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Mt Gay Rum 2013 Neptune Regatta. The long beat north.

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia on 18 Feb 2013
Mt Gay Rum 2013 Neptune Regatta, P. Sikeling - Nongsa. The Dash in a hurry to catch up. Guy Nowell ©
A 70nm reach and run is one thing. A 70nm beat back again is quite another. After an all-classes start at 0900h in bright morning sunshine in front of Camp Neptune, and adjudicated by POSH (PRO On SHore) Jerry Rollin, the Racing classes started the long haul back to Nongsa while the Cruisers began the slightly shorter trip to Pulau Karas Besar.

As the fleet hooked around the pin in order to double back round P. Sikeling and take the short course around the back of the Buaya Group, The Dash suffered a crew injury which resulted in a medevac to the Committee Boat for the ride home. Last year Mehdi Khaled from Mico Verde earned his doctor’s stripes digging sea urchin spines out of feet – this time, in full island witch doctor’s war paint, he was quickly strapping his patient to a door for loading onto Oceantalk before getting back to the serious business of racing.

The Neptune break-down team cleaned up and cleared out from the island in record time. Away came the generator, the baggage and the flags, down came the tent village, and away went the 40-gallon drum bbqs, the ice boxes and the cooking pots – into storage at Pulau Blanding until next year. One last sweep to make sure that the island was, indeed, cleaner than when the fleet arrived.

At 1600h the Committee Boat caught up with the leaders at the top end of the Selat Pengelap. Walawala and Kukukerchu once more joined at the hip, with just 35nm to go to the finish. No surprise there – but there was a surprise in the shape of Baby Tonga keeping them company, and nearing the Premier Cruising finish line at P. Karas Besar – they had a remarkable sail, matching the thoroughbred racers tack for tack. Owner Anthony Hastings said, 'after a disappointing couple of outings at Baby Tonga’s recent regattas, it really proved to us that this boat can get up and go. It was a well-deserved win.' Second in Premier Cruising for the trip to Karas Besar was Peter Moore’s Shatoosh, and Pyrenees scored her best result to date to take the last place on the podium.

Steaming straight on, the IRC and Multihull Racing classes toughed it out all the way back to Nongsa. Walawala (Steve Manning) scored line honours and a win having hung tight on to Kukukerchu’s coat-tails all the way, and pounced on the lead when Kuku picked up some weed on her rudder and had to stop for clearance. As the course bore away to the west around the top end of Batam on the last leg to the finish, Walawala made good use of her slightly longer waterline (43’ vs 40’) and crossed the finish at 2124h, 8 minutes in front of the Ker 40. Manning said, 'a 12-hour upwind race feels like a long way, and I take my hat off to everyone who kept the concentration and the pressure on all the way to the end.'

First Multihull home was Manao Express at 0435h after a marathon 19h 30m race, but the points for sheer tenacity go to The Dash, rolling past the finish at 0520h on the Saturday morning for a second place on the water and on handicap. Remember that the IRC Racing and Multihull Racing divisions were going to be out on the water again for two last windward-leewards starting at 1200h! And remember also that The Dash had a massively delayed start after one of her crewmembers suffered a back injury only moments after the start and had to be taken off the boat (and replaced by the hastily press-ganged ARO, Helen Ruud).

This is when the Neptune Regatta reminds us rather of that Asian classic, the Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta – it’s not over until it’s over, and there are some hard yards along the way. The Neptune is probably destined to be labelled a ‘classic’ before long.

Short Results after 5 races:

IRC Racing
1. Kukukerchu 4 2 1 1 2 (10)
2. Walawala 3 1 2 4 1 (11)
3. Sea 1 3 4 2 4 (14)
Multihull Racing
1. The Dash 1 1 1 2 2 (7)
2. Manao Express 2 3 2 1 1 (9)

Short Results after 4 races:
Premier Cruising
1. Baby Tonga 1 1 3 1 (6)
2. Shatoosh 3 3 1 2 (10)
3. Defiance 2 2 2 6 (12)
1. Minx 1 2 1 2 (6)
2. Naya 2 3 4 1 (10)
3. Mico Verde 5 1 2 3.5 (11.5)
Multihull Cruising
1. La Gaeta 1 1 1 1 (4)
2. Katrianne 2 2 2 2 (8)

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