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Mt Gay Rum 2012 Neptune Regatta - under starter's orders

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia on 4 Feb 2012
Mount Gay Rum 2012 Neptune Regatta. Mt Gay Rum Opening Party. Elegant presentation. Guy Nowell/ Mt Gay Rum Neptune Regatta
A party is as good away to start a regatta as any, and when the event has Mount Gay Rum as title sponsor, well…
So last evening the Mount Gay Rum 2012 Neptune Regatta was officially launched at a hugely convivial gathering of participants (the ones wearing the red hats), wannabe participants (sorry, no hat), corporate well-wishers and other experienced party-goers at the Ying Yang Bar at the Club Hotel, Singapore.

This just the second Neptune Regatta, but last year’s inaugural edition put The Race to Zero firmly on the map (or on the chart, if you prefer) as a top drawer event on the Asian sailing calendar. Starting on Monday, the combined fleet (38 at the last count) of IRC racers, PY cruisers, Corsair Dash 750 trimarans and a whole raft-up of motor cruisers, will head down to Pulau Sikeling, aka Neptune Island). From there, just 8nm north of 0°00’ 00’, the boats will sprint to the Equator and back. A lay day is planned to include a visit to nearby Pulau Blanding, a football match against the villagers, and a local feast to mark the occasion, before racing resumes with fleet heading north back to Nongsa Point Marina.

Tudor John, Regatta Chairman (and someone who is getting good at standing on tables), welcomed all participants as well as the sponsors’ representatives – Mount Gay Rum and Harry’s Bar. 'Two years ago everyone said it couldn’t be done. Last year we did it. And this year it’s just a little bit different and a whole lot better. Welcome to the Mount Gay Rum 2012 Neptune Regatta, and I look forward to seeing everyone down south at Neptune Island and on the Equator.'

Xavier Desaulles, Regional Managing Director of Remy Cointreau, owners of the Mount Gay brand, said 'the Neptune Regatta is as much an adventure as a sailing event. Mount Gay has a long history of supporting sailing (the Mount Gay Boatyard Regatta, Barbados, 1984 was the first). Our brand is not so well known in Asia, but we have found that there are plenty of adventurous sailors here who – we hope – will begin to ‘spread the word’. Welcome, everyone, to the 2012 event. The rum is on the bar!'

Mount Gay presently sponsors 140 sailing events around the globe every year, marking each occasion by presenting participants with the distinctive and highly collectible Mount Gay Red Caps, each one embroidered with the name and year of each regatta. (It would of course be impolite to ask if the sailors were there for the rum, or the cap!)

Skippers’ Briefing tomorrow (Sunday 5th) at Nongsa Point Marina, Batam, Indonesia. We’ll bring you all the news we can, and as fast as we can, but down south in the Riau Archipelago is very much ‘the dark side’ – no internet. A peaceful respite for many, but not so clever for web-based news like!

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