There are two events in the Taiwan Strait this week - which, given the politically-charged nature of the area, would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. There's the Third (yes, third) Straits Cup Yacht Competition, which consists of a race out of Xiamen and then inshore racing in and among the Penghu Islands, and also the inaugural Taiwan Strait Race from Hong Kong to Khaosiung organized by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
Information on the former is patchy. And the latter hasn't started yet, but we will keep our ears open. There are five starters heading for Khaosiung on Saturday, but that's enough to get things going – heck, practically all the ocean races we can think of started off with just a couple of competitors. We'd guess that 350nm is the sort of distance that's likely to prove attractive to more entries in the future – long enough to be interesting, short enough not to take up too much time. Watch this space.
Everyone has heard by now (haven't you?) that Vincenzo Onorato and Mascalzone Latino have withdrawn from the America's Cup - leaving the competition with no Challenger of Record. Equally amazing is that the 'challenge' list now has only three fully paid-up names on it - Artemis, Emirates Team New Zealand, and China Team. Onorato's reasons for withdrawal, below.
The Match Racing bug seems to be getting more and more of a grip in the region. Good! There are the series' taking place at the Royal Varuna in Thailand, the BNP championships in Hong Kong, and now the Bay Challenge in Singapore. Add in the presence of a Bahraini team at the WMRT Asian Qualifiers, and it's looking good.
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