At around 50nm – depending on the position of the start line - the last Raja Muda passage race from Penang to Langkawi is the shortest leg of the regatta. This one really is a straight line course, wind-dependent. It has become a feature of this year’s regatta that there’s more breeze at the finish than at the start, and yesterday followed on in spades.
Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta 2011 - Penang-Langkawi Race start - Rascal leaving Penang behind
Sunshine replaced the previous day’s grey overcast, but the wind was notably absent at start time 1200hrs. After a little jilling around and admiring the Penang scenery, the RO sent off the well-known ‘big black Police RIB’ on a windseeking mission, all the way out to the second inbound port channel markers. Still nothing. Cutting a long, slow and hot story short, racing started for Class 6 in a fitful 3-4kts from the east at 1320hrs with just 47nm to the finish. Eveline seemed to be having trouble getting to the line…
The remainder of the sequence involved two APs and a brief flirt with ideas of an abandonment as the feeble breeze came and went. Eveline still seemed to be having trouble getting to the line… even after all classes through 1 to 7 had pulled away slowly under spinnaker.
Hi Fi and NiJinsky got caught up with each other in a pre-start collision when the J/92S slipped into Hi Fi’s ‘blind spot’ – Hi Fi lost her bowsprit in the process, and took out NiJinsky’s port quarter guard rail. 'We checked it on our GPS tracker,' said Hi Fi crew helmsman, Kevin Costin, 'and it all happened in just three seconds.' After a substandard result (7th) in the race from Port Klang to Pangkor, and now a retirement from the last passage race, Hi Fi is out of the regatta and concentrating on repairs before the Phuket King’s Cup which starts on 5 December. Neil Pryde, who was to have arrived in Langkawi today, took the phone call very philosophically. 'You blokes make me look good,' he told Costin.
Once over line, the fleet scattered in all directions, looking for a ghost of a promise of breeze, and Eveline finally crossed the line behind the Class 7 multihulls and some 45 minutes after her own allotted start time. And then the breeze began to fill from the northeast. And fill, and fill…
The Race Officer and assorted others headed north for the finish in the fast Police RIB, and it was a wet and bumpy ride – and that’s an understatement. First racing crew into Charlie’s Place, the bar at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, was the catamaran Sidewinder, reporting a top wind speed of 30kts and boat speed in excess of 23kts. Elapsed time: 5h 01m. 'A wild ride,' said David Yourieff as he washed out the salt with another beer. Next in for refreshments was David Liddell’s Corsair C37, Miss Saigon. 'We started with a spinnaker in the light stuff, went to a screecher, and then to the jib top. It was a one-tack race, and we howled home at 19kts. More, please!' First multihull to finish, win her division, and claim line honours for the whole fleet in just 4h 46m, was Andrew Stransky’s Fantasia. The finish crew reported the big cat crossing the finish line in a cloud of spray with one hull flying - Miss Saigon (trimaran) went one better and flew two.
Australian Maid, Dr John Wardill’s veteran Raja Muda campaigner, enjoyed the blast as well. 'A race just made for the Maid,' he said. An elapsed time of just 6h 8m made it a race to remember. David Ross’s new Ker 40 KukuKERchu at last lived up to her promise, and stormed Class 1 to take line honours and the handicap win in an elapsed time of 5h 41m. David Ross said, 'At last! I am confident that everything up to now has been a learning curve that we can now capitalise on. We called it right and sailed it well… particularly good was watching the DK47, Utarid, coming up to our course from leeward and then, when she was just behind us, we drag-raced away to finish almost two miles in front of her.' EFG Bank Mandrake (Fred Kinmonth/Nick Burns) added another 2nd place finish to their tally, and the Royal Malaysian Navy’s Utarid claimed 3rd. Mandrake now sits securely at the top of the results table with eight points from five races, and Utarid seven points behind her, with two races to go. The last two races tomorrow look to be a scramble for third overall between KukuKERchu (23 points), Zanzibar (23) and Won Ma Rang (24).
'We sailed a pretty straight-line race,' said EFG Bank Mandrake’s tactician, Warwick Downes. 'Everyone went everywhere after the start. Maybe going right, and inshore, was good when the nor’easter started up – it certainly didn’t do KukuKERchu any harm – but we were pretty happy where we were in the middle. We are not really a reaching boat, and are very happy with a second place finish, but I gather the crew on Kuku had a great ride on that big wide skimming dish!'
In fact, everyone had a great ride, with the heavier cruising boats making the most of a good blow. The only exception was probably Eveline who broke a shroud and finished the trip under engine shortly before midnight.
Classes 2, 5, 6 and 7 are out on Langkawi’s pretty Bass Harbour today, taking in the scenery as they race round some of the smaller islands and islets south west of Kuah, and there are two more races to go (tomorrow). There’s still everything to play for in most of the divisions.
1 EFG Bank Mandrake 1,2,2,1,2 (8)
2 Utarid 2,3,4,3,3 (15)
3 Hi Fi 7,1,1,2,8 (19)
1 Australian Maid 3,2,1,1 (7)
2 Strongbow The Goat 1,1,2,3 (7)
3 Silandra V 2,5,4,5 (16)
1 Foxy Lady 2,1,2,2,1 (8)
2 Windsikher 1,3,3,1,3 (11)
3 Katsu 3,2,1,3,2 (10)
1 Mat Salleh 1,3,2,3,1 (9)
2 NiJinsky 2,1,2,1,3 (9)
3 Skybird 3,3,1,3,2 (12)
1 Firtissimo 8 1,3,1,3 (6)
2 Rascal 2,2,3,1 (8)
3 Aeolus XC 4,5,4,2 (15)
1 Kay Sira 2,1,2,1 (6)
2 Eveline 1,4,1,3 (9)
3 Musytari 3,2,3,2 (10)
1 Sidewinder 1,1,4 (6)
2 Miss Saigon 2,2,2 (6)
3 Fantasia 3,3,1 (7)