The Coastal Course Challenge
The Pessimist complains about the wind;
The Optimist hopes it will change;
The Realist trims the sails for it.
The Coastal Course of the Royal Langkawi International Regatta with its choppier water, island ferries dashing past and the ubiquitous fishing boat trolling through the fleet presents a unique and interesting challenge to the yacht racers, and they delight in it.
Our coastal course challenge began right on time today with a nice breeze from the Northeast at 6 to 8 knots. The wind appeared to be holding steady and the PRO had 'sails up' at 0930.
The Racing Class was first up and UTARID again led the way. The Royal Malaysian Navy boys really have their start procedures down. Six racing yachts headed out behind them beating to the windward mark; 1.2 miles to the Northeast. JELIK was slippery enough to slide across the finish line in front of the racing fleet.
The IRC start was a very close race with NIJINSKI at the top of the line and PHOENIX at the bottom end in a picture perfect start. A bit wider and looser pack was evident today for the Sport Boat PLATUS, with their rambunctious jostling and shouting toned down. Through it all, the RQYS popped out at the bottom of the line on a port tack to take the lead. Coming back, MYA/KFC was first across the finish line. But it was a bow-to-bow battle for second between MYA/KFD and ATM that aroused interest. ATM gained the line and took the horn.
The start for the Club Cruisers saw POCO take the lead and with the Start Boat on the windward end of the line, RASCAL and RATANA were just inches apart with RATANA squeezing RASCAL toward the stern of the Start Boat. With mere inches to spare, they scooted past the Start Boat and onto the course.
OCEAN ROVERS and WHITESAIL CLASS were last to start and SIRIUS was first across the line even though she had to edge back from the line just seconds before the horn. WARISAN DUYONG was struggling to crawl to windward to cross the line and as he crossed the line and settled on course, the PRO reminded them that they were in the middle of the finish line and the Racing Class were on their way.
A second race was called for the Racing Class and the Sport Boat Class and although the wind had veered slightly East and dropped off, the marks were set and they were off. HI FI actually took the lead from a solid line-up of racing yachts that was extremely close, and sped off up the course. UFS EXPRESS squirted out of the pack of Sport Boats that were bunched upon the stern of the Start Boat and took the lead to the windward mark. ATM, however, was first down the course and over the line to take the final horn. On the last downwind leg to the finish line for the Racing Class, HI FI overtook JELIK, kept his lead and took Racing Class finish line honors for the first time in the Regatta.
As the wind dropped away, the other racing classes were given shortened courses at appropriate marks. The Coastal Course Challenge, although light of wind, provided a welcome change and renewed exuberance for the competitors and offered unique challenges which brings even more enthusiastic encouragement to go for those first place finishes that make International Yacht Racing so exciting. We look forward to tomorrow and Race Day Four of the Royal Langkawi International Regatta 2013.
13 - 18 JAN 2014
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