Bring on the 22nd Western Circuit racing action…
By AsianYachting MultiMedia
August 16th 2019, Raffles Marina, Singapore: The long running Western Circuit is ready for the 22nd edition, with over 90 sailing craft lining up in multiple classes, for Singapore’s premier racing event. Organised by the Singapore Management University and Raffles Marina the big boat classes consist of keelboats, multihull’s, SB20’s, PY and J24’s, are joined by Access 2.3’s for disabled sailors, plus seven men’s and women Windsurfing classes, over two weekends (Aug 17, 18 & 24), for the annual sailing bonanza. Each year the SMU organising team is brimming full of youthful enthusiasm and combined with Raffles Marina excellent facilities, have built a reputation for lively fleet racing and fun filled post race parties. Up for grabs this weekend is, the SMU President’s Cup, SB20 International Cup and the Inter-Tertiary Windsurfing Championship (ITWC) 2019 titles.
This time of the year, sailors can expect prevailing SW Monsoon trade winds but the early forecast, is for a mid teen South Easterly flow and if it stays true to form, will generate a cross wind in the Western Johor Strait and produce mixed results. Crew skills will be severely tested on demanding short windward-leeward courses and passage races, held in strong tidal currents and will have to sail up to the boats handicap rating, for a chance to stand on the podium.
Good to see familiar faces in most the classes, with some new yachts and others on their ole faithful rides. Only two yachts, Steve Manning and Paul OMalley’s A40 RC Red Rum and Low Chin Nam’s smaller Cork 1720 Xtra Mile fall within the IRC A rating band. They will have their hands full, trying to outdo each other in the handicap stakes.
Five close rivals in the IRC B class, have battled it out for many years, for the illusive title. Kurt Metzger’s Nelson 10 Waka Tere returns to defend the title, for the third time but always faces stiff competition from the two SMU Farr Platu 25’s, SMUve skippered by Tay Wei Jie, Joel, and SMUMAD skippered by Bernice Foo Ling Li. Gordon Maxted’s Young 840 Shoon Fung Too and Simon Piff’s Lavranos 34 Rainbow Dream have shared the silverware before and are very capable of securing victory, in the right conditions.
The ten entries in the PY Class, range dramatically in size and performance. Defending champion John Boers Holland 44 Sangaree is back to retain the title. The size ranges from Genevieve Chase’s Beneteau Oceanis 50 Sea Monster to Michael Chung’s Sonar 7m Brio. Scottz Lip’s Maxi 77 Ambindi, Koh Yi Qian’s Platu 25 Boreas, Luca A.G Van Maarschalkerweerd’s X-342 Minx are also on the small size but big on performance. Other challengers will come from the heavier displacement yachts in the mid field, Michael Teo’s Olson 911SE Arbudhen, James Sharpe’s Moody 365 Southern Light and Glen O’Grady’s Waquiez Pilot Saloon 40 Windancer will keep the arbitrary handicapper busy. The vagaries of the wind, suits different boats, so anything can happen and usually does.
All the yacht clubs and sailing associations in Singapore, have sent representatives to compete. The entire Singapore Sailing Federation SB20 fleet, have been chartered and are coming up against the individually owned Raffles Marina fleet. Eighteen nippy SB20’s, are solely responsible for the growth in the big boat sailing scene and the logical stepping stone, after their dinghy days are over. Some of the favourites for the SB20 International Cup this weekend are, Anthony Kiong’s SSF 4 (Team Echol), Jonathan Yeo’s Walababy (NUS 1), Clement Lim Hao Yang SSF 8, Magnus Ekbom’s Tara (Team Hang Loose) and Fischer Christian’s Sea U Later are fending off International challenges from the UK, Australia and Europe before they can take the title home.
Four J24 teams from SMU, NUS and the Changi Sailing Club are contesting the one design class. Zaheera Hashim’s Balqis returns to defend the title and expects a spirited fight from Faith Koo Hui Qi’s Shengli, Chung Pei Quan’s Quarterdeck and Dillion How’s RSYC Dua.
Five Multihull’s have come around from the Changi Sailing Club to contest the title. Despite Deborah Barker’s Dash 750 Abra Ca Deborah Too and sister ship The Dash helmed by Campbell Jenkins, being double champions and taking flight again, all eyes will be on 92 year old Michael Chia’s brand new Corsair 970 Sports Buay Kao La making its debut. They are all capable of exceptional bursts of speed in the gusts, as they come up against the clock, in the handicap stakes.
Forty seven sailors in seven Windsurfing classes, divided by sail area and design, are in a competition between students from different schools in Singapore, for the Inter-Tertiary Windsurfing Championship (ITWC) 2018 titles.
Rounding out the numbers is a competitive fleet of Access 2.3’s for disabled sailors. A charity auction will be held at the gala presentation dinner next weekend, to raise funds for Sailability Singapore. The main aim of the auction, is to enrich the lives of people living with physical disabilities.
If your in Singapore and looking for some thrills and spills over the next two weekends, take a drive or MRT out to Raffles Marina in Tuas and claim a spot on the breakwater overlooking the courses.
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