|Strong Gusts Rule RLIR 2015|
The 13th Royal Langkawi International Regatta (RLIR) 2015 welcomed yachts from around the world to take part in their regatta from 12th to 17th of January. And for the second straight year, good winds welcomed the competitors; ever since organizers moved the regatta back a week the winds have been strong and continuous.
Since its inception in 2003, the RLIR has become a popular event and one of the most-anticipated regattas by the sailing community in the region and beyond. This 13th edition saw 40 entries; 12 from Malaysia, 7 from Great Britain, 5 from Australia, 4 from Thailand, 2 each from Singapore and Russia, and 1 each from Austria, Denmark, China, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand and Japan, as well as 1 with dual Great Britain and Australian registration.
Many of the RLIR regulars returned to Langkawi, including My Toy, Foxy Lady VI, Oi!, Jelita of Langkawi, Mata Hari, Eveline and Andaman Cabriolet Nina.
The RLIR 2015 Organizing Chairperson Y.M Tunku Soraya Dakhlah binti Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah said, "I was thrilled to welcome back many familiar faces. Many of us crossed paths at our first regatta in 2003 and have remained friends since. We are also pleased to welcome many new faces, joining us for the very first time. This is an indication that our regatta is gaining more recognition and attracting more competitive sailing teams from around the world to Langkawi."
Making their debut at the RLIR 2015 were Alakaluff, Umineko, VG Offshore, Easy & Free, Island Fling and Invictus Reward. Teams competed for the Prime Minister's Challenge Trophy – for Racing Class yachts; the Commodore's Challenge Cup – for participants of club-registered cruisers; the LADA-IRC Challenge Trophy – for participants in the IRC 1 Class; the Langkawi Sports Trophy – for participants in the Sports Boat Class and the Malaysian Multihull Challenge Cup – for participants in the Multihull category.
The Racing class yachts were Peter Ahern's Oi! and three boats from the Royal Malaysian Navy – Zuhal, Zurah and Utarid. Foxy Lady VI and Island Fling were the two to watch out for in the IRC-1 class while the IRC 2 boats include Phoenix, Mata Hari and Skybird.
The SMU team from Singapore, Siput, Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and the Malaysia Sailing Association (MSA) team were some of the Sport Boats to keep an eye on, while the Multihulls on course were Andaman Cabriolet Nina, Umineko, Galeforce and 2Fast4 You. The Club Class was divided into Club Cruising, while Ocean Rovers and White Sails were combined.Folding Sail
The regatta drew to a close after five days of gusting winds and choppy seas raced along the harbor and coastal courses.
Oi! skippered by Peter Ahern of Australia blew the competition away with 10 straight wins in the Racing Class to take her second Prime Minister's Challenge Trophy. Ahern won the Prime Minister's Challenge Trophy in the first three RLIRs with his previous boat, Yo!
"This regatta has always been one of our favourites and I can see it only getting better. That's because it's about the quality of the races rather than the number of participants," said Ahern.
Oi! won the regatta's Round-the-Island race, missing the record set by Frank Pong's RP75 Jelik last year by 15 minutes. The 28-nautical mile course encompasses all points of sailing, and has been described as very enjoyable and a good break from the windward/leeward courses that tend to dominate regattas these days. Due to the gusting winds, and damage the Sportsboats suffered early on they raced three inshore races in Bass Harbour instead of going out for the long sail.
Bill Bremner's crew on Foxy Lady VI defended their LADA-IRC Challenge Trophy in the IRC Class, winning eight of their 10 races, while RSYC Setia West secured the Langkawi Sports Trophy after a week of intense competition within the Sports Boat Class.
"We had some competition from Island Fling and Fujin but I think it came down to our crew and how solid they are in any condition so it's been a fantastic week," said Foxy Lady Vl's Bremner.
Andaman Cabriolet Nina outclassed its competitors to take the Malaysian Multihull Challenge Cup and Club Cruiser Sophia's steady performance throughout the regatta gave her the RLYC Commodore's Challenge Cup.
In the Ocean Rovers Class which is split into two groups, My Toy topped Group A and Chantique took the win in Group B after a total of eight races.
Apart from the competition, participants were treated to a series of social events throughout the week of the regatta beginning with the Official Opening Ceremony dinner on 13 January and culminating with the Closing Ceremony party on 17 January.
Andaman Cabriolet Nina and its skipper Grenville Fordham were awarded the Tunku Abdullah Sportsmanship Award, voted for by all participants for competitiveness, fair racing and comradeship, on water and land. The Award honours the memory of the late Founding Chairman and the first Commodore of the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club (RLYC), Almarhum Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
"Congratulations to the winners and participants for making this a successful regatta. I also offer my gratitude the Ministry of Tourism and Culture for their continued support throughout the years, and to our sponsors as our success is due to their support," said Y.M. Tunku Dato' Yaacob Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah, Commodore of the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club.
Y.A Bhg. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia and Patron of the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, graced the Closing Ceremony dinner and presented the trophies to the winners of the Prime Minister's Challenge, the Langkawi Sports Class, the Malaysia Multihull Challenge, RLYC Commodore's Challenge and the Tunku Abdullah Sportsmanship Award.
The LADA-IRC Class Trophy was presented by Y. Bhg. Tan Sri Khalid Ramli, the Chief Executive Officer of the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA).
The Overall Class Prizes were presented by Y. Bhg. Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, representing the Minister of Tourism & Culture Malaysia.
The Royal Langkawi International Regatta (RLIR) 2015 is organized by the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club (RLYC) and sanctioned by the ISAF and Malaysian Sailing Association (MSA), and supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Malaysia. The RLIR is part of the Asian Yachting Circuit.
PHUKET sailors dominated the Multihull class in blustery conditions at the Royal Langkawi International Regatta this week to claim the top two podium positions in the division.
Grenville Fordham and Bob Mott coskippered Andaman Cabriolet Nina well in winds of up to 25 knots to claim overall honors in the Multihull class. Nina is a regular in the Ao Chalong Yacht Club (ACYC) race series and winner of the ACYC 2014 series.
"We've won this regatta before, but this time was the most satisfying," Fordham told the Phuket Gazette after his return to Phuket.
"The competition was tough and, for the first time, we were scored on a performance-handicap system – which meant that every time we did well our handicap got worse! As a rule of thumb, the winner under this system is the boat that improves most over the series, so big thanks to our crew for their hard work. The final positions were decided on the last day, so there was no chance to ease up along the way."
Racing in 28-30 knots of apparent wind, a sudden big gust lifted Nina's starboard hull high out of the water, he reported.
"We were sure we were going over, but quick action by the crew fortunately got her safely down again," Fordham said. "This may be par for the course on a small racing catamaran, but it's scary for a 38-foot liveaboard yacht.
"After calculations, we estimate that our hull-flying adventure had the starboard hull at approximately 30 degrees, putting it almost three meters – half our beam – out of the water. It was a true 'brown trouser' moment for yours truly on both helm and main sheet/traveller!"
The near-capsize was a first for Nina, Fordham noted, but added that another "first" for Nina was, in retrospect, more amusing. "Having been forced onto the windward mark at the last rounding, the buoy got stuck under our bridge deck and was unmovable," he recalled.
"The race officer announced to the whole fleet of 40 yachts: 'Your windward mark is now the green catamaran Nina.' "It will take a while to live that one down…"
Nina's nearest rival was another Phuket boat and ACYC regular racer, Kirill Stashevskly's stealth catamaran GaleForce, which placed second in the class. Fellow Phuket sailor Niels Degenkolw on Phoenix, based at Yacht Haven at the north of the island, also raced well in the strong winds to place third in IRC 2, which was won by Malaysian boat Mata Hari.
Another ACYC regular, Patinyakorn "Ging" Buranrom on Sansiri Windstar, placed sixth in the class.