16 kts and grey skies, wind over tide and a downwind start, and surprisingly enough there wasn’t a single OCS as the fleet set off around Pulau Dayang Bunting – 28nm for the full distance, although some of the divisions were handed down a shorter 22nm course. Occasionally the sun peered through the clouds, but still nothing like the ‘baking on the grill’ conditions that some of us remember from this time last year. This is the RLIR race that combines sailing and sightseeing, but unfortunately the glory and grandeur of the UNESCO Geopark scenery was substantially muted by the weather.
However, there was plenty of breeze all the way round the track for all divisions, even if there were some patchy bits coming in through the gap between P. Dayang Bunting and P. Singa Besar on the shorter course.
IRC 0 and 1 started together, and the big boats shot off south in the usual running order – Jelik 2 at the front, then Hooligan, Hi Fi, and Utarid and Uranus bringing up the rear of the division. In blustery conditions Jelik set a new record time of 2h 36m 30s for the round trip, finishing in front of the RLYC at 12.10hrs after a beat up Bass Harbour, and just in time for lunch. On paper, Hooligan added yet another first place to the score sheet, with HiFi in second. Katsu led the charge in IRC 1, and stayed in front all the way round the (same) track, but Jing Jing took first place on corrected time.
The ongoing ding-dong battle in the Platu division continues. This time Singapore Management University bested the Malaysian Armed Forces crew to place themselves just 1 point in the lead overall. The two crews have claimed the first and second places for every race so far, and there are still four to go.
After yesterday’s gallop around the course, Fantasia was obviously up for some more pace work, and led the Multihull fleet from start to finish. The rather slower Club Cruiser and Ocean Rover classes had the choice of starting at 0730h instead of 0930h – the idea being to make sure that everyone got a finish in the event the breeze died out. Far from it! In fact, the Committee Boat, Police Auxiliary 53, was hard pressed to make sure that she arrived at the finish line in time for the first finisher – and having stormed through the Dayang Bunting Strait at flank speed (26kts) the RO and his Committee managed to set up the line a mere 4 minutes before the first boat, Gavin Wellman’s Rascal, cruised in to finish. RO Simon James said afterwards, 'actually, I think the Captain was watching the fuel gauge even more closely than he was watching his speed!'
Historical note: Out on the race course again today was Warisan Duyong – a traditionally-built wooden round-bilge local classic from Terengganu, she is in fact only two years old. And weighs 34 tons. 'But she loves a blow, and she loves to go,' says skipper Thomas Gerard. 'Preferably in a straight line. She doesn’t like turning corners – tacking takes an age, and then we have to get the 34 tons moving all over again.'
Full results at: www.langkawiregatta.com