Preparations are well under way for the sixth Royal Langkawi International Regatta 2008 (RLIR 2008) to be held from 5 -11th January 2008 at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club (RLYC) in Kuah, Langkawi.
The RLIR 2008 will see a bigger and more exciting line up of yachts and to date, more than 35 yachts have already registered or expressed interest in participation.
The regatta committee expects to see an exciting challenge in the Racing Class this year as 8 yachts have already signed up to date. The IRC Class, Sports Boat Class and Multihulls Class have also received 8 entrants each while the Club Class has received 6 entries.
Among the yachts in the Racing Class are popular champions of previous RLIR regattas, Quantum Racing skippered by Ray Roberts and Yo! skippered by Peter Ahern.
There will also be a new entry in the Racing Class with the participation of Full Metal Jacket from Auckland, New Zealand. The yacht was manufactured for a ship owner in Hong Kong and is optimised for competition sailing in the IRC Class. Constructed out of carbon fibre by Salthouse Boatbuilders Ltd, it will set sail for Hong Kong after necessary tests in the Gulf of Auraki. The vessel will make its way to the RLIR 2008 after its maiden competition in the King’s Cup Regatta in Phuket, Thailand.
The RLIR 2008 will see some minor changes in race courses. The race secretariat may introduce courses that involve participants going around an island in the Kuah harbour races. It might take the Club Class boats more than six hours to finish the race.
Regatta Race Committee Chairman Ahmad Zailani Bashah is confident that the changes will make the race more exciting for sailors racing in different classes.
“The changes in the regatta dates will ensure that strong easterly winds will create an environment where sailors have to work hard and to trim their sails to perfection in order to achieve maximum speed for the boat in that particular environment.
“It will be exciting to see 8 to 10 racing boats racing against each other in the Racing Class and also to see one design Firefly catamarans cruising more than 20 knots, with the right wind condition, crossing the finish line,” he explained.
As for volunteers, the Race Management Personnel will make up volunteers from around the world. Many are from cruising communities around Langkawi while there are also those who are paying their own airfares to become volunteers. Local government agencies are also providing boats for the media, safety and rescue and for race committee usage.
In all, the RLIR promises to be a highly competitive and fun event for all. Situated in the northern, west coast of Malaysia, the warm, clear waters surrounding the legendary islands of Langkawi will offer sailors and cruising yachtsmen an exhausting but unique 5-day sailing experience.
Organised by the RLYC, the RLIR 2008 is the sixth regatta to be held by the RLYC consecutively since the inaugural event in 2003. Already part of the Asian Regatta Calendar, the event has for the last five years been drawing regular boats as well as new participants who actively race in regional yacht circuits.
“It is going to be a highly exciting and challenging race and good wind conditions have been forecast during that period.
“We look forward to seeing as many yachts as possible in all classes for the RLIR 2008, especially because the event has been organised to take place between the Phuket King’s Cup and the Singapore Straits Regatta.
“Also, Langkawi has always been regarded as one of the world’s best cruising playgrounds and now that its 99 magical islands have been officially declared as Langkawi Geopark by UNESCO, we can expect visitors to have lots more to see,” said RLYC General Manager Wicky Sundram.
Teams participating in the RLIR 2008 will compete for the Prime Minister’s Challenge Trophy, which is open to internationally registered yachts, under the IRC Racing Class and the Commodore’s Challenge Cup, open to club-registered cruisers.
In addition to that, there are three other main trophies up for grabs. Participants of the IRC Class will compete for the “LADA-IRC Challenge Trophy” while participants in the Sports Boat Class will compete for the Langkawi Sports Trophy. Participants under the Multihulls category will compete for the Malaysian Multihull Challenge Cup.
Major sponsors for the event are BMW Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), Tourism Malaysia and Langkawi Development Authority.
Other sponsors include the state of Kedah, Langkawi Tourism Action Council, Suria Meriang Sdn Bhd (CLINIQUE) and Permanis Sandilands Sdn Bhd.
For more information on the Royal Langkawi International Regatta 2008, kindly visit our website at www.langkawiregatta.com.