Luck of the draw on Leg 2 to Pinang
Then it started again, judging time and distance to the downwind starting line, as crews struggled with spinnaker hoists and boat speed in the adverse current. Most boats were well back from the line, when the starting horn sounded, except for Ray Roberts TP52 Millenium Racing and Troy Yaw’s all Malaysian crew on TP52 Ulumulu nailing it at the committee boat end and Ulumulu charging through, fully powered up to take the lead.
Like a racing greyhound, Philip Turner’s Reichel-Pugh 66 Alive, skippered by Duncan Hine, jumped into the lead and chose to sail directly into the current, while the dueling 52 footers gybed for shallower inshore waters. Hard to judge who gained from the split. After a slow start, Leg 1 winner Sarab Singh’s Welbourn 52 Windsikher II, made their way past Ulumulu and Millenium Racing. Also taking the direct route, Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth’s under crewed Sydney GTS 43 EFG Mandrake and the Royal Malaysian Navy DK 47 Uranus skippered by Norhafisam Ahmad, enjoyed the extra pressure offshore and were holding onto their own, in the mixed fleet.
Talking with the skippers at the Pangkor stopover, they all agreed there is a certain element of luck, when it comes to winning these passage races. The bewitching hours, come in the late afternoon and early hours of the morning, as the storm builds overland and land breeze descends on the fleet, usually when the class leaders have about 15 miles to go. This could be beneficial or detrimental, depending on where the wind comes from and where the yacht is placed. The big boat skippers are complaining about the numerous fishing nets strewn across their path, after passing the Kra Bank and heading for the finish.
Turner’s Alive completed the 65nm course in 7hrs 3min 54 seconds, over an hour in front of the next boat. Taking all the scenarios above into account, when the number crunching took place, its Nick Burns/Fred Kinmonth’s EFG Mandrake taking the win and the overall lead in IRC 1. Putting to bed the notion, that they haven’t a chance against the 52 footers in this class. Steve Manning’s Ker 42 Black Baza, slotted into second place, making it a small boat race, in front of Alive holding onto third place.
Geoff Hill’s heavy displacement Smith 72 Antipodes charged down the middle of the course and continued with their winning momentum in the Premier Cruising Class. Andrew Cocks Simonis Voogd 56 Starlight finished 25 minutes adrift and although having a smaller IRC Rating, not close enough to eclipse Antipodes in the handicap stakes.
There is no stopping Gordon Ketelbey’s syndicated Beneteau 44.7 Fujin from winning the IRC 3 class. They finished almost an hour in front of the next boat and keep their race winning streak over the last two years in tact. Chris Furness’ Elan 410 Rikki Tikki Tavi is bumped up into second place as John Kara’s newly acquired Beneteau First 45 Insanity is relegated to third place. From then on, the after midnight syndrome set in and the remaining boats took another two hours to finish, dropping them down the overall order.
Once again, Jeff Harris’ J 92S Nijinski claimed line honours by 18 minutes in the IRC 4 Class, only to be bettered by Pete Waa’s chartered Farr 1104 Farrgo Express again, in the handicap stakes. Finishing over five hours off the pace, leaves Jeremy Camps Hunter Impala Old Pulteney Blue Angel struggling in third place, in the three boat class.
Defending champion Philip Auger’s Davidson 35 Sophia again showed the Cruising Class a clean pair of heels, finishing well over three hours in front of the next boat. Only a little over a minute separated, Leslie Sharpe’s Moody 376 Southern Light and Chris Mitchell’s Naut 40 Lady Bubbly, but when the IRC Ratings were applied, the positions are reversed.
As the Royal Malaysian Navy HQ is near Pangkor, they are very familiar with this stretch of water. Top Malaysian match racing skipper, Masyuri Rahamat guided the navy’s Contesa 32 Marikh to line honours in Class 6. Thirteen minutes latter, Barry Wickett’s Slipper 42 Kay Sira crossed the line and Simon Read’s Beneteau 350 Aeolus XC was only nine minutes behind them. They all had to wait till 1:30 this afternoon for Dato Richard Curtis’ 100 year old Bristol Pilot Cutter Eveline, skippered by Trevor Richards to finish before the final results could be released. Despite finishing almost four hours behind Marikh they corrected out in first place, with almost an hour to spare and relegated everyone one rung down the ladder.
This afternoon is the press conference with regatta sponsors and Pinang government officials, is followed by the famous rick shaw races at the Straits Quay Marina, that are hosting the Pinang stop over. Tomorrow racing resumes with the Pinang Harbour races. Many skippers are expecting an improvement, as the conditions are usually the same for all competitors, around the short courses.
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