LANGKAWI: (Tuesday – Jan 11, 2011): The practice day for the Royal Langkawi International Regatta (RLIR) today (Jan 11) saw 30 sailboats taking the opportunity to put their vessels through the paces off Kuah Harbour.
Some of the boats sailed off from their berths of the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club at 10am to catch the morning offshore winds while the majority of the boats left around noon.
A 20-minute rain at 1.30pm saw some of the sailors put on their raincoats as they ran around the vessel, jibing, tacking and winching the sails up. The rain also brought along some strong wind which helped fill the sails as they did their manoeuvres.
Principal Race Officer Mark Pryke was busy directing his men to lay buoys for the windward and leeward course to give the boats proper race day practice and called the boats to the start line around 2pm for the staggered start.
While the racing and cruising boats caught the wind, rounded the marks and crossed the finish line, some of the heavier vessels including the multihulls found the going tough as the wind dropped its speed.
With the sun peeking out of the clouds and the shimmering waters off the Langkawi islands providing a calm environment, the heavier boats called it a day with the crew taking the opportunity to laze about the deck to enjoy the sun, sea, breeze and the rocky formations jutting out of the sea.
Nearly all the boats were back at the RLYC by 4.30pm as the skippers of the participating yachts attended a briefing at 5pm to learn about what’s in store for the participants during the next four days of racing.
The Marine Operation Force of the Royal Malaysian Police, headed by DSP R.Tharamadurai, which is providing security and logistical support, were busy in their police vessels carrying out patrols and taking charge of the start and finish boats.
A total of 47 boats will be participating in 8 classes when the regatta gets underway at 9.30am tomorrow. Over 300 sailors will be involved in the four-day event.
Among the participants are last year’s winner of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Trophy – Evolution Racing skippered by Ray Roberts and defending champion of the RLYC Commodore’s Challenge Cup – Marikh from the Malaysian Armed Forces Sailing Association.