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Neptune five and we're still alive...
By AsianYachting MultiMedia
18:02:2015 On a bright and sunny day, with an 8 to 10 knot North Easterly blowing, all classes set off on the Race to Zero, where uninitiated crew had a meeting with King Neptune and transformed from Slimy Pollywogs to Trusty Shellback's. Although this is the novelty part of the regatta, the sailors still seriously treat it as any other yacht race. Times are taken when they cross the equator finish line and crews can perform the ritual before restarting on the return journey to Neptune Island. The times are combined and the results calculated for each class.

Everything was going fine on the return leg, until a radio call came through from Greg Goodall's Grainger 30 RAW, that they had broken the mast, when a gust from a passing storm cell struck and they were flying along. No one was injured and the damaged mast, sails and boom were retrieved back on deck. Its one of those events where if your feeling bored, just wait a while and something is bound to happen.

On the leg down to the equator the usual suspects topped the score sheets but the gamble when to restart dramatically changed the order. An early restart for Alan Hodges Grainger 30 Kaze 3 in light air hampered their progress, where Clive van Onselen's Dash 750 Dash Boot latter start benefited from the passing storm cell to pip Kaze 3 for the handicap victory. Graham Horn's Corsair Dash Mk II Jaza Too claimed another podium place to stay in the overall running.

Despite Jerry Chase's Beneteau F 52.5 Baby Tonga winning the return leg from the equator, when the elapsed times were combined together, Mick Tilden's Beneteau 44.7 Fujin clocks in with victory in the Premier Cruising Class. The same happened between Vic Nurcombe's Bavaria 56 Sakkara and Stuart Birbeck's Beneteau 47 The Black Rose reversing the order for third and fourth places.

Although Leonid Kovlakov Leopard 39 Nirvana 8 misjudged the finish line, on the way down to the equator and had to unwind themselves, they still managed the best time and second place on the way back, was enough for victory in the Cruising Multihull Class. The raucous behavior at the equator must have stirred John Smith's Fountain Pajot 46 Asha into action to record second place overall. Matt Lutter's Dean 440 Vectis crew concentrated more on the equator festivities and ended up in third place. Gary & Karen Matthews Lagoon 46 Katrianne recorded the best time back from the equator, but their slow journey down leaves them in fourth overall.

In the Cruising Class Daniel Whittington's Ericson 28 WYSIWYG has run out out of time on the first two races, but returned with a vengeance by winning the 'Race to the Equator'. Second place for Glen O'Grady's Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 40 Windancer keeps them in the overall lead, with Ian Dunderdale's luckless Jeanneau 44 Vesper 7 in third.

The Motor Yachts also got into the Spirit of Neptune, with flags flying and dressed in King Neptune outfits for the honourable occasion and transformed uninitiated crew from Slimy Pollywogs to Trusty Shellback's.

Unfortunately just before midnight an unseasonal storm descended on the moored fleet from the South and sent crews scurrying to move their boats around the island or secure their anchor.

Robin Kydd's Oceantalk broke the anchor warp and was pushed onto the reef in front of Neptune Island till morning, when it was refloated. No one was injured but the hull has taken a pounding and propeller damage is suspected.

Taking part in local sampan racing
After all the commotion from last nights storm, the lay day was spent relaxing and an afternoon
tour of the local fishing village on Pulau Blanding that have helped organise facilities at the Neptune Island camp site. An impromptu volleyball match and sampan racing, with foreign crew members bailing and balancing the boat. One boat sunk and some close contact made for an exciting afternoon in front of the whole village turning out in their finery.

More details check out the Neptune Regatta website.
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