While the Racing divisions of the Mt Gay Rum 2013 Neptune Regatta were hurrying south from Nongsa to Pulau Sikeling, the Cruising divisions were doing it in a bit less of a rush.
Race day 1 ended at Pulau Karas Besar (Big Stiffy Island) where the 13-strong fleet parked for the night after a pleasant cruise and an uneventful sail down the Selat Riau. All boats were tucked up in the anchorage before 1630h, leaving plenty of time for dinner and social preparations. An impromptu driftwood bonfire on the beach was capped off by a spectacular fireworks display from a Baby Tonga crew member celebrating his 50th birthday for (at least) the fifth time. Reports include some confusion as to whether the display was to the east or the west of the boat, but in any case the show was thoroughly visible. '$200 of very best Indonesian fireworks,' said the birthday boy. 'That’s a lot.'
Next day, sailing from P. Karas Besar was a breeze, literally. After an 0805 start, most of the trip was in bright sunshine tourist weather, until a heavy rainstorm coming in from the north caught up with the fleet, bringing big gusts and causing broaches and consternation on at least one boat. Arriving at the P. Sikeling finish presented an interesting challenge in 50m visibility, but by the time the back markers arrived in front of the Neptune Island pier the sun was back on duty and it was time to go ashore for sundowners and Irish Stew.
1. Baby Tonga 1,1 (2)
2. Defiance 2,2 (4)
3. Shahtoosh 3,3 (6)
1. Mico Verde 1,1 (2)
2. Minx 2, 2 (4)
3. Naya 3, 3 (6)
1. La Gaeta 1,1 (2)
2. Katrianne 2,2 (4)
by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia
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5:17 AM Sun 17 Feb 2013GMT
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