Relive RLIR 2020Updated 469 days ago

Royal Langkawi Regatta Day 3

Downwind starts usually provide an extra degree of excitement and yesterday’s round the islands race start was no different, with most boats crowding the pin end on starboard tack and as the horn sounded, skippers turned the bow down as the crews worked feverishly to get the spinnaker up and flying.

This manoeuvre can get a bit hairy, as the boats jockey for position and tacticians hope their time on distance calculations are correct. The radio crackled ‘all clear’ from PRO Mark Pryke, signaling that no one was over the line, the race starting in full earnest; 28 nautical miles for the racing classes and 22 for the cruisers.

In favourable wind and current, the yachts gybed downwind looking for wind shifts and the best angle toward the mark.

In the early stages, Frank Pong’s R/P 75 Jelik became locked in battle with Neil Pryde’s Welbourn 52, Hi-Fi, until they found the right lane and cleared away.

As the fleet rounded the bottom gate and looked ahead, a multitude of options opened in the lee of the hilly islands. Numerous wind holes behind the hills and gusty patches in the valleys – to go further out to sea or hug the coast, became the question.

As the leading boat Jelik picked their way through the minefield, their path showed the rest of the fleet the conditions Pong was experiencing. After traversing this section, the wind picked up and the gusts became more frequent, which helped the back-markers.

The passage back up Bass Harbour became a long work to windward in more stable wind conditions and the aim was to keep in rhythm with the rest of the pack.

Ironically, Frank Pong, who has always been in favour of an islands race, finished down in fourth place, while Ray Roberts (Quantum Racing), who mostly prefers to race windward/leewards in Bass Harbour, won the inaugural islands race and reclaimed top spot on the overall pointscore.

Peter Ahern’s Farr 40 YO!2 took advantage of being behind and slipped into second place. Neil Pryde’s Hi-Fi, skippered by Kevin Costin, held on to secure third spot.

As racing has been so close, with three boats tied for first place coming into this latest race, Ray Roberts proposed that the schedule be increased to 10 races, instead of the eight specified in the NOR. With agreement from all parties, and providing the standard is not compromised, there is now three races tomorrow and two races on Saturday, weather permitting, to settle the score.

Anthony Hastings Beneteau 53 Baby Tonga 99 Degrees East was back out on the course after retiring yesterday. Luck was on his side, as he and the crew made the most of the conditions in the lee of the islands, overtaking some racing class boats to take out the daily double in the Premier Cruising class.

Niels Degenkolw’s IOR 3/4 Ton Phoenix claimed second place and Jeff Harris’ Elan 37 Rapscallion also had a change of fortune with third place after a dismal start to the regatta. No change to the overall pointscore. with Stuart Williamson’s Beneteau 34.7 Skandia Endeavour of Whitby still on top, but scores may even up a bit when the drop race is introduced.

Mike Van Zyl’s 24ft Jandi, skippered by James Hardie, stayed with their winning ways, adding a fourth win to their tally to become almost unbeatable in the IRC 1 class. Second place for Alan Rimington’s 32ft Atlantis Star from the Penang Swimming Club means they break the tie with Jan Matthews’ Sunsail 35 and reverses the order in the overall stakes.

The Royal Malaysian Navy Platu 25 Navy 1, skippered by Mohd Masyuri Rahmat, has been exerting a lot of pressure in the Sportsboat class and is starting to dominate proceedings with a Race 5 victory to stay on top of the combined leaderboard.

Razman Mat Ali’s Platu 25 MYA/KFC scored second place in front of Gaetan Verhegee’s more fancied Longtze 2-Exocet in third. This leaves Navy 1 on top of the overall pointscore and the Platu 25 table with Gaetan Verhegee’s Longtze 2-Exocet leading the Longtze Class.

Things may dramatically change when the drop race is introduced as most boats are carrying a bad score and the podium positions are entirely open to a shootout in the final races.

The Club Cruising Class entrants could start individually anytime after 8.00am and most took advantage of the offer to avoid finishing late in the afternoon.

Des Kearns/Jerry Boelens 46ft Bad Habits, living up to its name, was the last to get away. As the early birds concertinaed up in the passage between the islands, they went wide and caught the building breeze to overtake almost everyone and score first and fastest.

Keith Garry’s 41ft BeauX Esprits was back in action after retiring yesterday and although an early charge was stifled in the passage, the crew managed to release themselves and went on to score second place.

It was third place for Christopher Kingsley-Smith’s 41ft Amandla Star, which keeps them on top of the pointscore, but once again the drop race may significantly change the order.

In the Multihull class, five wins in a row for Bob Brindley’s Whiteheavan 11.8 Xcatriot not only gives it a clean sheet, but raps up the series with two races to spare.

After a troublesome week, Tim Milner’s 33ft Seekronghuk rebounded with second place. Although all three multihulls finished within a minute of each other, Bill Webb’s 41ft Out of the Bag had to settle on third place. The overall order is reflected in the race results.

So it’s back to the outside courses tomorrow and Bass Harbour on the final day of racing.

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