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From tears to joy - Sydney GTS43 Walawala2 shines in Asian debut

by on 18 May 2012
Walawala Kings Cup 2010 Tracey Johnstone
After a sad end to the 2010 Kings Cup where Singapore based yachtsman Steve Manning lost his Beneteau 44.7 Walawala to the nature of a storm, which ended with his pride and joy being washed up on the beach and destroyed in Phuket Thailand.

How things can change; Steve’s endeavor to replace his Beneteau ended when he caught sight of the new Ker designed Sydney GTS43.

'It was the perfect fit, high performance IRC orientated but still very comfortable and an appeal to more than just the racer. I was impressed enough with the team at Sydney Yachts I ordered sight unseen after I researched all other options on the market, and ran them through simulation software reflecting the type of conditions and racing experienced in Asia.'

Walawala 2 was launched November 2011 in Singapore and the next week made the delivery trip to Phuket Thailand to compete in the prestigious Kings Cup Regatta.

Well not only did she compete Walawala2 came away with a second place on IRC in her very first regatta. A new yacht less than a month old with a team of friends who used to sail on Steve’s Beneteau and the able assistance of Jason Rowed from Sydney Yachts. What a debut for both Manning and also the Sydney Yachts team. Smiles were easily found!

Post Kings Cup Walawala2 was delivered straight to Langkawi in Malaysia where she stayed until Steve and his family picked her up a couple of weeks later. Now it was time for the family to enjoy the other life of their new Walawala.

The family trip took them from Langkawi back down to Singapore.

With only a few weeks to get work commitments fulfilled it was then time for one of Singapore’s main regattas, 'Singapore Straits Regatta'. With a combination of both windward leeward and passage races in Singapore and also across the Straits in Batum Indonesia.

Walawala2 went on to record four wins, two seconds and their worst result was a fifth from the seven race series. Despite that impressive tally, Steve said, ‘We had a difficult first few days, as it was a bit of a lottery. After that, we had a day delivery over to Batam for the two final days of racing, which turned out to be excellent.

Two powerful windward/leeward races were on offer for both days, which were good fun in the breeze, which ranged through 13-18 knots - nothing wrong with those whatsoever. I think we got three firsts and a second.’ (Indeed they did…) ‘We’re a little bit staggered at the moment. Once we got over to Batam and started getting onto the solid upwind stuff again, it was all a little reminiscent of Phuket, you know’. They won the Straits Regatta.

For the next few months it was back to Singapore’s Raffles Marina which is where Walawala2 is berthed. Some local fun races and then a small series called the Rhumb Series out of Raffles Marina.

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]As time flies by it is time to prepare Walawala for her delivery to Pattaya, Thailand where she will race the 'Top of the Gulf' Regatta. With a division looking even more competitive than the Kings Cup this regatta is set to be fun and intense.

With racing set over four days with up to seven races scheduled. This regatta was certainly one that every second or point counted every time. With a mixture of Windward leeward and passage races Walawala2 scored consistently and were rewarded with a third place equal with the Ker 40 Kukukerchu but relegated to fourth on a count back. While not overly excited with a fourth Walawala can feel positive as Hi Fi the 52 footer was put in her division and normally races a division above when enough entries. So a few more entries and it could have been equal second.

In summary the fourth really shows there were more mistakes made than the first three competitors. Something that has been absorbed before heading to the next big event at Koh Samui at the end of May.

Whether it be Phuket Thailand, Singapore Straits or Pattaya Thailand Walawala 2 has shown she has the speed and style to turn heads. A team led by owner skipper Steve Manning and his core group of Singapore/Hong Kong based club sailors.

Well done to Steve and his team on an impressive start to Walawala2’s racing debut on the Asian circuit.

Keep an eye out for Walawala on the Samui Regatta website

And exciting news that alrready tough Asian circuit competition is set to rise another notch from mid year with Hong Kong owner Marcel Liedts, the 2011 Koh Samui regatta winner stepping out of his Archambault 40 Elektra after this year Koh Samui and straight into a Sydney Yachts GTS43 - also to be called Elektra.

For more Information on the Sydney GTS43 click here.

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