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Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta 2019: Port Klang to Pangkor

by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia 17 Nov 16:31 PST 16-23 November 2019
Fujin, with HH the Raja Muda on board. Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta 2019. © Guy Nowell / RHKYC

Friday was as miserable as it comes: clagged in and grey, with occasional rain and occasionally lots of rain. “It doesn’t usually look like this” and “you should have been here last week” were the catch phrases around the bar. Saturday morning produced hot blue sunshine but omitted to bring any breeze.

With more than 4kts of tide flowing out of the Klang River, mooring lines were bar-tight along the pontoons, and more than one boat in the fleet left the pontoon with an emergency handbrake turn. The fleet was flushed down river towards the start area, and one hour before the first warning signal at 12.55h there was still no breeze in sight. It rather looked as if a controlled drifting match was about to take place, but deliverance arrived in the shape of a wind line, and RO Simon James fired off the sequence on time. The RMSIR 2019, Edition 30, and with the Raja Muda himself skippering a Beneteau 44.7, Fujin, was under way.

It’s (almost) a straight line on the chart from the Klang start to the finish at Pangkor. This year all classes started from the same line, but there were two finishes; one for Class 1 (IRC Racing) and Class 2 (Premier Cruising), and a shorter course for Class 3 (IRC Cruising), Class 5 (Cruising non-IRC) and Class 6 (Classics). The idea being, of course, to get everyone to Pangkor in a smaller time bracket than has been usual for the last few years. In years gone by all boats finished just outside the entrance to Pasir Bogok, but the last 12nm from the Sembilan Islands are notoriously windless in the early morning – just when the back markers of the fleet are approaching. So give them a shorter course… you know it makes sense.

Boats set off from Port Klang on a close reach heading 320 degrees in 8kts of westerly breeze, and for the first few hours of the race it was a soldier’s course, with the ‘B’ fleet doing a good job of staying in touch with the big boats. If you take a look at the Yellowbrick tracker (http://yb.tl/rajamuda2019#) and run the history button back and forth, the race is clear as crystal. At around 20.00h all boats entered a transition zone, which is a polite way of saying that the wind disappeared for an hour (and more, for some competitors). Antipodes wound back to a mere 0.8kts at one point, and it was a frustrating time for all. But then a land breeze established itself from 050 degrees, and the conveyor belt started all over again, powering everyone up to their respective finishes.

First across the line was Ray Roberts’ Team Hollywood at 23.23h, but the numbers were not so kind to the Men in Red, relegating them to 5th in division on handicap. The two Farr 40s, Ramrod and The Next Factor, the smallest boats in Class 1, match raced their way up the course to finish a scrappy 32 seconds apart, with the class victory going to Rolf Heemskerk’s The Next Factor.

Class 2 is a two-boat race between Geoff Hill’s Antipodes and Doug Sallis’s Colie from Darwin, a Raja Muda first-timer. Antipodes finished 1h 20m in front of Colie, but lost out by 57m on corrected time.

Simon Piff and the crew of Rainbow Dream surprised themselves with a recorded top speed of 9.5kts which is considered to be a new Personal Best. “I think we got a bit of help from the current,” said Piff, modestly. Whatever the motive force involved, it was enough to catapult Rainbow Dream to a first place in Class 3. Elapsed times for Classes 3 and 5 look very much like a VOR finish, with all boats finishing within about 90 minutes – and first place for Class 3 went to Chris Mitchell’s consistently-campaigned Lady Bubbly.

The Classics in Class 6, ranging from the diminutive RMN Marikh, a Contessa 32, up to David McKeown’s splendid Rona, brought up the rear of the pack. Marikh finished first and took the division honours, with Richard Curtis’s Eveline rolling home at 09.07 on Sunday morning for an elapsed time of 21h 07m, wrapping up the fleet action for the first race of the 30th Anniversary edition of the Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta.

Regatta venue in Pangkor this year is the Puteri Bayu Beach Resort, where the management has clearly taken the regatta motto – “May the wind fill your sails and the beer be cold” – to heart, keeping the bar and the beachside restaurant open all night to welcome crews coming ashore at all hours. Trophies will be distributed this evening (Sunday) to the winners of the opening race, and racing re-starts tomorrow at 13.00h with the race to Penang.

More information at www.rmsir.com, and you can access the Yellowbrick tracker from the regatta home page of by going straight to http://yb.tl/rajamuda2019#

Standing by on 72.

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