A fleet of 50 boats will take on the 83 nautical mile Bird Island Race, the second race of the 2021/22 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore.
Much of the fleet from last week's Flinders Islet Race returns, with seven entrants in the Two-Handed Division.
The forecast sets the stage for some exciting racing, with a building 15 knots for the race start at 1000hrs, and a strong westerly to test the fleet.
David Griffith's JV62 Whisper will look to back up her Fully-Crewed Overall and Line Honours wins from Flinders Islet, while Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth (Jules Hall & Jan Scholten) and Salt Shaker (Peter Franki & Drew Jones) headline the Two-Handed Division after their respective wins in the Pointscore opener.
"It is exciting to see such a strong fleet for this Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore race," said CYCA Sailing Manager, Tara Blanc-Ramos.
"This will be a great prelude to the return of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with another wave of Rolex Sydney Hobart entrants beginning their blue water campaigns.
"The sprint around Bird Island always delivers thrilling finishes, so we look forward to another good-spirited and competitive race."
Sean Langman's Reichel/Pugh 69 Moneypenny, Line Honours winner in the 2020 Bird Island Race, enters the 2021/22 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore, as do Chancellor (Ted Tooher), Eve (Steve Cappell), King Billy (Phil Bennett), Min River (Jiang Lin & Jean Charles Ledun), Minerva (Tim Cox), Oroton Drumfire (Phil Neil), Solveig (Annie Lawrence), Thirlmere (Mike Logan), TSA Management (Tony Levett), URM Group (Anthony Johnston), Wild Oats (Brett Eagle) and Zara (John Griffin).
Moneypenny will be a strong contender for Fully-Crewed Line Honours, as will Anthony Johnston's Reichel/Pugh Maxi 72, URM Group, with Marcus Ashley-Jones at the helm.
Matt Donald and Chris Townsend's TP52 Gweilo will defend her Fully-Crewed Overall win from 2020, while the rest of the TP52 fleet from Flinders Islet is back in action - Celestial (Sam Haynes), Matador (David Doherty), Smuggler (Seb Bohm), Quest (Craig Neil) and Zen (Gordon Ketelbey).
After a solid start to the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore, two-time Tattersall Cup winner Matt Allen will look to build on Ichi Ban's second-place finishes on IRC, Line Honours and ORCi last week.
Jiang Lin's Min River is the new addition to the Two-Handed Division, challenging Crux (Carlos Aydos & Peter Grayson), Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth, Local Hero (Mark Ayto & Anto Sweetapple), Rum Rebellion (Shane Connelly & Graeme Dunlop), Salt Shaker and Speedwell (Campbell Geeves & Wendy Tuck).
Follow the fleet
You can keep an eye on the fleet throughout the Bird Island Race via the YACHT TRACKER.
Track a yacht's location, average speed, distance to the leader and position by division/handicap.
Follow the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) for regular news updates, photos and videos. Don't forget to use the official hashtag -#AudiCentreSydneyBWPS.
Cafe 44 at the CYCA will remain open overnight on Saturday to provide crews a warm pizza and drink upon their return.
Meet the fleet