dares enter King Neptune's domain?
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said "The government will adopt an online system of issuing permits known as the Clearance Approval for Indonesian Territory (CAIT Online) and plans to extend the stay permit for yachts from three months to six months. It is hoped that it will, soon, take only two hours to issue a permit." This will certainly help in future years and may even be the catalyst for organising more events in Indonesia.
Coinciding with Chinese New Year, the large expat sailing community in Asia have extended the holiday to participate in the regatta. Informal festivities kicked off with an entertaining Mount Gay Rum Launch Party held on Friday night at Lime House, a boutique Caribbean Restaurant in Singapore. This sets the crews in the right mood for an island hopping adventure to the equator and frivolities pertaining to being ceremonially inducted into King Neptune's Court.
Seven monohull’s have been divided into IRC Racing, Premier Cruising and Cruising Classes based on their handicaps. Nine Multihull’s have been divided into Racing and Cruising based on their design and performance.
Four Motor Yachts this year (excluding committee boats) show that the Neptune Regatta is continuing with the pioneering work of opening up the Riau archipelago to the pleasure boating world.
The main emphasis is having fun while racing on a yacht to a new tropical destination. Creating a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where boat hopping, living onboard and consuming sumptuous amounts of food and drink is encouraged amongst all the participants.
A fully fledged camp site with all amenities will be set up on Pulau Sikeling (Renamed Neptune Island for the occasion) including BBQ facilities. The Equator Bar will be running non-stop and Mt Gay Rum sundowners for an hour every evening.
On the racing side Alex “Ferret” Voss (Regatta Director) and Jerry Rollin (Principle Race Officer) have introduced new courses. As a consequence of the low class entries, it has been decided the entire fleet will stop over at Pulau Riau (Fishhead Island) before continuing onto Neptune Island for the first of many beach parties.
All classes will contest the Race to Zero where uninitiated crew will meet King Neptune and be transformed from Slimy Pollywogs to Trusty Shellback's.
Regionally the Multihull fleet is going from strength to strength. Defending champion the all carbon Grainger 30 RAW will be in the hands of catamaran champion Greg Goodall, but will have to contend with Alan Hodges sistership Kaze 3 and two Corsair Dash 750's plus the smaller Dash 24 before taking the trophy home again.
After having such a good time, several yachts are making a return appearance. In the Cruising Multihull Class, husband and wife team on Gary & Karen Matthews Lagoon 46 Katrianne are the defending champions, but strong challenges are expected from Matt Lutter's Dean 440 Vectis with the whole family onboard, plus the Russians on Leonid Kovlakov's Leopard 39 Nirvana 8 benefiting from last years experience.
All the Premier Cruising Class yachts are returning for another shot at the title. Victor Nurcombe's Bavaria 56 Sakkara tops the scales, followed by Stuart Birkbeck's Beneteau 47 The Black Rose and expect Ian Dunderdale's Jeanneau 44 Vesper 7 to be nipping on the big boats heels.
Glen OGrady's Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 40 Windancer is built for comfort and Daniel Whittington Ericson 28 WYSIWYG maybe the smallest monohull but can pack a punch in the right conditions.
Only two boats in the IRC Class. Jerry Chase Beneteau F 52.5 Baby Tonga has won here before, but is now under charter, will have to be up to speed, as Mick Tilden's Beneteau 44.7 Fujin were the most improved yacht at the Royal Langkawi Regatta in January and regularly taking podium places in big fleets.
Neptune Regatta is also the seventh point scoring regatta on the annual AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP), where all the skippers and yachts are awarded points based on their overall placing's at the end of the regatta. The score goes towards being crowned the 2014-15 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year. The complete 2014-15 AYGP Rankings, can be viewed by Skipper - Yacht - Regatta - Race Dates and Scoring System.
As we will be out of internet reach for the entire regatta, readers will have to wait till we return from the Equator next weekend, for the full run down on what took place.
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