Sex Drive to spice up party?

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 October, 2007, 12:00am

On the same list of names that pays homage to beauty - Stella, Roxanne, Sai Kung Belle - is a reference to the vixen that may put a damper in those plans.

Sex Drive is one of the 38 entries in the Total Lubmarine Asia China Coast Regatta, which begins today as part of the China Coast Race Week.

The 30-foot cruiser, owned by Rob Berkley and Deborah Fu, is entered in IRC division C, one of nine yachts in its class (there are five separate classes) that will compete in the three-day regatta hosted by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club along Middle Island.

The week is one of the most important on the yacht club's calendar. Following this weekend's regatta is a race from Hong Kong to Hainan, which begins on October 25.

While a few of the yachts have professional crew, or have crew members brought in specifically for the regatta, Sex Drive is an amateur, consistent, but hodgepodge group including a former British Army chef and a wheat trader.

However, its name is what draws the initial glance.

Originally named Buccaneer, its second owner re-named the boat after the Rolling Stones song by the same name in 1992 and when Fu and Berkley acquired the boat two years ago from its third owner, they kept the name. 'It's bad luck to change the name,' Fu said.

They did, however, remove most of the boat's interior to cut as much weight off as possible. 'When we looked at it, it was such a mess,' Berkley said. 'I had no idea it would take 12 months to renovate. I guess it was to impress Deborah in our early days of courting, but I love it to bits and we take it anywhere we can.'

After ripping out most of the interior, Sex Drive returned to competition and over the past year, Fu said that she was pleased with results. They are following in line with those achieved by its previous owners, one who managed to take Sex Drive to the Philippines in a China Seas race.

But, given its name, Sex Drive appears surprisingly demure, painted in a predicable ocean blue with gold italic name lettering. There are no animal prints, harsh pinks or seducing reds and despite its name and its renovations, Berkely describes the boat as something from another era, one with grace and class.

'It's a pretty boat,' Berkley said. 'And you don't really get that pretty look on the new boats.'