sendoff for 25th anniversary...
The sea breeze arrived early and by the 1300 start time, a steady 10 knot NW'ly, saw the fleet quickly away and on time. A couple of tacks to clear the Northern entrance to Port Klang, then slightly ease the sheets to fine reach for the rest of the afternoon. At 1800hrs the dark clouds building up over land descended on the fleet and immediately spun the wind around 180 degrees and intensified to storm force, before dropping a heavy deluge. As is the case with tropical downpours, not long after the rain starts falling, the wind disappears and the yachts are left flailing around, in very damp conditions.
A couple of incidents worth noting before and during the start sequence. A call came through from Jonathan Mahony's Humphreys 42 Zanzibar, that they are aground on the Angsa Bank and requested assistance from the Police rib, which was duly dispatched and towed them off in time for their start.
Then as Guy Waddilove's brand new NZ built Dubois 37.5m Escapade was making a spectacular sight under full sail during the pre-start sequence, a problem arose with the main halyard system and everything had to come down. A crew member was sent aloft and looked like a dwarf, compared to the size of the masthead crane and made running repairs. They managed to just make the cutoff time for late starting and set off in earnest after the entire fleet.
A couple hours latter, as the Police start boat overtook the leading pack, Geoff Hill's Smith 72 Antipodes had broken away at the front, with surprisingly the earlier starting Sorensen/Tilden/Ketelbey/Brown Beneteau 44.7 Fujin holding onto second place. In front of Andrew Cocks Simonis Voogd 56 Starlight, having a slight advantage over Neil Pryde Welbourn 52 Hi Fi in tight reaching mode and fresh conditions. The Port Klang pilots expressed some concern as several boats were traveling in close company with a ship leaving port and another coming in the narrow part of the North channel. Japan's Yasuto Fuda's Yamaha 31S Fortissimo X became the first casualty and retired back to Port Klang.
The luck of the draw comes with the yachts position when the storm hits. Those in front of the storm initially get a push along, as the trailing yachts get engulfed with rain and invariably end up in a parking lot. Andrew Cocks reported that his Simonis Voogd 56 Starlight was entangled with a fishing trawlers nets and required assistance.
The battle for line honours developed between Geoff Hill's Smith 72 Antipodes and Neil Pryde's Welbourn 52 Hi Fi in light conditions as they closed in on the finish line, with Pryde's Hi Fi edging past Hill's Antipodes by 16 minutes. Almost two hours elapsed before Paul Winkelmann's JV 42 Island Fling crossed the finish line in second place, which granted Hi Fi and Antipodes the daily double respectively in the IRC 1 and Premier Cruising classes.
The rush to finish caused a flurry of activity amongst the 40 footers, to cross the line within 30 minutes of each other. This resulted in Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6 and Sarab Singh's Sydney 40 Mod Windsikher match racing for most the race, and climbing up the table into third and fourth places in the IRC 1 handicap stakes.
Over four hours elapsed before Jon Wardill's Cassidy 55 Australian Maid could claim second place in the Premier Cruising class. The luckless Andrew Cocks Simonis Voogd 56 Starlight also experienced a nearby lightning strike, rendering the instruments useless, to eventually settle in third place. Guy Waddilove's Dubois 37.5m Escapade managed to claw back some miles to finish fourth after their delayed start.
The Sorensen/Tilden/Ketelbey/Brown Beneteau 44.7 Fujin got off to a flying start and never looked back to clean sweep the IRC 3 Class contenders under the table. One hour latter Keith Garry's X-412 BeauX Esprit slotted into second place, leaving Chris Furness' Elan 410 Rikki Tikki Tavi in third of the three boat class.
First of the Royal Selangor Yacht Club boats to finish, Jeff Harris' J92S Nijinski came up trumps with the daily double in the IRC 4 Class. Thirty minutes latter Mike Downard's Farr 1104 Piccolo eased into second place, leaving John Kara's Dehler 34 Skybird, nearly thirty minutes further adrift in third place.
While Bernard Di Tullio's Indulgence lost valuable time finishing correctly, they opened the door for Philip Auger and Astrid Graha's Davidson 35 Sophia to sneak in front of them and take the handicap honours in the nine strong Cruising Class. Gavin Welman's Hallberg-Rassy 53 Rascal stayed on form through the minefield of conditions to claim second place. While the defending champion, Chris Mitchell's Naut 40 Lady Bubbly led home a group of yachts to snatch third place.
In Classic Class 6, Barry Wickett's Slipper 42 Kay Sira crewed by students from the Langkawi Sailing School, stayed on course to score the daily double by the proverbial mile. Although conditions improved for the back markers after they were left ghosting around, Simon Read's Beneteau 350 Aeolus XC recomposed themselves to take second place, leaving Keith Miller's defending champion Harmony 38 Sade 2 to settle on third place on this occasion. The grand ole dame of the Raja Muda Regatta, Dato Richard Curtis' 100 year old Bristol Pilot Cutter Eveline, skippered by Trevor Richards did not finish and retired to the creature comforts of the Seaview Resort.
Although no one to compete against in this stage, Danny and Nigel's Bali designed and built 3Itch trimaran, made huge strides on their first outing in anger. Taking a respectable 10 1/2 hours to complete the 74nm course and fourth yacht over the finish line, less than two hours behind Pryde's Hi Fi.
The show goes on, with the prize presentation and dinner tonight, at the Seaview Resort on Pulau Pangkor. The 65nm Leg 2 from Pangkor to Penang kicks off tomorrow at 1300hrs, with the leading yachts expected to arrive at Straits Quay in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Photo Credit to AsianYachting and Laurie K. Gilbert for the great aerial shots, from Jega Muniandy's helicopter service.
These RMSIR 2014 Race Reports are kindly bought to you by the following supporters