Nov 2000 11:18am MYT
Well everybody got ready again in Langkawi for the final day of racing to determine which grand prix racing yacht and crew will become this years winner of the prestigious gold and silver RMIR 2000 trophy. Malaysia's biggest and renowned sailing regatta for sea going yachts held annually in the Straits of Malacca by the Royal Selangor Yacht Club and Tourism Malaysia.
The racing has aroused allot of interest and the showdown at high noon on Bass Harbour for the racing classes is graced in a royal fashion with the Raja Muda's arrival to witness the final races and the presentation of his prestigious trophy at the evenings gala pool side awards ceremony at the beautiful and now Royal Langkawi Yacht Club.
After the overnight passage races Ray Ordaveza's Karakoa held a commanding points lead until Fridays windward / leeward dismal 5th placing when consistently placed Neil Pryde on Hi-Fidality took over the leaderboard by 1 point. Determined to take the lead back, Ray let skipper Steve Benjamin and tactician James Wilmot engage Neil and his crew on Hi-Fidality in some America's Cup style match racing starting duel in the middle of the start line. The battle had began.
With five minutes to go the rest of the racers where lining up and eager to improve their standings and take a slice of the slender leaderboard when, with a big spin of the wheel on Karakoa, Benjamin caught Hi-Fidelity offside and the cries of protest were heard. With both boats now vying for top handicap finishes in the first race of the day the final overall result would hinge on the International Jury's decision to be made afterwards in the protest room.
Andreas Bienz and his former winning Swiss team on the chartered Jenny 3 from Singapore made the most of their Olympic sailing experiences to win both races on handicap in the light and patchy conditions from Karakoa and Hi-Fidality. The rest of the fleet jostled their placings around, some improving others fading as the strong current and fickle breeze saw many of their hopes being washed away.
The expected push from the small boats (40ft and bellow) did not eventuate with Amir Zohri's Gotcha Lagi! taking the top honours for a second year in a row with 4 wins and 2 second placings in Racing class B. Wow! Enough trophies for the crew to have one each. Followed by another Malaysian team led by Chris Gee on Matahari and Keith Moore on Singapore's Pla Loma who managed a 3rd and 4th respectively in the overall placings in the final 2 races held.
The performance cruising suffered a similar fate with Yendys, Hocux Pocux and Intrigue of Stornoway being the only 3 finishers in the last race. The points scoring system being used states that if all scheduled seven races are sailed competitors may discard their worst result. As race 5 had to be abandoned and only six races where run then all the points scored in a the six races will count including disqualifications and DNF's (Did Not Finish) and the discard rule does not apply.
This produced several anomalies where David Bailey's Hocux Pocux was displaced from first place overall with 4 wins, a second and DNF within the time limit in race 4 (24 points) to Dato Hamdan's Yendys who finished all races with two 2nd places and four 3rds with 16 points. The well performing Bill Gasons Big Buzzard ended up forth behind Dr Ian Nicolson's Intrigue of Stornaway after having to carry a race 3 disqualification and a race 6 DNF worth 18 points each.
In classic class Malaysian entries Che Wan Azuar's Panacea took the overall honours from Chantique and John Abecasis from Great Britain on Excess Line. Due to the fading weather conditions they were the only finishers of all the six passage races scheduled for this class that finished within the time limits.
Hannes Waimar's DK 42 took out the Commodore's Cup which is closed to RSYC members boats only from Peter Ahern's Yo and Dato Mokhzani's Malaysian favourite Gotcha Lagi.
The shock announcement that the International Jury had disqualified Neil Pryde's Hi-Fidality from race 5 for infringing the racing rules meant that the Karakoa crew representing the Philippines had firmly re-taken a hold of the cup for the year 2000. Leaving Neil Pride to salvage a second place overall from the pointscoring system and a unlucky Aussie team on Luna Nuova skippered by Ray Roberts clinging on to third spot overall. Much the same as it was after the conclusion of the night passage racing sector of this regatta before going into this final round of windward/leeward races in Langkawi.
The yachting duel in Bass Harbour may have
started with a bang and finished in a fading fizzler this year but
with the successful conclusion of the RMIR 2000 sees early warning
signals being fired (Karakoa 1 - The rest 0) which clearly mark
the teams intentions and the intense rivalry at the beginning
of the 2000/01 South East Asian (SEA) Regatta Circuit. Already things
are heating up as the yachts now move onto Phuket in south west Thailand
for round two and Asia's premier yacht racing event the King's Cup.
Racing resumes between the 3rd to the 9th of December annually in
Phuket which is held inconjunction with
the celebrations for the Thai Kings birthday.
Nov 2000 10:27am MYT
Well I arrived at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, early for a change, were to my surprise the International jury disqualified Bill Gasons Big Buzzard from race 3 for a starting line infringement with Hocux Pocux. Preparations where well underway for today's yachting showdown on Bass Harbour, despite the heavy bout of social functions the RMIR committee have pleasantly organized at the stop overs enroute and on a nightly basis in Langkawi that must be ceremoniously attended.
A 10 to 12 knot northerly greeted sailors, although the sky looked blue, the gray thunder clouds underneath that had bought all the rain yesterday where still to be seen lurking between the many steep sided islands around the harbour fringes and up through the hills above Kuah Town where legendary rituals have taken place in the past and many more mysterious things have happened since.
Even the racing rock stars were sweating it out down on the dock completely decked out in their colorful crew apparel and overseeing any last minute alterations to their accommodation / return air flight details or sail changes with the owner.
The crews eagerness to please was apparent as the yachts practiced their downwind sailing drills with the spinnaker on the way to the start line. With only 10 minutes to go before the noon starting time the race officer had to call a postponement as one of those gray clouds had strayed in from the north covering the entire course with misty rain which dried up all the wind. After a half hour wait enough wind came in from a developing storm to the south west to satisfy the OOD who had to re-lay the startline and quickly got the days proceedings underway.
The initial puff soon died down to a variable 5 to 8 knots leaving big moving becalmed patches in some areas of the racing area which made choosing which way to go like playing the lottery. One minute your a rooster looking good and next minute your a feather duster.
Hannes Waimer's new 42ft Reichel /Pugh design built in his factory in Malacca and expertly helmed by Aussie sailmaker Bruce Ansell sliced through the course like a fine knife to take out the daily double of line and handicap honours from Hong Kongs Neil Pryde on Hi-Fidality. Peter Ahern's Yo showed her light weather form coming out of a good start to hold onto third spot from the famous sailing Rahim brothers on the Malaysian fovourite Gotcha Lagi! Who made a late charge from behind to relegate Ray Ordaveza's Karakoa who have dominated the regatta so far to 5th place today.
In the performance cruising class Yendys and Big Buzzard where the only two yachts to be awarded a finish before the wind completely faded and the strong tidal current washed the fleet down the harbour. As the time limit expired and no improvement to the deteriorating conditions where in sight the Race officer called a end to the days sailing and postponed the fifth race till tomorrow.
The Classic Class suffered a similar fate on their day passage race and no finisher had been recorded as the time limit expired. Perhaps the long celebrations by Richard Curtis and his crew for winning the Classic class Pinang to Langkawi Race on his 100 year Bristol Cutter Evelene had something to do with it.
Tomorrow is the last day of racing and 2 back to back windward/leeward races are already scheduled. The race committee hope to be able to squeeze today's postponed race into tomorrows program and see the regatta through to a successful conclusion by conducting as many races that is possible.
Can Karakoa hold onto her slender lead from the consistently placed Hi-Fidelity? Or will the high performance harbor racers like the DK42 and Yo take over from the ocean going sleds more suited to the long passage races held earlier this week.
The final result will entirely depend on
the number of races the committee can successfully run tomorrow which
directly translates into the number of times the lower placed
yachts can have a go at cutting back the points deficit they
have incurred in the earlier races with the present overall leaders.
24 Nov 2000 5:24am MYT
Raja Muda Int. Regatta 2000 Race Report 3
Two converging pressure systems to the north have funneled NW to NE winds down the Malacca Straits causing the RMIR 2000 racers to encounter fresh 15 to 20 knot headwinds and choppy seas during the 3 overnight passage races held so far. Very uncharacteristic for this event which is usually known for its light and fluky conditions to provide a severe test of seamanship qualities and yacht handling abilities for competing sailors under International yacht racing rules and conditions.
The brisk and wet conditions continued into Race 3 turning the rerouted Pinang to Langkawi overnight passage race into a 70 nm one tack, close hauled fine reaching leg. Once again the big boats dominated and have broken the previous race record from Pinang to Langkawi set by John Wardill's Australian Maid back in 1991.
Hong Kong's Intrigue of Stornoway, Dr Ian Nicelson's new Warwick 60 finally hit it's straps to take cruising class line honours from Dato Hamdan Mohamads new Malaysian entry Yendys, a Beneatau 51 skippered by Aussie delivery skipper Morrie from Macquarie who finished before Ray Ordaveza's Karakoa in racing class. As the cruising class yachts start 30 minutes before the racing yachts and Karakoa clocked a lower elapsed time she holds onto the prestigious overall Line honours prize and proudly adds the trophy onto the mantle piece along with the two previous race victories.
Karakoa also confirmed her place at the top of the leaderboard with another win after IRC2000 handicapping system had been applied making her score a 2, 1, and 1 at the end of the passage race segment to this regatta. Neil Pryde's Hi-Fidelity claimed second spot followed by Ray Roberts in hot pursuit on Luna Nuova. Malaysian's favorite yacht Gotcha Lagi! skippered by Amir Zohri managed 6th place and is continuing on its winning ways from last year by opening with a trifecta of wins so far, in racing class B (for yachts less than 40ft). They are closely followed by another Malaysian contender Chris Gee on Matahari and Singapore's Pla Loma and Hijinks.
As the competition is hotting up several participants found themselves being judged over the line early as the starters gun was fired and were individually recalled including the top cruising class contenders Big Buzzard and Hocux Pocux, who have officially protested the incident and are awaiting the outcome to be decided by the International Yachting Jury gathered in Langkawi.
The regatta now enters a new phase which combines 4 grand prix style yacht races over the next two days for the Premier racing and Performance cruising classes with day passage races amongst the picturesque and legendary islands of Langkawi for the Classic class.
The stage is now set at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club for a close and exciting mid-day (Malaysian Time) sail off on Bass Harbour and whoever wins the back to back windward / leeward races to be held over the next two days will determine the eventual winner of this years Raja Muda Int. Regatta 2000. Will it be Karakoa? Hi-Fidelity? or Luna Nuova? The big boats that have dominated this event so far, or will the Malaysian built Yo and DK42 or past winners Jenny 3 be able to out sail them on tricky Bass Harbour over the demanding windward / leeward courses to come? Or can the small yachts like last years winners Gotcha, Pla Loma and Matahari sail back into contention and snatch a last minute victory by making some top place finishes in the remaining races to see a re-juggling of positions on the points table?
What ever happens the winner will have survived one of the most technically demanding regatta's with the highest degree of difficulty on the South East Asian (SEA) Regatta Circuit.
They will join the prestigious circle of
winners who proudly rank their achievement alongside
other International yachting events and recommend that the
November RMIR dates be firmly marked onto your annual
yachting calendar as things to do or a must if planning to visit
the South East Asian region on a sailing yacht in the future.
The anticipated down wind slide for race 2 didn't eventuate. It turned into a close reach followed by a enormous tropical thunderstorm which produced blustery conditions (up to 30 knots) and choppy seas, turning the remaining 30 nm into a difficult upwind slog. The big boats in premier racing class reveled in these conditions and filled the top 7 placings. Ray Ordaveza's Karakoa skippered by Steve Benjamin took out the daily double of line and handicap honours to avenge being relegated to 2nd place in race 1. Ray Roberts on Luna Nova held steady in 2nd place and yesterday's winner Neil Pryde on Hi-Fidelity claimed 3rd spot.
Last years winner Gotcha, now renamed Gotcha Lagi (again) skippered by Amir Zohri still leads the charge of the smaller yachts and now has 2 wins in racing class B but needs a change in conditions to cut into the bigger boats lead to repeat last years victory.
The cruising class sees David Baileys Hocux Pocux and Bill Gasson's Big Buzzard repeating yesterdays 1st and 2nd places with the newly Malaysian purchased Yendys (Sydney spelt backward) taking out third place.
The classic class yachts have had their arbitrary handicaps altered but still sees the Oyster 55 Chantique taking a commanding lead over the more traditional yachts. Richard Curtis's Evelene has rejoined the regatta after withdrawing from race 1 with steering problems but found the conditions difficult.
As the usual conditions in the Malacca Straits this time of the year are generally unpredictably light and variable with the occasional thunderstorm to send you on your way, the result of tomorrows 70 nm passage race and last of the overnight races from Pinang to the islands of legends Langkawi could prove to be a decider of the series before the 4 scheduled day races begin later this week. Or could they?
20 Nov 2000 2:04am MYT
In the cruising class David Bailey's Puket based Hocux Pocux narrowly took the honours from Bill Gassons Kings Cup winner Big Buzzard who is newly being retired to the Performance Cruising division.
The Classic Class saw a converted Indonesian penisi or prau take out the honours after Richard Curtis's 100 year old Evelene had to retire after suffering steering difficulties.
Tomorrow the 60 nm Lumut to Pinang Race starts at 0100 hrs (Malaysian time). This race is usually a downwind slide under spinnaker and last year saw the big boats turn this leg from a overnight passage into a long day race. I will let you know in future Race Reports.
An International cast of rock star crews ready to do battle and a list of famous boat owners who have regularly competed or campaigned yachts on the South East Asian (SEA) Regatta Circuit in the past are gracing the clubs spacious balconies overlooking the Klang river and enjoying a bit of ole fashion Malaysian hospitality for which this regatta is known for.
Look there is Big Buzzard and Bill Gasson a 4 times racing class winner of Thailand's famous King Cup and Ray Roberts back from Australia this year on a new racing Sydney 46. Neil Pryde has sent his yacht Hi fidelity and racing team down from Hong Kong again and Jon Wardill's Australian Maid from Darwin is competing for the honours for a record tenth time. Also amongst the star studded line up is the DK42, Yo and Pla Loma fresh from their recent Asean Regatta wins in Port Dickson.
Local RSYC boat and last years winner Gotcha sailed by the popular Malaysian Rahim brothers and friends has been renamed Gotcha Lagi (again) and revealed a new livery with sponsor Manpower. They aim to better last years 10th anniversary performance and could be dangerous as they are intent on keeping the tradition going of adding Gotcha onto the trophy for a record 5th time in nine outings.
Former winner Ray Ordaveza on his Philippine entry Karakoa had skipper Steve Benjamin (now North Sails) and crew hoist and display the latest 3D molded mainsail technology along side at the pontoons to a host of interested bystanders and a gallery on the verandah.
The hotly contested performance cruising and classic classes see's some fine yachts entered who should enjoy the island hoping nature to the regatta which starts tomorrow Sat 18th Nov at 1250 (Malaysian time) with the overnight passage race to the Sembilan Islands from Port Klang. Approx distance 100 nm.
By Capt Marty Rijkuris
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