It’s Neptune time again – the regatta that combines sail and power, racing and adventure, some of the archipelago scenery in the region, and a trip to the equator to ‘cross the line’, meet King Neptune, and be admitted to his court.
The second running of Asia’s most unusual sailing event starts on Sunday 05 February 2012 from Nongsa Point Marina, Batam, Indonesia - which is not so very far away from anywhere when you remember that it’s slightly less than 10nm from Singapore (Tanamerah Ferry Pier) as the crow flies - and takes the fleet south through the beautiful Riau Archipelago to the equator and back again. This year the event has joined the Red Hat Club, meaning that it is now has a title sponsor – the official title is the Mount Gay Rum 2012 Neptune Regatta. Social events kick off with a party on Friday 03 February at the Ying Yang Bar in Club Street, Singapore.
There’s a slightly different programme from last year’s highly successful inaugural regatta:
Day 1. IRC Racing fleet sails from Nongsa to a finish at Pulau Buaya ('Neptune Island’) via the Selat Riau, leaving Batam to starboard. The cruising divisions and the powerboat rally wil make the trip in two stages, anchoring at Pulau Karas Besar (‘Big Stiffy Isand’) overnight.
Day 2. Windward/leeward racing at/around/near P Buaya for IRC Racing, second stage of the trip to Neptune Island for everyone else.
Day 3. The Equator Sprint for all boats. From Buaya, it’s just 8nm to zero degrees, and as before boats will be allowed ‘time out’ between the outward and return legs in order for the Slimy Pollywogs to meet King Neptune (and maybe Queen Codfish, too) and be elevated to the status of Trusty Shellbacks. Then back to P Buaya.
Day 4. Lay day. But don’t expect it to be all lazing about on a tropical island… there’s a football match against the local fishing village arranged on nearby P Sikeling, and there will be feasting and dancing (everyone invited, even those with two left feet).
Day 5. Reverse the running order: Racing class race back to Nongsa, everyone else makes the trip in two stages like before.
Day 6. Inshore racing at Nongsa; cruising boats and powerboats arrive at Nongsa; party party party at Nongsa Point Marina.
Entries are substantially up on last year’s inaugural event, with 39 boats declared – 8 IRC racing; 19 PY cruising; 4 Corsair Dash 7.5m trimarans; 8 powerboats. 'Given the amount of materiel that has to be shipped to P Buaya, the amount of work that goes into constructing the tent encampment there, and all the logistics involving everything from food and water to sanitation and tents, that’s probably about the limit at the moment,' says Tudor John, Regatta Chairman and generally CCBW (Chief Cook and Bottle Washer).
Not only will there be a huge tent encampment at P Buaya to accommodate (principally) the IRC Racing crews who have less creature comforts on board than the PY Cruisers and the powerboats, but Harry’s Bar from Singapore will be setting up a very special ‘Harry’s @ The Equator Bar’, and the title sponsors, Mt Gay Rum will be serving sundowners at the Mt Gay Beach Hut for an hour every evening. There will be on-site bbq facilities running non-stop, with fresh fish coming in from the local village – surely an opportunity to lay claim to the title of ‘most inaccessible, most exclusive, and freshest produce seafood restaurant in Asia’?
Oh, and the bar is already laid out at 8m x 4m, which is presumably the Longest and Only Regatta Bar on P Buaya, right?
Sail-World will be bringing you news from Singapore, Nongsa and the regatta just as often as we can – but the internet does wobbly things down there by the equator. Maybe that’s yet another good reason to join in and really get away from it all, but last year’s regatta and all the recce parties that have been down through the Riaus know full well that satellite signals fade as you go south. A special sort of ‘Nongsa Rules’ – what goes south, stays south. So the only way to really find out what a great event this is would be to join in…
For full details of the event, go to: www.neptune.com.sg
by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia
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9:05 AM Sun 29 Jan 2012GMT
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