dares enter Neptune's waters?
02:02:2011 The IRC Class set off early from Nongsa Point Marina on a long 79nm downwind leg via the Riau Strait and Selat Pengelap to the equator. Simultaneously the PY Class departed the Karas Besar overnight stop and headed downwind for 36nm to the Pulau Buaya finish line and overnight anchorage. The fresh North Easterly wind and following seas saw the yachts catching the occasional wave and make good time despite the adverse swirling current in the narrow passages between the islands. By sunset the PY Class and Motor Yachts were finished and safely anchored in the calm waters behind Pulau Buaya.
Simon Piff's Lavranos 10.3 Rainbow Dream again took line honours in the PY Class and this time converted it over to a handicap win. A slight adjustment to the previous days handicap saw Chris Schuler's Westsail 32 Mico Verde finish up in second place and share the overall lead with Rainbow Dream. Simon Morris classic staysail schooner Sirius 1935 stays steady by posting another third place. After not finishing the first race Daniel Whittington's Ericson 28 WYSIWYG was back at it again and despite the blown spinnaker managed to finish up in fourth place.
As the leading IRC yachts passed through the last group of islands and had 10nm of open water to get to the finish line, the clouds opened up and King Neptune welcomed them to the equator with an almighty heavy downpour. Finishing in the dark Sarab Jeet Singh's Sydney 40MOD Windsikher made history by being first across the finish line after 10 hours 44 minutes of racing. Hellmut Schutte's First 45 Aquavit 5 stretched their legs to claim second place over the line. Never far behind Stewart Mclaren's Archambault 35 Men at Work sailed across in third place and after handicaps have been applied scored first place in the inaugural Equator race. David Ross' Kerr 32 Kukukerchu corrected out in second with Singh's Windsikher being relegated to third place. Adriaan Smit's X99 Power Partners was a blip on the horizon when the leaders finished and crossed the line two hours latter for fifth place.
After electrical problems forced them back to Singapore for repairs, Madhupati Singhania's Pershing 80 M.Y. Mantra made a grand entrance buzzing past the escort vessel half way down the course at 40 plus knots covered in a cloud of spray.
The shore team led by Tudor John, two Royal Marines and the Pulau Blanding fishing villagers spent the last four days erecting a tent village on Pulau Sikeling (Now renamed Neptune Island) with barbeque and bar facilities. Once the yachts were safely anchored behind Pulau Buaya the fishing boats were drafted into ferry service transferring the crews to Neptune Island for food and drinks plus accommodation for the night. The islanders arrived in droves and preformed cultural dances and welcomed the sailors to join in. It was a long night and much speculation about the official equator activities tomorrow were the subject of conversation.
Slimy Pollywogs to Trusty Shellbacks
03:02:2011 The equator sprint for all classes. Ten mile spinnaker run down to the equator, finish on the port side of the mighty 20m cutter rigged ketch El Oro, time to perform the King Neptune rituals, then individually restart when your ready on the starboard side for a 10 mile beat back to the finish was the order of the day. Once again the 10-12 knot North Easterly provided great sailing conditions and sunny blue sky a wonderful backdrop for this auspicious occasion.
The Indonesian warship Kiri Kala Hitam has provided an escort for the fleet right from the very start and stood by to watch the antics the foreign sailors get up to in their waters.
When securely anchored King Neptune (played by none other than the editor) appeared suitably dressed from the El Oro companion way and ably assisted by Davy Jones (Guy Nowell) carrying a bucket of Neptune's bloody concoction, demanded an audience with Capt Simon Blundell and crew for sailing his yacht into equatorial waters. Eight crew members were identified as slimy pollywogs because they have never crossed the equator by ship before.
Individually Lwin Tun, Nyo Sai, Suzzy Rayment, Prakash Reddy, Miss Indo Christine, Amy Fong, Asher Sernack and William Schick were summonsed to appear in front of King Neptune and answer for their wrong doing. Once pronounced guilty they had to swallow some of Neptune's concoction and stand in line for the dousing initiation to become trusty shellback's. Just as all the shenanigans was completed the yachts started streaming across the finish line and starting their own equator ceremony.
In the IRC Class Stewart Mclaren's Archambault 35 Men at Work made it a double equator race victory by winning the long race yesterday and today's sprint. With a combined time of 3 hours 11 minutes Sarab Jeet Singh's Sydney 40MOD Windsikher posted the fastest time and climbs the ladder one rung to secure second place. Third place for David Ross' Kerr 32 Kukukerchu hands the overall lead over to Men at Work by one point.
Simon Piff's Lavranos 10.3 Rainbow Dream scored their second win in as many days to secure top spot in the PY Class. Daniel Whittington's Ericson 28 WYSIWYG jumped up a few notches to take second place and the poor upwind performance by Chris Schuler's Westsail 32 Mico Verde sees them slip down to third place.
The power boats continue to participate in a round about sort of way and are enjoying the experience to give their boats a lengthy run.
Then it was back to Neptune Island where seemingly the whole Pulau Blanding community turned out in their finery and once again preformed cultural dances and welcomed the sailors to the region. I'm still not sure whether the islanders holding the foreigners and their fancy yachts in awe, outweighs the amazement we have of simple village life existing in this modern day and age.
long beat back...
04:02:2011 The IRC Class faced a 79nm beat to windward all the way back to Nongsa Point Marina. For the PY Class the trip back was broken into two stages and first up the 36nm leg and overnight stopover at Karas Besar. For most the PY yachts the prospect of beating to windward is a very daunting task, so the majority resorted to using the motor and withdrew from the race. Simon Piff's Lavranos 10.3 Rainbow Dream was the only boat to sail all the way and finish within the time limit to extend their overall lead to an unbeatable position with one race remaining.
Despite the long beat back, Sarab Jeet Singh's Sydney 40MOD Windsikher took only six minutes longer than the run down to the equator during Race 3. The favourable current up to 2 knots would have been the helpfull factor. As David Ross' Kerr 32 Kukukerchu finished only 30 minutes behind Windsikher this lifted the smaller boat up into first place on handicap. Stewart Mclaren's Archambault 35 Men at Work stayed within striking distance of the leaders and slotted into second place relegating Windsikher down to third place.
This result ties Men at Work and Kukukerchu on the top of the overall pointscore which will be decided during the final two windward/leeward races tomorrow.
Full details check out the Neptune Regatta website.
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