, a Sydney 38-footer. But he has since sold that boat and bought fellow-competitor Frank Pong's Mandrake.

Pong will be amongst the 30-strong entry list on his new Jelik. The competition in the IRC Racing is looking fierce for the five windward/leewards and two island courses that will be sailed over the three days.

Grant Warrington's Skandia is favourite for line honours in each race with Pong's Jelik snapping at his heels. But on corrected times, the 50-footers seem to have an advantage.

Elsewhere in the division, David Cullen is looking for a podium finish with the chartered DK46 Struan's Drumstick, while veteran Neil Pryde cannot be ruled out with Hi-Fidelity.

The race is part of the China Coast Race week.

On Tuesday, 13 boats will take part in the VinaCapital Hong Kong to Vietnam race. The 656-nautical mile downwind race will finish in Nha Trang.

Skandia, which won line honours in the Sydney-to-Hobart race last year, is strongly tipped to win this race.