Literally. In the regatta so far there have been three long coastal races and one cans race, in Penang. Now we are here fro the last two days in magical Langkawi, a place of improbable geography and perverse geology, and for all we know the place where the bong tree grows. Haven’t seen any owls or pussycats yet, but there’s a beautiful pea green boat called 3Itch that joined the fleet in Penang.
All that remains in the agenda now is two days of windward-leeward racing in Bass Harbour, the hollow centre of this little archipelago. Four races gone, four to go. No drops or discards, no funny stuff with points, double scores and the like. Admittedly there are half of the regatta’s points still up for grabes, but right now top bragging rights belong to Sarab Jeet Singh’s Windsikher, formerly Neil Pryde’s HiFi, a multiple winner of the Raja Muda and therefore assumed to be a boat that knows the way around this place. The boat can do it for sure, so it’s up to the crew, and so far so good – one point in front of Nick Burns’ EFG Mandrake, with a mixed bag of points from both boats. 1, 5, 1, 2 (Windsikher) plays 4, 1, 4, 1 (EFG Mandrake).
After all the after-dark finishes last night, the finish boat AROs needed a pause for breath as much as the late-finishing crews. (Last one across the line was at 0130h). Scheduled first start today was 1410h for Class 6 Cruisers, and away they went down Bass Harbour in 8kts of breeze and sunshine, spinnaker start and heading for the collection of picture postcard tropical islands down at the south west end of Bass Harbour. Class 2 Premier Cruising ‘went south’ as well, and Starlight (Andy Cocks) got a little too close to one of the siren islands and hit the sand on a falling tide. Her only Class competitor, Antipodes, assisted in the refloating operation, and there was no damage. All’s well that ends well – Starlight retired, Antipodes retired in anticipation of failing to meet the cutoff, but was later reinstated by the Jury when redress was requested.
Meanwhile, at t’other end of the harbour… breeze here is usually nor’ nor’easterly, but today was firmly 90? meaning that there was not enough room to lay a good length course (ie across Bass Harbour, which is hardly two miles wide). So PRO Jerry Rollin took the fleet up to the north end and laid a course with top marks just outside the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club. [If you have been here before, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, never mind and make sure you sign up for the Raja Muda next year.
Windsikher was fast off the line, fast up the beat, fast down the run and then did it all over again to finish second on the water behind Alive, and 24 seconds in front of EFG Mandrake on handicap. Ulumulu (Troy Yaw, skipper Jeremy Koo) pulled out her best performance of the regatta so far, finishing just behind Windsikher on the water and third on paper.
By the time the second race started, the tide was flooding and the breeze had shifted right to 110?. Go right on the beat to stay out of the tide, and bear away set to run down the middle of the harbour on the return. Once again Singh and his crew got it spot on, didn’t fluff the corners, and won without even breaking sweat.
Behind them, the fleet was in disarray – at least, as far as finishing order was concerned. This time Uranus (Royal Malaysian Navy) had a run in the sun and came home second, with Millenium Racing in third and then – in order – Black Baza, EFG Mandrake, Alive and Ulumulu. Topsy-turvy indeed. Having started the day just one point apart, Windsikher finished with two bullets and a six-point lead over EFG Mandrake. Advantage Windsikher, new balls please.
In Class 3 Fujin cemented her place at the top of the division – the only boat still scoring single figures after six races – and Farrgo Express (Class 4) added another stake to the picket fence. Six wins from six starts. Sophia in Class 5 has five wins from five races, but both Class 5 and 6 have inconclusive results from yesterday’s Penang-Langkawi Race. When the RMN’s Marikh was dismasted, several boats saw the distress flare and went (very rightly) to render assistance race. Now the Jury is having a grand time working out who gets how much redress. We hope there will be a resolution before Grand Prizegiving tomorrow evening. Gypsy Rose Lee, please bring your Tarot cards.
By now, everyone racing in this regatta is tired: the sailors, the race officers, and even the media bringing you the stories and the pictures (although nobody believes that. Shame on you all). Tonight I even saw a sailor asleep on a bar stool whilst holding a beer. The Raja Muda is a marathon event that demands application and stamina. Did all the Windsikhers go to bed early tonight? Tomorrow brings two more windward-leeward races for the racing divisions, and another scenic trip for the cruisers. See you on the water, and see you at the prizegiving party afterwards. Now we really are down to the short strokes.
Short Results (Full Results can be found at www.rmsir.com):
1. Windsikher 1, 5, 1, 2, 1, 1 (11)
2. EFG Mandrake 4, 1, 4, 1, 2, 5 (17)
3. Millenium Racing 2, 6, 2, 4, 6, 3 (23)
Class 2 Premier Cruising
1. Antipodes 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 (5)
2. Starlight 2, 2, 2, 2, 3(RET) (11)
1. Fujin 1, 1, 3, 1, 2, 1 (9)
2. Popeye 4, 5, 2, 2, 1, 3 (17)
3. ReKering Dream 3, 4, 4, 4, 3, 2 (20)
1. Farrgo Express 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 (6)
2. NiJinsky 2, 2, 2, 3, 2, 3 (14)
3. Old Pulteney Blue Angel 3, 3, 3, 2, 3, 2 (16)
Class 5 and 6 results for the Penang-Langkawi Race are under review on account of the number of requests for redress submitted as a result of boats going to the assistance of Marikh (dismasted).
1. Sophia 1, 1, 1, ?, 1, 1 (5)
2. Lady Bubbly 2, 2, 2, ?, 2, 2 (10)
3. VG Offshore 3, 5, 3, ?, 2, 4 (17)
1. Marikh 1, 2, 1, 6?, 6-DNS (10)
2. Eveline 5, 1, 6, 1?, 6-DNF (19)
3. Kay Sira 3, 4, 2, 4?, 6-DNF (19)
by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia