Raja Muda Set to Sail
Yachts converge on Port Klang for start of 32nd Raja Muda
It’s a homecoming of sorts. Many competitors haven’t seen each other in three years; most haven’t sailed in Malaysian waters for that length of time either, so they are longing to roll out their sails and compete again.
Singaporean Sarab Singh has kept his Welbourn 52 Windshikher in mothballs at the Northern Shipyard in Langkawi, and just placed it in the water earlier this week. After sitting on the hard for two years and eight months, getting the engine running was no easy task. Sarab, who now co-owns the boat with Nick Burns, has won the Raja Muda three times already and is hoping for a fourth triumph. Sarab has made a tremendous recovery from a stroke he suffered prepping for Phuket Raceweek in 2017. He’s lost 25 kilos and is an inspiration to all his fellow sailors.
What makes the Raja Muda special for him? “The camaraderie, you move from location to location and you move as a fleet. There is night racing, navigational challenges, changing current conditions, the test of how shallow you want to take your boat. Every time, after a Raja Muda, I say I will never do it again, but of course, I do it again. It’s good for the soul.”
Hans Rahmann, Ian Coulson and their Filipino crew are down from Phuket to race Yasooda, competing for the first time since 2010, having won the Jugra Cup in 2007. They can usually be found buzzing around Ao Chalong in their Firefly Voodoo competing in local Phuket regattas. Hans reiterated what makes the Raja Muda special and difficult for them: the passage races, overnight sailing, challenging conditions, rain squalls, changing currents and winds.
Long-time regatta veteran Dominic Liddell flew in from Turkey where he was building special IT and baggage systems for an airport there. He’s helming Venture, which was chartered from Sailing Ventures out of Singapore, and recommended by Steve McConaghy, who will serve as tactician during the race.
Tengku Amir Shah, the Raja Muda of Selangor, is sailing on Venture this year. His father, the Sultan of Selangor, designed the Raja Muda courses; an accomplished sailor, the Sultan circumnavigated the globe when he himself was the Raja Muda.
What makes the Raja Muda unique to Dominic? “The three passage races, the weather is a real lottery, reading what you get on the sea and making the best of it. It’s a real logistical challenge for the skippers to get their crew and their gear up to Langkawi.”
Meanwhile. Australian Max Palleschi has brought his IOR Farr 40 Prime Factor up from Nongsa Point Marina in Batam where he kept it during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be his third Raja Muda, having competed in 2017 and winning his class two-handed in 2018. “It’s my favourite regatta,” he says. “It’s challenging and covers all the aspects that a racing yachtie enjoys: the long overnight passages, the inshore windward-leewards, and the different destinations it travels to.”
PRO Simon James held a skipper’s briefing at the Royal Selangor Yacht Club the evening before the regatta got underway and this was followed by the opening dinner staged also staged at the Club, which was attended by HH Raja Muda of Selangor.
Racing starts at 4pm on Saturday November 19th, giving all Malaysian-based participants the chance to vote in the federal election.