Going into the final races only one or two points separated the leaders in three of the five classes. Most boats headed out early for some fine tuning and prepare the crew mentally and physically for what needs to be done to win the title. The IRC B class were a little too ambitious, and a general recall was signalled by PRO Richard Cai, whose team have done a great job to hold it all together and complete the race schedule in testing conditions. Once again the nor’east monsoon was pumping in at a steady 16 knots with gusts reaching 24 knots. This was going to be such a challenging day on both crew and machine that the eventual winners would deserve the title.
The Racing class duelling duo once again went through the pre-start circling motions that have enthralled onlookers all week, as they jockeyed for the windward berth. Ray Roberts’ TP 52 Evolution Racing hit the line with speed with Neil Pryde's Welbourn 52 Hi Fi to leeward and bow slightly ahead. Difficult to live in that position for long, and as Evolution Racing rolled over Hi Fi a taking duel was instigated. Roberts covered Pryde tack for tack up the windward leg, and rounded the top mark ahead. Thrilling downwind slides followed, but as Hi Fi approached the bottom mark, an equipment failure prevented the crew from dousing the spinnaker and Pryde was forced to carry on past and do a wide arc, loosing valuable ground on Evolution Racing, who was fast disappearing into the distance. Roberts went on to win and make it four wins out of the scheduled seven races, putting him in an unbeatable position. To avoid further gear breakage it was mutually agreed not to contest Race 7. This result sees Ray Roberts become the Singapore Straits Regatta champion, and win the S.E.A. Perpetual Cup Series to take home the replica of the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy. Four regatta wins and one second place almost certainly puts them in the box seat to win the Evolution Sails AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year awards.
Only one point separated Sarab Jeet Singh's Sydney 40MOD Windsikher and Rick Pointon's J/130 Jing Jing at the start of the day. All competitors were a little too keen at the start of Race 6 and a general recall was signaled as most were caught over the line. After the restart it was business as usual, with Singh's Windsikher the first to set the spinnaker at the top mark, closely followed by Pointon's Jing Jing in hot pursuit. This time it was Jing Jing's turn for some broaching action, which unsettled the crew and dropped them back in the pack. As Singh's Windsikher went on to win the race and Pointon's Jing Jing finished in fourth place, the title was in the bag for Sarab Singh's merry crew with one race to spare. Yazid Ramli's Beneteau 42.7 Rip Jaw, crewed by the Singapore dinghy champions came through in the end to win Race 7 and secure themselves third overall.
After yesterday’s results, Adriaan Smit's Power Partners held a three point lead over Gregory Ho's SMUve, who were determined to go out and make up for the Race 5 disqualification. That's just what they did, and by winning two races today, regained the lead and won the IRC C title in commanding fashion. Believe me, this is no mean feat on a Platu 25 in windy conditions. Despite breaking nearly everything on the boat, Gordon Maxted's Young 84 Shoon Fung Too came home with two second places to take over second overall. A shredded spinnaker and a main cap shroud parting company, saw Adriaan Smit's chances on Power Partners blown away in the wind but they have done enough in the earlier races to hold onto third place overall.
Although the racing was close in the one design J/24 class, Christopher Lim's Jangan Main Main managed to score six wins in a row and on paper convincingly take the title. Never far behind the Indonesians on A. Wahab's Nova have consistently scored second place to secure second overall. Calvin Lim's Shengli won the last race in Jangan Main Main's absence but had to settle on third overall. I. Wayan Rusdiana's Merdeka finished in a distant fourth and will have to invest in new sails if they are to improve in the future.
In the PY class Deanna Adams, the only lady skipper in the fleet, on her Beneteau QI, triumphed over Malcolm Chang's brand new Oceanis 46 Charlotte's Web in both races to secure the title on their first outing in anger.
At the same time, the Windsurfers, Optimist and Byte classes have been contesting the Batam Open Regatta. Young sailors from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia have all braved the 20 knot winds and two meter seas outside the marina, to return on a steep learning curve and character building exercise that they can brag about when they get home.
Another resounding success and a true test of sailors’ ability to handle difficult conditions. Other boat owners in the region should take note if they want to challenge their crew and get out of the comfort zone by battling the elements. This regatta will also go a long way to increasing the participation level to the event’s former glory days. The organisers must be congratulated for putting on a great show and if the enthusiasm shown by the competitors is anything to go by, mark it as 'must attend' for all the above reasons in the sailing diary.