Making a remarkable comeback from hip replacement surgery, Neil Pryde and his team Hi Fi finally won their first Royal Langkawi International Regatta, the only major event that had eluded them on Captain Marty's Asian Yachting circuit. Forty yachts in ten classes participated in this annual yachting event, which commenced in 2003 in the mystical islands of Langkawi, well known for their duty-free status. Besides Pryde, well-known yachtsmen like recent King's Cup winner Frank Pong and his team Jelik, Ben Copley of SY Katsu,
the Royal Malaysian Navy, Dato Richard Curtis of SY Eveline, Jeremy Camps of SY Cabaret 6, and Jeff Harris of Nijinsky all participated. Countries represented included Thailand, Malaysia, Denmark, the UK, Australia, Japan, Singapore, China (Hong Kong), New Zealand, Holland, France & Germany. The RLIR 2013 was preceded by a curtain raiser, the Ao Chalong-Langkawi "Champagne Run", an overnight sailing race that left Ao Chalong Yacht Club (ACYC) on January 5th and entered Telaga Habour in Langkawi the next day. Captain Marty's Preview
This regatta is firmly established on the Asian racing calendar and has the pleasure of kicking off the New Year in grand style. The underlying aim has always been to provide competitive and enjoyable racing for all crews, irrespective of the design or vintage of their yacht. A "White Sails" class was added this year, to attract more cruising boats that would not normally race but want to join in the competitive spirit and active social activities. Neil Pryde made a welcome return after hip replacement surgery and was determined to win this regatta, as it is one of the events that has eluded his Hi Fi Team all these years. Only three skippers have ever won the Racing Class in its 10-year-history (Peter Ahern, Ray Roberts & Marcus Blackmore) and for someone as competitive as Pryde, being the bridesmaid can get under the skin and he will never rest until the Prime Minister's Challenge Trophy is placed on his mantlepiece. However, they won't have it all their own way and have to overcome Frank Pong's 75ft Reichel Pugh Jelik, that bagged the last King's Cup and is extremely pleased with the modifications made to the yacht. Joining them is Steve Manning's Sydney GTS 43 Walawala 2 and Ben Copley's RP45 Katsu, quite capable of ruining the big boat party. The two Malaysian Armed Forces DK 47's Uranus (Mohd Razali Mansur) andUtarid (Ishak bin Jab) have undergone an extensive training regime and have shown a remarkable turn of speed to mount a formidable challenge.
Smaller IRC yachts will be divided into two classes based on size and rating bands and competing for the LADA-IRC Challenge Trophy. The Royal Selangor Yacht Club have arrived in force with Jeremy Camps Pele Peterson 10.7 Cabaret 6, Jeff Harris J 92 S Nijinsky and John Kara's Dehler 10.6m Skybird reopening old rivalries and all aiming to get the better of Niels Degenkolw's evergreen IOR 3/4 Ton Xyacht Phoenix that is the defending champion. Down from Phuket, Rob Azzopardi's Beneteau Oceanis 423 Dreamtime and Clive Manning's Sunsail Rattana will be taking on James Wylie's Sun Odyssey 45.2 Carrioca and Wayne Bateman's Morakot all the way from the Darwin Sailing Club in the IRC 2 class are expected to have a ding dong battle. The Regatta Technical Chairman, Ahmad Zailani Bashah (Zak) was pleased to see more yachts participate in the regatta this year, which is part of the Asian Yachting Circuit. "Langkawi is known as a world-class sailing venue with excellent warm weather, good wind conditions and tropical waters," Zak said. "The wind speed in January always fluctuates between 8 - 20 knots and we are sure these wind conditions will continue. The Kuah Harbour race and Coastal race always provides two different scenarios for sailors. We have strong wind conditions with flat waters in Kuah Harbour, as well as strong wind conditions with choppy waters in Coastal areas. All participants can look forward to a challenging and fascinating sailing experience."
Five one design Platu 25s will compete for the Langkawi Sports Trophy and it is shaping up to be a battle of the United Nations. From Australia, the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron will be taking on Calvin Lim's Singapore Management University (SMU) and coming up against the formidable Royal Malaysian Navy that have won here before. The Malaysian Yachting Association (MYA) and Royal Selangor Yacht Club are fielding teams that are honing their skills for the up and coming match racing circuit. There was also trophies for the under 25 age group.
Four very different multihulls will compete for the Malaysian Multihull Challenge Cup. Andrew Stransky's Seven Seas 50 Fantasia and Peter Wilcox's Schionning Gforce 1500 Mojo fought close battles during the Raja Muda and King's Cup with Mojo coming out on top on both occasions. Stransky's Fantasia is the reigning RLIR champion and not likely to hand over the title without a fight. Grenville Fordham's 11.6m Andaman Cabriolet Niña has won here two times before and although they will be facing some stiff competition, they intend on giving the big boats a run for their money. One must not discount David Liddell's Corsair C37RS Miss Saigon, that has a number of victories to their credit and given the right conditions are capable of victory.
A mixture of past winners and old favourites are fronting up in the Club Cruiser, Ocean Rover and the new White Sails classes. They will be vying for the RLYC Commodore's Cup. Charles Hay's Jeanneau 45 Smystery is the defending champion after a last race showdown with Nick Smith's Ericson 38 Free Wind that hopes to turn the table this year. Gavin Welman's Hallberg-Rassy 53 Rascal and Morten Ringvold's Sun Odyssey 37 Haffiman are always in the running. Japan's Yasuto Fuda Dehler 38 Fortissimo 8 and Adale's Oyster 55 Chantique skippered by Hakim A. Klunker are in with a chance if they can produce some consistency.
Old favourites in the Ocean Rover class include Richard Curtis' 100-year-old Bristol Pilot Cutter Eveline and Simon Morris' Staysail Schooner Sirius going head to head with Tropical Charters Warisan Duyong. In the new White Sails class, past divisional winners Henning Lenz 10.36m My Toy and Kevan Perrins Holman and Pye 13.10m Rusalka are up against Kevin Gillow's S&S 34 Poco, Germany's Hans Rudolph Roth's Island Packet IP45 Slow Motion and Graham Tuckey's Optoloi. The Premier Cruising class has been scraped as only one boat signed on and some boats have changed classes. The most notable being Peter Sorensen's chartered Beneteau F53 Baby Tonga, which was bumped up to the Racing Class giving it seven participants. Captain Marty's Summary
After ten attempts, Neil Pryde finally broke the drought by winning the Prime Minister's Challenge Trophy. Having put together an insurmountable lead, his team went out on the last day knowing what they had to do and then executed the plan to perfection by winning the first race. They did not have to compete in the final race as the trophy was already in the bag. This is the only major regatta that has eluded Neil Pryde all these years on the Asian circuit and the haunting ghost can finally be put to rest. Not too shabby after six months recovering from hip replacement surgery and being the first regatta for the team is a great way to open their account in this season's AYGP Championship.
The rest of the racing class was fighting over the minor podium placings. Steve Manning's Sydney GTS 43 Walawala 2 had a chance of overtaking Frank Pong's Jelik for second place but both scored second and fourth places on the last day to negate any advances and settled on second and third places, respectively. The Malaysian Armed Forces DK 47 Uranus skippered by Mohd Razali Mansur became the big mover and shaker by winning the last race to leap frog their Navy counterparts Utarid (Ishak bin Jab) for fourth place.
Two more wins for Niels Degenkolw's IOR 3/4 Ton Xyacht Phoenix, paved the way for them to complete a clean sweep in the IRC 1 class and take home the LADA-IRC Challenge Trophy for the third year in a row.
Despite John Kara's Dehler 10.6m Skybird scoring two second places on the final day, Jeff Harris J92S Nijinsky hung onto second overall by the skin of their teeth leaving Skybird in third.
Calvin Lim's Singapore Management University (SMU) won the lengthy final race on the last day but could not improve on third overall. Second place for Mohd Masyuri's ATM sealed the deal in the Sportsboat Class and they retained the Langkawi Sports Trophy for the second year in succession. Mohd. Faizal MYA/KFC never finished worse than third place but failed to get the better of Masyuri's ATM on most occasions and eventually had to settle on second overall.
As a consolation prize, Mohd. Faizal MYA/KFC won the Under 25 class, followed by Calvin Lim's Singapore Management University (SMU) with Alister Rankin's Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in third.
A good tactical decision by Grenville Fordham's 11.6m Andaman Cabriolet Niña allowed them to win the first race on the final day, but it came a little late in the proceedings to make a difference. Then Peter Wilcox's Schionning Gforce 1500 Mojo slammed home their fifth win of the regatta to run away with the Malaysian Multihull Challenge Cup on their first attempt. With a 2, 3, scoreline Andrew Stransky's defending champion Fantasia held onto second overall but reluctantly handed over the title to Mojo. David Liddell's Corsair C37RS Miss Saigon had been up and down the order to finish up in third overall with Grenville Fordham's 11.6m Andaman Cabriolet Niña settling in fourth. Five wins for Malcolm Hone's Prima Donna gave them the Multihull Premier class by a healthy margin. George Kettering's Vertical Time and Greg McMaster's Ivory Street juggled the places to end up second and third, respectively.
Six wins in a row for Rob Azzopardi's Beneteau Oceanis 423 Dreamtime made it a clean sweep in the Bareboat Class. Wayne Bateman's Marakot followed suite with all second places and Clive Manning's Sunsail Rattana rounded out the order with all the third place finishes.
Despite the first race disqualification, Japan's Yasuto Fuda Dehler 38 Fortissimo 8 went out on the last day and won the race to cement their place in the Club Cruiser class and for the first time etch their name on the RLYC Commodore's Cup. A running battle developed at the top of the order with the podium places being juggled each day. Second place for Kevin Gillow's S&S 30 Poco secured third overall after leading the pack for the first few days. Although Henning Lenz 10.36m My Toy finished a little under one hour after the first boat, they scored third place on the final day, which was enough to rebound back into second overall.
The battle grounds were drawn early and all bets placed before the final race started in the Ocean Rover class. Simon Morris' Staysail Schooner Sirius nailed the start line and as Richard Curtis' 100-year-old Bristol Pilot Cutter Eveline started five minutes late, everyone thought they were dead and buried. Things got further complicated when Eveline's spinnaker sock got stuck half-way up and dropped them even further behind. By taking the leeward shore Sirus fell into a hole and miraculously Eveline closed in and gained on the last upwind to finish only eleven minutes behind. After handicaps were applied, in one foul sweep Curtis' Eveline won the race and reigned triumphant in the Ocean Rover class. Tropical Charters/ TC Gerrard's Warisan Duyong were determined to finish and struggled on in the face of adversity to claim third overall. Apart from the hiccup in Race 5, Adale's Oyster 55 Chantique skippered by Hakim A. Klunker were victorious in the remaining five races to win the new White Sails class title on their first attempt. Graham Tuckey's Optoloi has to settle on the bridesmaid position on this auspicious occasion.
This year, the Tunku Abdullah Sportsmanship Award was won by Jeremy Camps and his Pele Peterson 10.7 Cabaret 6 for their sportsmanship qualities and determination shown throughout the regatta. The winner was picked by nominations submitted by the participating skippers and crew each day throughout the regatta. While there were a standard criteria and list of qualities to be looked out for by all participants the winning team was picked on pure sportsmanship qualities and not race results or management.
Once again the wind conditions played a big part in determining the success of the regatta. As this is out of the organizer's jurisdiction the regatta cannot be judged by this alone. The race management took it within their stride to make the best of the situation and somehow completed the full schedule of races. Judging by the late night partying, crews have thoroughly been entertained on and off the water and what a wonderful way to welcome in the New Year. In his closing speech Y.M. Tunku Dato' Ya'Acob (RLYC Commodore) said "There are moves afoot to make this regatta one of the best in the ASEAN region". So mark January 13th-18th 2014 down in the calendar of "Must Do Events" and see you next year. http://www.langkawiregatta.com https://www.facebook.com/langkawiregatta