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2015 RMSIR set to welcome old friend and new faces
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2015 RMSIR set to welcome old friend and new faces
2015 RMSIR set to welcome old friend and new faces

2015 RMSIR set to welcome old friend and new facesThis year's Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta (RMSIR) will see the absence of a few familiar faces but the return of an old friend – skipper Amir Zohri Abdul Rahim.

Amir and his Gotcha crew who sailed into the history books in 1999 became they became the first Malaysian team to emerge victorious in the 10th RMSIR. Amir credits the win to them having prepared themselves years ahead by sailing and racing non-stop to develop the necessary skills and gain valuable experience. This year, Amir will be sailing in Class 4.

The proposed addition of a TP52 class as a subgroup in Class 1 in this year's event may see some of the racing yachts which are taking part in the biennial Hong Kong to Vietnam Race in October move on to the 2015 RMSIR. The number of TP52s in the region has been growing over the years so there is a chance that the RMSIR will see some TP52 action.

The RMSIR also welcomes a new sponsor this year – internationally acclaimed sports watch brand Suunto. This partnership follows the tradition of major international regattas, particularly Sydney Hobart, in associating with prestigious timepieces.

"The regatta's world-class ranking, global reputation and proven appeal are in line with Suunto's premier status, as well as our objective of celebrating winning moments. We are proud to be a partner of this exclusive international sporting event," said Benny Lim, General Manager of the Malaysian Suunto distributor.

The brand will be presenting their Suunto Core to some lucky sailors at the RMSIR prize-giving ceremony in Langkawi. The watch is designed to be the yachtsman's ideal companion and its features include a compass, barometer and altimeter with multiple timing functions and weather information. The 26th RMSIR will run from 20 to 28 November 2015. Known for its unpredictable winds, weather and tide, the RMSIR is an exciting sailing regatta which spans a total of 260 miles (418.43km) and provides even the most experienced of sailors with an interesting challenge. Add to that a little bit of sightseeing and fun social events and you have a regatta with everything.

Yachts competing will range from top class IRC1 racers to beautiful classic cruisers with long overhangs dating back over 100 years. Skippers and crew will have to cope with the unpredictable weather, changing tactics and heavy shipping traffic in the Straits of Malacca, all of which make the regatta a matchless experience.

The month of November typically marks the height of the northeast monsoon on Peninsular Malaysia where sailors can expect anything from glassy waters and light breeze to a sea heaving with two metres of swell or higher and 30 knot squalls blowing off the coast. In other words, these northeast monsoon months bring conditions that are challenging enough even for seasoned sailors.

Last year's regatta dealt the fleet a rough start after the flag-off from Port Klang on 15 November 2014 where their passage race to Pangkor saw the boats first being deluged by a major downpour which took the winds with it. The 65-nautical mile (120.38km) second passage race from Pangkor to Langkawi turned out to be a punishing one with the wind disappearing at one point, leaving the fleet parked out in the water for almost five hours. The fleet eventually made it to Penang on some light winds, in one of the slowest passage races (19 hours!) in the regatta's 25-year history.

Mother Nature made up for the earlier lack of winds by throwing in strong ones for the final passage race to Langkawi, which helped all the boats, including the fleet's resident straggler Eveline getting in quickly and in good time. The island hopping regatta will commence in Port Klang, a town located just 42 kilometres from the county's capital Kuala Lumpur. Here crews can do some sightseeing prior to departing on the first overnight passage to the scenic tropical island of Pangkor. Pangkor, with its charming mix of fishing settlements and resorts, will then welcome the sailors in the modern Marina Island Pangkor, where tired crew can simply enjoy the fine local beaches and resort amenities to recuperate from the first leg. A highlight for many skippers is a visit to the world renowned resort of Pangkor Laut located on a separate privately-owned island nearby.

In Penang, the fleet will berth in and around the Straits Quay Marina, which offers a comprehensive mix of retail outlets and attractions – from boutiques to bistros, seafood restaurants to seaside cafes, a promenade and a performing arts centre, coupled with spectacular sea views and a clear sight of the historical George Town skyline. Some skippers reportedly never leave Straits Quay as it provides all they require, including a good choice of bars! On the first evening in port, crew members will compete in a series of fun filled Rickshaw Races around the marina perimeter, with prizes for the winning team.

The RMSIR fleet returns to the upgraded Royal Langkawi Yacht Club this year. The RMSIR race office will be set up there to and the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club now has an expanded marina to allow more ships to berth at the venue. The RMSIR was established in 1990 by the RSYC's Royal Patron, the Sultan of Selangor HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (who was then Raja Muda Selangor) together with Dato' Johan Ariff and Jonathon Muhiudeen. The regatta, which is organised annually by the Royal Selangor Yacht Club (RSYC) in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), celebrated its silver anniversary last year. Registration for the 2015 RMSIR is now open. For more information on the 2015 RMSIR and to download the Notice of Race, log on to www.rmsir.com or www.facebook.com/rmsir.