RUPERT King is fresh and ready to reclaim his mantle at the 2010 Multihull Solutions Abel Point Yacht Club Multihull Rendezvous which starts on Saturday.
Unlike a lot of his local sailing companions, King didn't race during Meridien Marina's Airlie Beach Race Week and is suitably chomping at the bit to race in the week long multihull regatta.
The owner and skipper of ‘Overdrive' and Commodore of the Abel Point Yacht Club is excited about getting out on the water, but is not predicting a win at this early stage.
“I wouldn't even like to say who's likely to win,” he said.
The winner of last year's OMR (Offshore Multihull Rule) division said if 2009's multihull action was any indication, it could be anyone's regatta in 2010.
“It was neck and neck last year,” he said.
“It came down to the third count back which is pretty unusual.
“It's very unusual to get a regatta that close.
“It's going to be a hard series to win.
Increasing the challenging task of winning next week, is the extra number of multihull vessels competing this year.
The numbers aren't finalised, but Commodore King is predicting about 25 boats to grace the waters of Pioneer Bay. About one-third of those boats are local and the remainder are travelling into Airlie Beach from various parts of Australia and one boat is even making the trip across the Tasman for the celebrated event.
Also adding to the uncertainty of this year's final outcomes is the change in format for PHS (Performance Handicap System) and OMR racing divisions.
“There is less windward-leeward racing and more island racing which favours the bigger boats,” King said.
But if the serious day-to-day racing is not your thing, there is also a Cruising Division which sets off around the Whitsundays for a period of five days.
Racing starts at 11am everyday from Sunday to Friday at Abel Point Marina, with Wednesday being the lay-day giving racers an opportunity to join in the Whitsunday Sailing Club's Wednesday twilight racing.
Racing registration and briefing will be held at Hog's Breath on Saturday from 5pm.
Social functions will be held at the Whitsunday Sailing Club and Hog's Breath Cafe after each day of racing, with the presentations being put on at Hog's Breath on Friday afternoon.