by Borneo Times
Even the locals admit that the Borneo International Yachting Challenge (BIYC) is more a rally than a race, but they have modelled it after the Sydney to Hobart in that it sets off from a city(Miri) and goes to an island (Labuan), but that's as far as the comparison holds. Nevertheless, it is becoming a popular event with short-handed cruising boats on long-range cruises.
23 of 28 of the entrants are cruising boats - locals admit it’s ’more a rally than a race
Twenty-eight yachts from nine countries set off from Miri Marina in Sarawak this week. Twenty-three of the yachts were either multihulls or cruising boats, but there were five serious racing boats who will no doubt race ahead of the fleet.
Borneo International Yachting Challenge 2013
However, put all your thoughts of this being an event as you know it at home aside. Those who have participated before note that ideas of handicaps, not using your engine or any of those niceties we have all come to expect, will be absent. Take it all in good fun, and you're sure to enjoy the scenery - and the unique way the locals have of organising an event.
The yachts are from a typical cross section of cruising boats - from Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, Switzerland and Malaysia. The BIYC regularly attracts cruising boats happy to take advantage of the free berthing and air conditioned hotel rooms that go with the entry package.
This the 10th anniversary event, and Organising Committee Co-chairman Datuk Lee Kim Shin - who is also Assistant Minister of Sports - said, 'The Organising Committee has proposed that the event profile be further raised internationally.
'This is the only international yachting event in Borneo, and there is great potential for its future growth,' said Lee. He's right, of course, as the number of cruising boats in increasing world-wide despite the international economic slowdown.
The BIYC, a distance of around 90nm, takes place on the Borneo coast, also known as 'the land below the wind'. Autohelms (and anything else) are allowed while taking part.
Three years ago the event was extended to include Kota Kinabalu at the request of the Sabah Tourism Board and the Sutera Harbour Marina.
This week the participants departed the 95nm Miri to Labuan Passage.
The remaining events are the Labuan Harbour Race, the Labuan to Kota Kinabalu Passage (71nm), and the Kota Kinabalu Harbour Race.