Skandia tipped for honours

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 October, 2004, 12:00am

Recent performances make Grant Wharington's Skandia the strong choice to grab line honours in the VinaCapital Hong Kong to Vietnam Race starting today.

Dominant in last weekend's China Coast Regatta, where the 98-foot super maxi won the series by a single point from Neil Pryde's Hi Fidelity, Skandia should dominate proceedings again as she sets sail in the 656-nautical mile race starting from Hong Kong Harbour and ending on Saturday in Nha Trang on the southeast coast of Vietnam.

Skandia, which won last year's Sydney to Hobart race, will also be chasing the race record of just over three days set in 1996 - the last time the race was held - by Sam Chan's Ffree Fire. Perfect conditions are forecast for the big boats to shine.

With fresh winds of between 15-20 knots expected, Skandia should excel in the 13-yacht Hong Kong fleet and, besides line honours, has a good chance of a handicap victory as well.

'If conditions are strong, it will suit Skandia and the forecast is for reasonably strong conditions all week,' said a race official from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.

Hi Fidelity looks to be her main opposition, while the Fred Kinmonth/Nick Burns skippered Farr-Mills 50 Mandrake will be offering stern resistance with Kinmonth back at the helm after Burns competed in last weekend's China Coast Regatta.

The Vietnamese race is part of Skandia's build-up towards defending her Sydney to Hobart Race title in December.