Bright sunshine and 15 knot Southerly breeze, as we came out of Straits Quay Marina, it looked like prefect sailing conditions, but as we turned left and headed out into the harbour, a huge storm cell was building out at sea, with two water spouts rising high into the dark clouds. The storm quickly swallowed up the good conditions, changed the wind direction and spilled over the weir. When it settled, the race committee laid the courses and sent the Premier Cruisers, Cruising and Cruising Classic classes on a point to point race, within the harbour and quickly sorted a windward/leeward course for the IRC classes. From that time on, the courses were inundated with scattered showers of various strength and as the fleet were approaching the finish line, the clouds let fly with another heavy deluge, that blocked visibility and PRO Jerry Rollin called an end to the days racing
Three new entrants are joining from Penang onwards. Kevin Whitcraft and his all conquering TP52 THA 72 are the mainstay behind the IRC 0 class for the 52 foot subdivision. Goran Andersson's all carbon Antrim 40 Angela will join with Meitatsu Fukumoto / Seng Huang Lee’s ORMA 60 SHK Scallywag FUKU to get racing officially underway in the Multihull Class. Dato Richard Curtis 100 year old Bristol cutter Eveline skippered by James Lee rounds out the Cruising Classic class.
Despite taking a commanding lead and line honours, Sarab Singh's Welbourn 52 Windsikher II tops the score sheet in the newly configured IRC 0 class but is reduced to 3rd place in IRC 1. The smaller yachts played the waiting game and stayed in sync with the gusts, to come through and win the day. Victory for Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth's Sydney GTS 43 Mandrake III keeps them at the top of the IRC 1 table and second place for Gordon Ketelbey's Farr 40 Ramrod moves them up into 2nd overall in the standings. Troy Yaw's TP52 Ulumulu jointly skippered by Jeremy and Tiffany Koo also got a move on today and for the first time beat Whitcraft's TP52 THA 72 in the IRC 0 handicap stakes.
Despite Geoff Hill's Smith 72 Antipodes, beating Dato Khalilur Rahman's DK 46 Janda Baik skippered by Khairul Zakaria across the line by 15 minutes, they are reduced to 2nd place by two minutes and Janda Baik with an unblemished 3 race wins, stand tall at the top the Premier Cruising Class. Fully powered up coming into the finish, Peter Cremers Warwick 75 Shahtoosh managed to surge up to the Malaysian Armed Forces Farr 520 Zuhal skippered by Salleh Ahmad, leaving them in 3rd place and for now tied on 10 points for the third step on the podium.
More than ever determined to claim an IRC 4 race win, Steve Manning / Paul OMalley's A 40 RC Red Rum, won the start and extended their lead at every mark, to finally take the daily double and break the three way tie for the gold medal. Max Palleschi's IOR Farr 40 Prime Factor slipped into 2nd place and slots into 2nd overall. John Kara's Beneteau First 45 Insanity takes 3rd place from the luckless RMSIR Chairman Jeff Harris' J 92S Nijinsky skippered by Alessandro Lodovelli, when they were forced to retire with damaged equipment.
By limiting the tacks to two on the windward beat and concentrating on boat speed, Norma Noordin's Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 37 Nafi, with a combined Boy Scouts and Girl Guide crew onboard, have come through thick and thin, to win the race with style. Tristram Denyer's Dufour 350 Iseulta led the yachts around the course but had to settle on 2nd place but takes the overall lead in the Cruising Class. Third place for Rama's Dehler 34 V.G.Offshore lifts them to 2nd overall.
In light weather the Royal Malaysian Armed Forces Contessa 32OD Marikh skippered by Mohd Hanif Husain, can make way and leaves the other Cruising Classics trailing in their wake, to post their third win on the trot. Florian Zeh's William Garden Esperanza got a move on when the breeze picked up, to take 2nd place and now stands in 2nd overall. Despite shredding their big genoa when the storm arrived, Dato Richard Curtis 100 year old Bristol cutter Eveline skippered by James Lee came romping home with reduced sail and takes 3rd place.
Everyone was watching Goran Andersson's all carbon Antrim 40 Angela, to see how it goes against the mighty Meitatsu Fukumoto / Seng Huang Lee’s ORMA 60 SHK Scallywag FUKU skippered by David Witt. Unfortunately it turned into a fizzle as Angela was at least 800 meters behind the start line when the horn sounded. As the Scallywag's went about their business they completed two laps before Angela could complete one lap and eventually retired as the storm cell bore down on them.