Typical regatta weather reigns over the third race of the Raja Muda
John Ferguson, the manager of Straits Quay Marina, was on hand to see the sailors set off for the Penang harbour race and the regatta owes a huge debt of gratitude to John as he ran and grew the event from 2001-2010, when he was the general manager of the Royal Selangor Yacht Club.
The biggest action in the regatta so far took place in the mooring area just outside of Straits Quay the previous night. A man-made island has recently been constructed creating a narrower channel and faster current. This wasn’t there the last time a Raja Muda fleet rolled through. As such, skippers and their crew weren’t prepared and many boats started to drift in the night with Rainbow Dream drifting the furthest.
A rapid response team on duty at the time, consisting of the Malcolm, Suffi and Tom, contacted the Harbour Marine Police and although there were a lot damaged egos no boat or crew member were seriously damaged.
When the sailing did start, it was that typical Raja Muda regatta weather that we have all come to know, love and dread. A little bit of rain, followed by no rain and then a whole lot of rain. A little bit of wind, followed by no wind and then a whole lot of wind. The essence of what makes this regatta so challenging.
It was originally scheduled to have up to two races for the day, starting at noon. But rain delayed the start until 1:15pm, when Simon decided to send the all the competitors on one 14km triangle course.
Sarab Jeet Singh guided Windsikher to line honours for the third straight race with an elapsed time of 1:46:21, but they ceded first place overall in the Racing IRC class to Gordon Ketelby’s Ramrod when handicap was applied. Ahmad Fakhrizan’s Malaysian Navy’s Uranus placed third.
The Next Factor, the fourth boat in that class, damaged their original main sail on the first leg of the regatta. They then damaged their replacement sail on the second leg. For the Penang inshore race, a huge gust of up to 30 knots ripped their replacement sail, which they had just repaired the night before, and they had to retire from the race. Barring a miracle, they will now have to drop out of the regatta as they no longer have a working main sail.
Simon Piff’s Firstlight didn’t have any competition today in the three-yacht Premier Cruising today as Hans Rahmann’s Yasooda had to repair its main sail and YP Loke’s Eagle chose not to sail, so it was a fairly easy march to the top of the podium for them today.
The five-boat Sports IRC class saw Dominic Liddell’s Venture take top spot followed by John Kara’s Insanity, Max Palleschi’s Prime Factor and Steve Manning’s Red Rum One.
Yi Lee Min’s Silhouette, the other boat in the class, suffered damage in the driftathon the previous night when the stanchions on its port side were destroyed. As such, it retired from the race.
Cruising IRC has three yachts competing as Thomas Reckenfuss’ Born in Fire won again with Pang Kim Ann Daniel’s Mystic River placing second followed by Laurence Ruslecki’s Rainbow Dream. That’s the same order for all three races so far.
Cruising Non-IRC had two boats competing today. Rama’s VG Offshore, won for the third straight time with M J Logaa S’s Recca, placing second. Dato Alex Nah’s Virgo did not race and the fourth registered boat in the class Zulkifli Radzi’s Hannakin damaged its steering system in the first race and has been unable to rejoin the regatta since.
The Classic non-IRC division also only had two yachts competing today as Ken Yap’s Millennium 2 had a problem with its halyard and Dato Richard Curtis’ gaff-rigged cutter Eveline is set to join the fleet in Langkawi.
Mustakim Ros Saidi’s Royal Malaysian Navy yacht Marikh won the class. But the perseverance award must go to Shah Azlan’s Tofan, the last boat over the line with an elapsed time of just over four hours. They had ample opportunity to retire from the race but showed lots of moxie but toughing it out and sailing through to the finish.
Regatta chairman Jeff Harris decided not to race his catamaran Serendipity in the rough weather. It is the only yacht competing in the Multihull OMR class.
Tomorrow will see the last passage race of the regatta from Penang and Langkawi, from where there will be a harbour and round-the-island race before the regatta’s final gala dinner at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club on Saturday night.