ONE of the most anticipated and star-studded Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht Races in recent memory began this afternoon.
A total of 42 boats set sail from Adelaide at 3pm for the event which is sponsored by Port Lincoln local Peter Teakle.
The boats will race throughout the night tonight and arrive in Port Lincoln throughout Saturday.
The local contingent in this year's race will be spearheaded by Kym Clarke's 47-foot Fresh, which will look to shake things up in division one, while Peter Teakle's mentor program yachts, Lincoln Mentor and Born to Mentor, and regatta chairman Jonathan Newbury's Sextant will also be looking for solid results in division two.
At the pointy end of the fleet is a plethora of quality race yachts including Adelaide-based race veteran Geoff Boettcher and his team on Secret Men's Business, fresh off a regatta win at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club's Festival of Sails in January.
Boettcher's team includes a few handy Port Lincoln locals as well regular team members and local yachting stalwarts Steve Kemp and Andy Dyer, while Port Lincoln ex-pat Nick Bice also returns home to Port Lincoln on board Secret Men's for this year's race.
However, going head to head with Boettcher will be fellow 52-footer Ichi Ban, skippered by Australian Sailing president Matt Allen, who has made the trip from Sydney with a highly-experienced crew in an attempt to remove Boettcher's stranglehold on both the line honours and overall IRC honours.
Chris Dare's 52-foot Ambition from Victoria, and Jason Ward's Mills 45 Concubine and Andrew Corletto's GP42 Shining Sea from Adelaide, will also be challengers for overall handicap honours.
South Australia's premier offshore race sets the scene for a big week in Port Lincoln with 41 boats registered for the four-day regatta week that begins on Monday.
For more information about the Adelaide-Lincoln race or the regatta, visit www.lincolnweek.com.au/.