Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Raja Muda Races & Langkawi race week

November had the Raja Muda Regatta again sailing from Pt. Klang to Langkawi with a series of three passage races and numerous inshore day races. The series followed on what was once the Malaysian Offshore Series. When the Selangor Yacht Club gained Royal patronage from the then Prince heir or Raja Muda to the Sultanate of Selangor, it became a new series. While the prince is now Sultan, the name sticks.

Some serious boats
2011 series saw good winds for most races and the first leg Pt. Klang to Pangkor Island saw a good race with only a few light patches. Ashore in Pangkor reverted to the Seaview Hotel on Pangkor, as Marina Island is now so popular, that they were unable to house the fleet and only a few lucky ones who booked well ahead could find a birth there. The rest rocked all night in the bay between Pangkor and Pangkor Laut Islands.

Crew member Emy gets into the mood and has his own way with navigation colours
Pangkor to Penang was shorter this year, with the finish the south end of the Island, well upstream of a vicious current that our sailing caravan “Virgo” a Hunter 49, had serious problems with. Festivities ashore in Penang is one reason everyone sails this series. The annual trishaw races followed by the Khoo Kongsi, who always put on a lavish spread in their most unique and staggeringly beautiful compound. Much beer great food and the traditional Lion Dance, which this year I made a very shaky video of for YouTube. The title sort of came out wrong as “Lion dance at Knoo Kongsi” CIMG4392.AVI and I didn’t have the best vantage point sorry.
Inshore race saw light winds till almost the end when a strong wind picked up back markers who romped home.

Our Hunter 49 cutter
Penang to Langkawi usually has a storm, but this time is was a very strong wind which saw most of the fleet of go fast boats struggling, while our caravan loved it and we made a happy second in a race division we are usually way too slow for. The inshore races were again with fair winds and we managed to add a rounding mark that wasn’t in the instructions and so came our usual last.
The Royal Langkawi Yacht Club in the main town of Kuah is a very well set up and most hospitable place…even if the food and beer prices ignore the fact Langkawi is a duty free Island…actually 99 Islands. Sailing around these islands is one of the best experiences a sailor can have. Incredibly beautiful and makes sailing last OK as you spend more time enjoying the scenery.

Some serious money in Langkawi
And so Langkawi Race week in January 2012 got underway and after the first day 2 races around the cans, the race committee asked the question that has vexed us for years…What was a sailing caravan doing is class 1 race division….and so it was politely suggested we join Club Cruising division instead, which we readily agreed to. Suddenly we were in the middle of our class fleet and made racing so much more enjoyable. I only hope future races, the powers keep us in club Cruising. Lets face it the average racer does not have 3 lavish staterooms, 2 heads with 2 showers, microwave, icemaker, giant gen set to run it all, electric winches and the list goes on. We are definitely a cruising cutter. Mind our skipper has spent some serious money upgrading sails for this season and we were able to get much more speed and much higher point out of her, which was most enjoyable.
So sausage and triangle circuits prevailed with one exception being a race around numerous islands. This we had in the bag with a strong wind that really suited us…but then our Scottish navigator added a rounding mark and you guessed it…the same one as last time in the Raja Muda series. Strewth you would think we would learn, and so last again.

“Vega” and “Evelyn”
Sorry about lack of photos, but a few showing boats before the races and the lovely old “Vega” as press boat and still racing the 1910 built Bristol Cutter, the slightly modified “Evelyn” which relished the fresh conditions.

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