The San Fernando race starts this morning, the Times Clipper Fleet, competing for the first time in the race, will join the biennial event in an attempt to beat current record for the race is 2 days, 2 hours, 2 minutes, set by Lawrie Smith in 1991

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s eight-strong fleet of identical 60-foot round the world yachts will set sail from Hong Kong on this morning, competing for the first time on the San Fernando Race, as part of leg 4 of The Times Clipper 2000 Round The World Yacht Race. The fleet’s 16-day stopover in Hong Kong has seen the largest crew changeover of the circumnavigation, whilst the yachts have been lifted out of the water for routine maintenance.

A prize-giving ceremony saw Jersey Clipper presented with the Fox-Pitt, Kelton (FPK) Cup for their victory on Race 8 from Okinawa and FPK have also launched their new Hong Kong branch during the stopover. The San Fernando Race, a 480 nautical mile offshore contest across the South China Sea, is organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and supported by the UK’s Royal Ocean Racing Club.

Considered one of Asia’s classic offshore races, the biennial race to San Fernando, situated about 140 miles north of Manila, is a major event for yachtsmen and a significant sporting event for Hong Kong. The event has been held over the Easter period since 1975 and has attracted interest from serious sailors both locally and internationally, with entrants from as far a-field as the Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Japan, the UK and the USA, racing against the large fleet of Hong Kong’s sailing fraternity.

With Hong Kong normally under the influence of the northeast monsoon during April, The Times Clipper 2000 fleet and rival competitors can expect brisk winds and challenging seas. The current record for the race is 2 days, 2 hours, 2 minutes, set by Lawrie Smith’s UK entered boat Rothmans in 1991.

Following a brief stopover in San Fernando, the Clipper fleet will sail down to Singapore for a 7-day visit before the fourth leg of The Times Clipper 2000 concludes in Mauritius on 26 May 2001.