If you have islands to sail around, then sail around them. Frank Pong says he likes courses 'where there is some scenery', and that’s something Langkawi has in spades. This is meant to be a regatta report, not a tourism eulogy, but the islands that make up this archipelago (all 99 of them, officially) are very beautiful – think Phang Nga Bay but with the lumps and packed into less area, and you’re close.
When the wind allows, the RO can set an Around the Island course – around the whole of Langkawi might be a bit too far, but around Pulau Tuba and Pulau Dayang Bunting and back up Bass Harbour is about 23nm for the ‘long’ course and 20nm via the shortcut through between P Bunting and P Singa Besar.
Race Instructions allow the slower boats to start 0845h onwards, with the racing divisions taking off at 0930h in a bid to get absolutely everyone around the course. Good idea.
Today boats enjoyed a grand spinnaker run – at whatever time they started – down the east coast of the islands before rounding up for the beat up the harbour. Jelik reported 'nothing less than 18kts of breeze all the way except for some soft patches at the bottom and in the lee of the islands – but we never stopped, not even close. And we were hitting speeds well in excess of 22kts at times,' said Owner Frank Pong. Maybe nobody else had been counting, but it took the ever-sharp eye of Capt Marty Rijkuris to notice that Jelik’s elapsed time of 2h 14m 53s constituted a new record for the race, breaking her own best time by some 20 minutes which gives an indication of the excellent sailing conditions. Peter Ahern’s Oi! had to settle for second on the water and second on handicap.
Foxy Lady VI continued her relentless series of bullets at the top of IRC 1, and Phoenix same-same in IRC 2. 20-odd miles in a Platu is hard work at the best of times, so hats off to all the young Platu sailors and especially today’s winner Mohd Afendy and crew.
Even the first-to-start, last-to-finish crowd – notably Eveline and My Toy – got round the course in quick order, with Eveline surprising herself yet again with a win in a corrected time of 2h 42m 13s. In fact everyone was back at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club by 1300hrs or soon after.
A cursory glance at the score sheets says that most of the divisions are wrapped up by now, but the weather forecast remains good and quite simply there is some glorious sailing to be done. Roll on tomorrow.
by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia
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9:16 AM Fri 17 Jan 2014GMT
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