blink of the eyelids and you miss out...
05:02:2011 All that remained was two crucial windward/leeward races for the IRC Class and the final Passage Race for the PY Class to get them back to Nongsa Point Marina in time for the gala prize and equator certificate presentation. The sun was up early and blue sky greeted the sailors. Along with 10 to 12 knots North Easterly breeze made it one of the most photographic days of the regatta which has been blessed with good wind all week.
The three boats left in the PY Class upped anchor from the Karas Besar overnight stop and headed home upwind in the Riau Strait. As the headsail on Chris Schuler's Westsail 32 Mico Verde parted company and forced them to retire the race officer decided to shorten the race and call it a day for the remaining yachts. Simon Piff's Lavranos 10.3 Rainbow Dream made it five wins in a row to take the overall PY Class by storm. Although Chris Schuler's Westsail 32 Mico Verde had to retire today they scored well in the early races to hold onto second overall. Daniel Whittington's Ericson 28 WYSIWYG slotted into second place today and after an up and down sort of regatta and as others retired around them to claim third overall.
At the end of racing yesterday the drop race came into play which left David Ross' Kerr 32 Kukukerchu one solitary point in front of Stewart Mclaren's Archambault 35 Men at Work. The race was on in earnest for the inaugural title. Could Kukukerchu go on and extend the lead as they have done before in other events or could Men at Work pull something out of the bag and surprise everyone as they have done already.
At the start of Race 6 Stewart Mclaren tacked Men at Work with 40 seconds to go and let Kukukerchu of the hook. Leading the fleet Sarab Jeet Singh's Sydney 40MOD Windsikher once again misjudged the tide at the bottom mark and got into all sorts of trouble. As they circulated Men at Work trailed Kukukerchu but they both made up significant ground on Windsikher. When they crossed the finish line a cry of joy and high fives all round onboard Men at Work meant they won the race and evened up the overall score.
The start of Race 7 was the closest of all the races to date. No one gave an inch away as the tacking duel began up the first beat. Unmistakably Sarab Jeet Singh's big white spinnaker on Windsikher was the first to hoist and try to get away from the dueling duo behind them. A couple of distractions came when Daniel Whittington's WYSIWYG grounded on the reef leading into Nongsa Point Marina and Drew Gardenier's Buehler 71 Hooliganwas towed all the way from the equator crossed the course. Back to the racing as the boats quickly completed the two rounds and headed for the finish. This time dead silence as the yachts crossed the finish line.
Based on the earlier race everyone knew it was close and after a quick calculation, Stewart Mclaren's Men at Work won the race and inaugural regatta by one second. A blink of an eyelid and David Ross' Kukukerchu missed out and reduced to second overall. Not being able to come up with the goods that won them the Singapore Straits last week, Sarab Jeet Singh's Windsikher settled on third overall. After showing a lot of determination Adriaan Smit's X99 Power Partners finished in fourth overall. With a shortage of crew and not racing the last day Hellmut Schutte's First 45 Aquavit 5 ended up in fifth.
Not to be forgotten are the trials and tribulations the Motor Yachts endured during the event. Drew Gardenier's Buehler 71 Hooligan created history as the first to cross the starting line on Race 1 and for the sake of a 25mm long shaft socket wrench had to be towed back from Neptune Island. 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. James Harris' Sunseeker Manhattan 60 Something Special. with the family onboard had a wonderful outing and will always be remembered by the PY Class for hosting dinner onboard at Karas Besar for the whole fleet after bashing their way back from Neptune Island. This earned them the award for the best achievement and creating the friendliest atmosphere of all the Motor Yachts that participated.
No shortage of advice for future events have been forth coming that have been taken into consideration and will come together in the long run. No pretensions have been made about the event and only serious sailors seeking long distance endurance sailing should look at entering. The event centers around the equator crossing and should be held in high regard as the unique fun feature of the event. The families that have participated have taken immense pleasure in participating, whether it is on a sailing boat or motor yacht. Not enough praise and congratulations can be thrusted on the organisers for coming up with something new and unique in a long time that should have a bright future after the word gets around. The winners will go down in history and AsianYachting is very proud to be involved in the ground breaking exercise and will encourage yachties with fun filled ambitions to participate in something new and unique.
Full details check out the Neptune Regatta website.
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