Opening shots at the 2013 edition of the Royal Lamgkawi International Regatta. Today was the sort of day when you’d rather not be the Race Officer. Heavy overcast at breakfast time and nary a breath of wind anywhere to be seen, AP on shore. The AP came down at 1105h, and boats were out on the water for a look at a midday-ish start in Bass Harbour. That proved to be optimistic, and after the breeze – what there was of it – fluffed and gasped a couple of times, at 1230h the RO raised AP over H and AP over 1 on shore. Lunchtime.
Things got under way eventually at 1500h, but not before a windward-leeward course towards 055? had to be abandoned and re-laid at 230?. It was a clean starts for all classes – IRC Racing (7 entries), IRC 1 (4), Bareboats (4), Sportsboats (5), Multihulls (3), Multihull Premier (3), Club Cruising (8), Ocean Rover (3), and White Sail (ie ‘no spinnakers’) (3).
HiFi won the IRC Racing start mid-line, and took off with plenty of purpose, no doubt keen to demonstrate that skipping the last two principal Asian regattas has not slowed down the men in red. Frank Pong’s Jelik led the way round the two-sausage course in 6kts or so of breeze, but was unable to hold her time against the competition. HiFi finished second, but with a stopwatch in hand and eyes firmly fixed on the Royal Malaysian Navy, Utarid, under command of Ishak bin Jab. When the numbers were crunched, Utarid took first place from HiFi by a minute and a half… Pryde said later, ‘losing a spinnaker sheet on the last run, and having to turn the boat to get the clew back was probably worth that amount of time. But we’ll be quicker tomorrow, for sure.’
The Sportsboats (Platu) division made a good fight of it, sailing round the course joined at the hip like a shoal of fish. The MYA/KFC team skippered by Mohd. Faizal iz Norisan slipped into first place by 47 seconds, with the second and third spots separated by only 3 seconds.
Dato Richard Curtis’s stately Eveline, the centenarian Bristol Pilot cutter mostly famous for keeping the Race Officer awake long after his bedtime, broke with tradition by hitting the start line only moments after the gun, and went on to collect the biscuits. Maybe it was the morning service of champagne, maybe it was the team t-shirts (‘I’m on a Yacht’), maybe it was the inspiration of having Tunku Soraya Dakhlah on board, but Asia’s most venerable party boat beat Simon Morris’s Sirius 1935 by a handy 46s on corrected time.
Weather forecast for tomorrow indicates more light and variable wind from the northeast and northwest – maybe TD Sonamu is sucking all the breeze south?