by Bryan Chan
A week of constant rain cleared Singapore’s sky just in time for the start of the 17th SMU-RM Western Circuit Sailing Regatta, and Raffles Marina buzzed with excitement as all 78 entries finally came together with their preparations done--ready to race.
Bryan Chan's SMUve - Less than a second away from making history - 17th SMU-RM Western Circuit Sailing Regatta
Day one brought great racing conditions with consistent puffs in the range of eight to twelve knots, but the strong current down the course made racing in the pleasant wind anything but a breeze. This made for exciting bouts in every race, and while in some classes ranks were quickly formed and held, others remain so fiercely contested that it was really anyone’s game.
In the IRC A class, Bill Bremner’s Foxy Lady VI, the defending champion, made it look easy by securing convincing wins in all three of the day’s races, while her archrival Sarab Singh’s Windsikher struggled to keep up even after two second place finishes due to the unfortunate need to retire during the second race. Instead, Jonathan Peter’s Seabass took second, with David Dimmock’s Blue Note not far behind.
A closer IRC B fleet saw the day’s available bullets shared evenly between three of the class leaders, Bryan Chan’s SMUve, Alexi Lim’s SMUMad, and Kurt Metzger’s Waka Tere. Two second place finishes gave Waka Tere the top seat, leaving SMUMad in second overall for the day, with Gordon Maxted’s Shoon Fung Too stealing the last spot on the leaderboard from SMUve by a single point with her consistent third place finishes.
The J24’s lined themselves up in spectacular fashion with Borstnar Vladimir’s Angel mercilessly picking up a win in all four of the day’s races, letting Victoria Koh’s Shengli, Sean Lee’s Ms Jock, and Judith Chen’s Quarterdeck score straight seconds, thirds and fourths respectively.
Justin Liu's SSF8 - 2nd SMU SB20 International Cup Champions - 17th SMU-RM Western Circuit Sailing Regatta
As expected, SB20 fleet saw plenty of battles hard fought. In the end, it was Justin Liu’s SSF8, Jervis Tilly’s Tara, Jeremy Chase’s Glasgow Kiss, Xu Yuanzhen’s SSF2 and Dominic Johnson’s Pocapena which emerged as the leaders, with point differences close enough that reshuffles on day two would remain very possible.
Most of the other classes, including the multihulls and Access 2.3s saw clear leaders take up top spots, ready to take it further on the day that followed.
Day two brought similar conditions to its predecessor, but the racing got more intense, especially over at the one design course, as boats tried to jostle for a better position. The conclusion of the SMU SB20 International Cup was fast approaching and every team wanted it bad. In the end, peak performance by Justin Liu’s SSF8 gave them the title, while Jervis Tilly’s Tara took second, pushing previous day’s leader Jeremy Chase’s Glasgow Kiss into the third spot on countback.
Start of the SMU President's Cup Passage Race - 17th SMU-RM Western Circuit Sailing Regatta
The SMU President’s Cup was to be awarded to the boat that won the long 20nm passage race. An exciting race that saw both sound tactical decisions and numerous blunders (which include an OCS Windsikher which was later grounded for fifteen minutes, and two PY class boats sailing the wrong course to end up with DNF scores), could have brought no more excitement. Despite a valiant effort by the students from the university of the trophy’s namesake on Bryan Chan’s SMUve, they could not win the Cup and create the upset for which they were surely hoping. Bill Bremner’s Foxy Lady VI came out tops yet again, but this time by only a hair. Official corrected timings reveal their win by a mere fraction of a second (0.6s to be exact)!
The long course passage race, caused many shuffles as Windsikher too a big hit with a 6-point finish to drop her down the ranks, making way for Koh Seng Leong’s Xtra SMUVE to climb just short of the podium. Waka Tere’s costly race combined with SMUve’s commendable effort and SMUMad’s decent result moved Alexi Lim into first place, with Bryan Chan in second, with Kurt Metzger just behind. A DNF crippled Dieter Trau’s Watermelon’s good score moving her down a rank but not out of reach of Tobias Arnold’s Cebeles, while Desmond Seah’s Arbudhen holds first for her performance.
Although overall positions in the J24 class did not change, the day brought about much chaos when Sean Lee’s Ms Jock managed to place first in a single race, destroying Angel’s clean sheet. This was no easy feat considering that Angel and her crew are known among the local fleet precisely for being able to go untouched throughout regattas.
Winners of the Access 2.3 Class - 17th SMU-RM Western Circuit Sailing Regatta
The Access 2.3 racing ended on day two with Aaron Per taking first place in front of usual favourite Jovin Tan, which left a nonetheless happy Ng Jia Jun in third place. All in all the Access 2.3 class had a great time racing despite the strong current which made sailing particularly difficult for their special craft.
In all we are glad that racing is as close as it is, and great conditions have blessed us with an excellent field on which to compete. Hopefully, day three will bring the same, and we get to witness more action as participants continue to fight for dominance over the water and their competitors!
Who will win the 17th SMU-RM Western Circuit Sailing Regatta? We’ll find out next week!
Full results are available on our website!