Thursday, December 9, 2010

Raja Muda 2010

I had been asked months ago to crew on Dato’ Alex Ngah’s Hunter 49 “Virgo” for the Royal Selangor Yacht Club’s Raja Muda race series. This combines 3 offshore and 3 inshore races over a week. The Hunter is as cutter designed for family cruising, which it does extremely well. A/C, microwave, big gen set and 110HP turbo motor, 3 luxury double cabins and 2 heads complete with shower, 700lit water tanks, electric winches etc, she was not designed for super speed, but wow what luxury.

We had 5 on board all old friend bar one who was son of a friend and unfortunately an arrogant know-it-all, which became tiresome in the extreme.

Race day and there was not a breath of air, but eventually set of in a light breeze that lasted the 90km to Pangkor.

We realised a few hours from race time limit we had no hope of making it, so had to pull out and motor in to the new marina at Marina Island Pangkor. A great party and anticipation for a good race to Penang. Not to be with only slightly better winds for this next 90km. This time we were within 7 km of the finish before we realised we would have to have a typhoon up out backside to make it in time and again pulled out. 2 DNF was a bit upsetting.

The next race inshore off Batu Ferringhi again was a drifter and over 2 hours late to start. The only problem with this was the finish time remained the same, so average speed around the circuit increased dramatically. We were only just outside this time having gone well and as fast as we could. Not being able to point well really hurt in this race.
This was soon forgotten with a slap up buffet at the Khoo Konsi with the best Lion dance display I have ever seen…and in light rain.
Next day Penang to Langkawi..with wind. So much so that the race was started 15min early!

While we can’t point, it was enough to hold us on one tack close to shore in a moderate breeze, This we enjoyed and although down wind kept most of our competitors in sight till the storm came in at sunset. With Genoa, staysail and main we had a close fetch in 25-30 knot winds as the sky went black. Up over 9 knots over the ground and loving it…till the clew pulled out of the genoa with a load bang. As no way to keep it furled, (the furling line had ripped out as well) we had to muscle it down and unceremoniously dump it in the luxury cabin. By then the storm passed and we were left to flop about for almost an hour before the wind came back strong on the beam. Up goes the asymmetrical spinnaker and we took off. Really thrilling driving this heavyweight up over 9 knots and reaching 10.4knots across the ground. We actually overtook a couple of yacht lights all converging on the finish and were 50m from the boat in front, 300m from the finish…when the spinnaker halyard snapped and we had a rather large sea anchor. But we were able to retrieve it and under staysail and mail cross only a few boat lengths behind the yacht we had been attempting to overtake.
We had ripped the clew out of the Genoa, pulled the furling line from the roller reefing and lost the clamp, broken the spinnaker halyard and a few lesser problems…so we didn’t sail next day, but got all repaired and ready for the last round islands race.

 Alex wife Cheryl and Gerhards wife Shirlee joined us to cheer us up.

Langkawi has some of the most beautiful islands and not only did we have spectacular scenery, but some fickle, but sailable winds.

Class 1 gets away.
Happily we finished this inshore race also and had great fun racing a Hunter 36 to the finish.
So it was party time at The Royal Langkawi Yacht Club with the Sultan of Selangor enjoying the wonderful night organised by members of the Negri Sembilan Royal family who run the Club.

Next day was shopping day and provisioning for trip back to Pt Klang. After a good sleep in we took off about midday and motor sailed (plus a bit of unsuccessful trolling) for 33 hours back to Pt Klang…in wind!!, doing what this boat really likes to do…fast cruise.

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