two and still going strong...
The tradewind change from SW to the NE monsoon has arrived early, bringing heavy thunder storms and some flash flooding in the northern Malaysian states and on the East coast. A cocktail of strong and light winds interspersed with the occasional tropical storm makes the regatta even more challenging and very character building for all concerned.
At the skippers briefing it was revealed that some late withdrawals have forced the committee to review the entries in the 4 IRC classes and 2 Non-IRC classes (one of which is for classic style yachts) to provide a good balance of entries across all 6 monohull classes. The Multihull's have returned and will be competing in a series from Penang onwards.
The withdrawal of Frank Pong's Jelik II, has reduced the ranks of the IRC Division 1 down to the 40 to 52 foot yachts. The smallest is Fred Kinmonth/Nick Burns Mills 40 EFG Bank Mandrake that continues to pack a punch bigger than their size and were victorious at the China Coast Regatta last month. After winning Class 2 on the recent Hong Kong to Vietnam Race, Jonathan Mahony is aiming to continue on with his Humphreys 42 Zanzibar triumphant form. Down from Thailand Tom Whitcraft's GP 42 Won Ma Rang is joining for the first time and is part of the ever increasing 40-45 ft class of racing yachts. One to watch is the Royal Malaysian Navy's brand new DK 47 Utarid skippered by Mohamad Razali that have been undergoing sea trials and an extensive training program since launching last month. They all will be trying to get the better of Neil Pryde's Welbourn Custom 52 HI Fi, that has won everything before them and comfortably leads the current AYGP standings. The $100 question is "Can anyone make inroads and bring an end to Neil Pryde and Hi Fi's domination?"
Six magnificent yachts are turning out in the Premier Cruising Class. Dr Ian Nicolson's Dubois 80 Intrigue tops the billing and is closely followed by the fine pedigree of Riccardo Gastone's Swan 76 Silandra V. Last year Antony Hastings' Beneteau F53 Baby Tonga made it a hat trick of victories and although she is chartered out to an Aussie team from the CYCA this year, they are determined to keep up the exemplary record. RSYC Commodore Dato Alex Nah's Hunter 49 Virgo, Stuart Williamson's Oceanis 523 Resolution of Whitby and Jon Wardill's evergreen Cassidy 55 Australian Maid round out the numbers and are very experienced with the race course and tricky conditions.
An interesting battle is shaping up in IRC Division 3 between five evenly matched yachts. A strong contingent from Singapore includes Bill Bremner returning with a new ride Ker 32 Foxy Lady 5 which was a previous winner under David Ross who makes his debut with the bigger Ker 40 KukuKERchu. Sarab Jeet Singh Sydney 40 Windsikher has preformed well in Singapore and ready to re ignite the battle with Ben Copley's Swan 42 Katsu down from Phuket. The biggest yacht is the Royal Malaysian Navy's Farr 52 Zuhal skippered by Norhafisham, should take line honours but will have trouble in this classy grouping to claim handicap honours.
IRC Division 4 is made up by RSYC members that regularly compete at club events. Neil Ankcorn's Farr 1104 Mat Salleh has won this class before. After loosing the boat at the end of the King's Cup, Jeff Harris returns with a new J 92S Nijinski and aims to make amends for last year. Jega Muniandy X 342 Leopad Dream and John Kara's Dehler Skybird have enjoyed close racing at the club level which will extend into a grudge match for Raja Muda bragging rights.
IRC Cruising Class 5 sees Japan's Yasuto Fuda Dehler 38 Fortissimo 8 returning for another go at the illusive trophy. Simon Read Aeolus XC, Rob Wiiliams Hanse 545e Odin Aquacraft Asia and Sonny Soh Hunter 33 PS are all newcomers to the event. The RSYC have entered their Jeanneau 32 Panacea skippered by coach Rizal Sazali and crewed by junior club members. Morten Ringvold Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 37 Haffiman is crewed by the Kedah youth team moving on from the dinghy level and eager to gain some keelboat experience. Ken Yap's Hunter 9.72 Millennium returns for the second year and all will be chasing Gavin Welman's Hallberg-Rassy Rascal that has won here before.
The grand old dames of the Non IRC Classic Class 6 includes Richard Curtis' 100 year old Eveline skippered by Trevor Richards and Jose de la Vega's International 12 Metre Chancegger. They will be joined by students from the Langkawi Sailing School on Barry Wickett's Kay Sira but will have to contend with the Royal Malaysian Navy's Contessa 32 Musytari skippered by Lt Haniff that have won the class for the last two years.
The revived Multihull Class sees Andrew Stransky's designed catamaran Fantasia taking on three top preforming boats down from Phuket. David Liddell Corsair C37 Miss Saigon won the SEA Property Multihull Championship in July. Alan Carwardine's Stealth 12.6 Sidewinder won Six Senses Phuket Raceweek is chartered by Rolf Heemskerk and more than ever determined to keep the catamaran on the top step of the podium. Always in contention David Roberts Andaman Cabriolet Davinci this time skippered by Bruce Issell aims to resume the catamarans winning ways.
Festivities begin tonight with the welcome reception. The Regatta Patron, His Royal Highness the Sultan of Selangor, has continued to support the event both on and off the water, and enjoys meeting and greeting the competing sailors each year, as well as presenting the magnificent Raja Muda Cup, which he commissioned from Garrards of London in 1994.
This RMSIR 2011 Race Reports are kindly bought to you by the following supporters