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Mt Gay Rum 2012 Neptune Regatta – day2. Patience needed for cruisers

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia on 15 Feb 2012
Mount Gay Rum 2012 Neptune Regatta. A great view to wake up to. Tent Camp, Neptune Island. Guy Nowell/ Mt Gay Rum Neptune Regatta
If it was a gallop from Nongsa to Karas Besar for the first half of the trip south to Neptune Island, it was never more than a trot for the second half of the trip. And for many it was even slower, and occasion to fire up the iron headsail. Neptune Rules allow Cruising and Classic classes to motor, but the penalty is severe – 1.5x the motoring time added to total elapsed time. Rules also state that a boat that sails all the way cannot be beaten by a boat that has motored, regardless of how the maths work out. On this occasion dying breeze on the approach to the Pengelap ‘gate’ prompted the Race Officer very wisely to prepare for a shortened finish. With the tide turning against the fleet, and some of the boats hovering almost on the finish line, it was a prudent move.

So some motored, and some didn’t. O’ Blu Eyes must have chewed up a whole box of bullets as they hung on, and then hung on some more, for a win. 15nm in six hours is mostly about persistence (and those Volvo people think they had it tough in the Malacca Strait? Huh!). Others who stayed the distance were Sapphire Star (Cruising), Aeolus XC (Cruising), Kay Sira (Classic).

Meanwhile, back at the ranch down on Neptune Island, the IRC division and Multihull sailors crawled out of their 5-star accommodation to find 5-star bacon sarnies, 5-star corned beef hash and 3-star (ie 3-in-1) coffee waiting for them – and 10kts of breeze. Time for windward-leewards. RO Jerry Rollin moved the windward mark went just a bit east to get out of the wind shadow of the island, and off they went. Flat water, blue sky and sunshine look pretty good in the pictures. The photographer liked the conditions, and so did KukuKERchu (Ker 40), scoring line/handicap honours in both races. Actually, it must have been ‘simplified scoring’ day, with KKK recording 1, 1, Men at Work on 2, 2 and Rikki Tikki Tavi returning 3, 3.

More variety in the Multihulls as the Long Race winner, Siren, fell to the bottom of the order for both races (who had an extra rum punch last evening?) and The Dash (Alice Lim) and Singa’loc (Nicholas Gillier) duked it out 1,2, and 2, 1.

With the Cruising and Classic divisions arriving rather later than expected after their slow race and long motoring section, both rum punch and sausages were under strict rationing by the time the sun went down. One lady sailor was heard to remark that she was 'the only girl on a boat full of boys, and couldn’t get a sausage.' Shame on you, boys! But eventually everyone trickled in, and Neptune Island came to (night) life. A couple of high tech kerosene torches in Harry’s Bar made it look just like the welcoming hostelry that it is (was) and the beer and the stories flowed. One well-known Asian sailing journalist was heard to remark the next day that the walk from the bar to the tents (about 200m) that night ‘involved a great of deal of tacking and gybing’, and he probably wasn’t the only one. The last thing this writer remembers is the sea breeze in the doorway of the tent, and the waves breaking on the beach behind the camp. Magic stuff.

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