08:01:2013 Langkawi, Malaysia: Unfortunately Tropical Depression Sonamu (Auring) spinning offshore in the South China Sea has disrupted the North Easterly flow that generally provides good sailing trade winds this time of the year. The postponement flag went up early, as only a few zephyrs could be found between large glassy patches. Just when it looked like there was enough to get racing underway, it disappeared as quickly as it appeared. PRO Simon James had no alternative, other than to send the boats back to the marina to wait and see what happens. At 1345 the postponement ashore was lifted and crews made their way back out to the course area. The seabreeze arrived to complicate things further but filled in quickly and allowed racing to get underway for the entire fleet to complete one race on Day 1.
Further overnight tweaking has taken place since the close of entries yesterday. The Premier Cruising class has been scraped as only one boat signed on and some boats have changed classes since the Pre-Regatta Report. The most notable is Peter Sorensen’s chartered Beneteau F53 Baby Tonga being bumped up the order into the Racing Class making it a total of seven.
Despite hip replacement surgery and lacking race practice, Neil Pryde and the Hi Fi crew were quick off the start line and looked very sharp in their maneuvers, until the last downwind. Frank Pong’s Reichel Pugh 75 Jelik, galloped away at the front of the fleet and made the most of the filling breeze. Much to everyone’s surprise when handicaps were applied the Malaysian Armed Forces DK 47 Utarid skippered by Ishak bin Jab romped it in, to notch up the first victory of the year. Neil Pryde’s Welbourn 52 Hi Fi clocked in just over a minute latter for second place with Frank Pong and Jelik slotting into third place, 31 seconds latter.
In the IRC 1 class, defending champion, Niels Degenkolw’s IOR 3/4 Ton Xyacht Phoenix nailed the start line and led around the course to claim the daily double to begin where they left off last year. Slightly of the pace, Jeff Harris J92S Nijinsky settled on second place with John Kara’s Dehler 10.6m Skybird further back in third place.
The five one design Platu 25’s jockeyed around at the startline trying to get the better of each other. After the start a tacking duel developed and they went around the course in close quarters. Eventually Mohd. Faizal on MYA/KFC came out in front by less than a minute from Mohd Masyurz on ATM. Three seconds latter Rizal Mahadi UFS Express from the Royal Selangor Yacht Club crossed the line overlapped but just could not urge it on any faster. Mohd. Faizal MYA/KFC also wins the Under 25 class followed by Calvin Lim’s Singapore Management University (SMU) and Alister Rankin’s Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.
The difficult to maneuver multihull fleet bearing down on the start line are a sight to behold. They have been split up into Racing and Premier classes based on their design and performance. Once again Peter Wilcox’s Schionning Gforce 1500 Mojo streaked off into the distance with Andrew Stransky’s Seven Seas 50 Fantasia in hot pursuit. Although Mojo finished nearly eight minutes in front of them, Fantasia closed in to a little over a minute on corrected time but not enough to make a difference. Grenville Fordham’s 11.6m Andaman Cabriolet Niña needs a little more wind to keep up with the big boats but still did enough to correct out in third place.
In the Premier Multihull class Greg McMaster’s Ivory Street claimed line honours but was leap frogged into first place by Malcolm Hone’s Prima Donna and second place by George Kettering’s Vertical Time when the handicaps were applied.
Rob Azzopardi’s Beneteau Oceanis 423 Dreamtime also claimed the daily double in the Bareboat Class by a massive 15 minutes from Wayne Bateman’s Marakot. Clive Manning’s Sunsail Rattana trailed the leader by over 30 minutes to settle on third place.
Meanwhile Japan’s Yasuto Fuda Dehler 38 Fortissimo 8 zeroed in on first place in the Club Cruiser class. Last minute change of class for Kevin Gillow’s S&S 30 Poco, is already paying dividends with second place today. Although Brent McInnes Beneteau First 53/F5 Overdrive claimed line honours they were relegated to third place on this occasion.
As a result of a cracking start, Datuk Richard Curtis’ 100 year old Bristol Pilot Cutter Eveline with the crew of desperadoes onboard managed to correct out in first place in the Ocean Rover class. Although Simon Morris’ Staysail Schooner Sirius took the line honours they settled on second place after handicaps are applied. Weighing in at over 50 tons Tropical Charters/TC Gerrard’s Warisan Duyong paints a lovely picture but hindered by the weight in light airs to end up a distant third.
Making history Adale’s Oyster 55 Chantique skippered by Hakim A. Klunker won the first race in the new White Sails class. Graham Tuckey’s Optoloi trailed by a couple of minutes for second place and the only other boat to finish.
Racing continues tomorrow and weather permitting, two or three races are expected to take place.