The day started with blue skies, sunshine and excellent wind out of the ENE at 10-12kts. Perfect sailing weather! For a scheduled start of 0930, the Start Boat was on station and ready to go by 0900 just waiting for all the yachts to arrive out on Bass Harbour. Murphy had other plans though; like a fairly dramatic wind shift. As the fresh breeze clocked into the SE, the PRO was only minutes from dropping the AP flag to begin the start sequence when serious mark changes had to be made to accommodate this suddenly fickle and perverse wind shift. New start times were given, but the 'breeze from hell' kept clocking around until just before 1000, it settled in. The marks were set, the AP was up, then down and the racing began.
To add to the confusion, dignitaries arrived by police boats, (yes, more than one) right in the middle of what was already a bit of a bother, but nevertheless, the race must go on. And go on it did, with up to 15 knots of steady breeze and clear skies for the rest of the morning, the yachtsmen had perfect conditions to really test their meddle. The rest of the day was a breeze, so to speak.
With this wind the yachts were flying around the race course so fast and the PRO was enjoying it so much that he set up three races for Racing Class, IRC 1, IRC 2 and the Sport Boats. Multihulls, Club Cruising and White Sail Class managed to get in two good races while the Ocean Rovers enjoyed one race; but in really good time. In Racing Class, Oi! crossed the start line first but was overtaken on the course by JELIK who drove across the finish line it seemed only minutes later. UTARID had tried to take the top of the line and tack early but to no avail and had to settle in behind JELIK and Oi! at the finish. JELIK and Oi! did their one-two thing again in the second race but the third race of the day saw Oi! take the finish line honors with Uranus in second. JELIK apparently had some sail problems and retired.
The IRC 1's were the next start and RUBY TUESDAY took the line as the wind gave a little burst and increased for a while, but FOXY LADY IV must have caught that extra breeze and led the IRC 1's to the finish in all three races IRC 2 Class was dominated by PHOENIX in all races who must have been flying around the course with FARRGO EXPRESS and SKYBIRD each garnering a second.
SPORT BOATS were started next and the fresh breeze made them a little cautious in close quarters and for the first two races the start was fairly wide spread at the line. Race three, however, saw them bunched up, as usual, jostling for position and resulted in a Navy boat going around at the start to avoid a collision. ATM 1 managed to win two of the races and RSYC squeaked in one.
AFTERBURNER must have lit it up as he romped home to win both of the MULTIHULL races by a fair margin with A. CABRIOLET NINA picking up the second place. OASIS cut things a bit tight in his second race finish when he had to pull in his spinnaker to avoid snagging the start boat.
The SPORT BOATS weren't the only ones getting rowdy on the race course today. RASCAL and SABABA were bashing it out for the line in the Club Cruiser/White Sail Class start but couldn't hit the brakes in time and they both were declared OCS, (on course side), at the start. Both yachts had to go around and cross the start line again and in the heat of it, RASCAL got a jib sheet hung up, delaying them even further. SABABA, being crewed by youths from the Kedah Sailing Association, blasted through to take first place in both races for the Club Cruisers.
SMYSTERY had the finish line all to himself for the White Sail Class in both races followed by CHANTIQUE and the rest of the 'no spinnaker' group, one of which mistook the windward buoy for the start line in the first race. MY TOY and EVELINE rounded out the Ocean Rovers with MY TOY crossing first and there is a belief that slow and steady has more fun.
It was a fantastic day for racing on Bass Harbour and the action was exhilarating to say the least. If this wind manages to continue, the participants in the 12th Royal Langkawi International Regatta are going to experience some very exciting and challenging racing. I'm sure everyone is eagerly looking forward to tomorrow and Race Day Two.
11 - 16 JAN 2016
First Race Countdown166 DAYS 14 HRS 40 MINS