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Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta 2018 - Last Gasp

by Guy Nowell 1 Dec 2018 20:30 PST
Raja Muda Cup: Mandrake III. Raja MudaSelangor International Regatta 2018 © Guy Nowell / RMSIR

Saturday 24th was the last racing day and closing dinner and prizegiving for the 29th Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta. Having lost a race in Penang (too much breeze) and another in Langkawi (not enough breeze) the day before, PRO Jerry Rollin made a valiant effort to recover at least some of the position, starting proceedings for Classes 1 and 2 an hour earlier than advertised.

The Cruising classes ‘went south’ from a start line near Wavemaster, with the intention that the Racing classes would then start on the other side of the Committee Boat, going north. But the wind changed, from northeasterly to south of east.

An hour later the racers got away on an all-new course across the top of Bass Harbour, with the windward mark right outside the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club. First sausage, good sailing. Second sausage, dying dying dying. Last boat to finish was the little MC31, Kannu, limping across the line with the spinnaker straight-up-and-down. With nothing else in sight, and no promise of improvement, the referee very wisely blew the whistle for Full Time and sent everyone home. “No problem at all,” said Fred Kinmonth. “That leaves Mandrake III just one point in front of Sarab Jeet Singh’s Windsikher. We’ll take that.”

Boats owned by the Kinmonth/Burns partnership have now won the Raja Muda Cup four times, although to be absolutely correct it should be remembered that neither Mr K nor Mr B were on board Stella when she took the title in 2002 - ask Warwick Downes.

Meanwhile, and at the southern end of Bass Harbour, it was a light airs drifting match for the cruising divisions. Some of them drifted more expertly than others, leaving Marikh, Lady Bubbly, and Prime Factor with divisional wins for the day.

Marikh had the distinction of a completely clean score card – five wins from five races – to win Class 6. Over the years the Royal Malaysian Navy teams in the little Contessa 32 have made something of a speciality of this event, and are multiple winners. Class 5 Overall was won by Iseulta in a close contest with VG Offshore.

Max Pelleschi’s Prime Factor, a 30-year old IOR Farr 40, sailed the entire Raja Muda double handed. “So much easier than trying to organise a full crew,” said Pelleschi, “and fewer people answering back! Yes, this is my full crew,” he confirmed when just he and Mark Cowling came up on on stage at the overall prizegiving. “Mark Cowling and I have done a huge number of miles together, and we had the sail handling down pat – we were even peeling spinnakers, just the two of us – by the end of the regatta. Maybe the lower crew weight helped in the light stuff; it certainly didn’t do any harm.” Prime Factor’s closest competition was the fully-crewed A40, Red Rum, skippered by Steve Manning.

Premier Cruising for the Jugra Cup was won by the DK46 Janda Baik. A DK46 is essentially a racing boat, and we haven’t had a look down the hatch, but we really do wonder what it was doing in Class 2, up against Geoff Hill’s venerable Antipodes and Peter Cremers’s luxurious Shahtoosh. Anyway, Khairul Zakaria and his merry crew scooped up five out of their six races for an easy win.

2018 probably won’t go down in the history books as a cracker of a year for the Raja Muda. In short, there was good breeze from Port Klang to Pangkor, a wet and miserable re-start from Pangkor that turned into moderately decent breeze, one race only in Penang on account of severe weather, an uncomplicated leg up to Langkawi with a soft patch at the end, and races lost on both inshore days in Langkawi from lack of breeze. It should be 10 races for Class 1, and they got six. It makes a difference when there are fewer races to ‘average out’, particularly as there are no discards in the Raja Muda. But hey, that’s yacht racing, as the saying goes. We choose to involve ourselves in one of the most weather-dependent sporting activities of them all, so we shouldn’t moan when the Aeolus takes a holiday. Wind is not an on-demand commodity.

It was a great delight to have the Raja Muda of Selangor in attendance at this regatta. OK, so it was his father who was the Raja Muda that gave his title to the regatta in the first place, but that’s not the point. Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Tengku Amir Shah ibni Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Al-Haj, Raja Muda Selangor, sailed on board Lee Seng Huang’s Scallywag Fuku bld, an ORMA 60 trimaran, competing nominally against Angela, Goran Andersson’s Antrim 40.

It’s some sort of bug, this regatta. An obsession, or maybe even a mild addiction. Total elapsed time, distance covered, and the unstable nature of Malaysia’s west coast weather mean that the chances of a straight-through run of bang-on perfect breeze for the whole regatta is probably never going to happen. Or to put it the other way round, there’s always going to be a flat spot, or a big blow (and possibly both) somewhere along the track. Maybe it’s the uncertainty that makes the whole thing attractive. Like we said before it started – “exciting, frustrating, and exhausting.” Congratulations to all the winners, and looking forward to seeing you on the start line in 2019 for the 30th anniversary edition of the Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta!

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