Neptune awaits the fleet at the equator...
It's also a good excuse for expats to escape the hustle and bustle on the roads, over the Chinese New Year break. On the racing side Alex “Ferret” Voss (Regatta Director) and Jerry Rollin (Principle Race Officer) have preformed several tweaks to the program this year. Starting a day earlier with the welcome party at Nongsa Marina and a new 75nm Leg 1 race, for the IRC and Multihull Racing classes to Fish Head Island, around the north side of Bintan. The cruising classes will continue with the traditional route down the Riau Strait between Batam and Bintan.
An all-tide dingy pontoon and 10 huts are being built on the south side of Neptune Island are designed to make the 4-day equator experience more accessible and comfortable.
Judging by the weather reports, the North Easterly will be very active (20-25knots) for most of the week and fading for the return windward journey. This will provide crews with a downwind sleigh ride, on the island hopping adventure to the equator and the frivolities pertaining to being ceremonially inducted into King Neptune's Court, a very memorable occasion.
Eight monohull’s are divided into IRC Racing and Cruising Classes based on their handicaps. Seven Multihull’s are divided into Racing and Cruising based on their design and performance.
Two Motor Yachts this year (excluding four 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 Neptune Regatta is 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 2015-16 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year.
Present leader in the AYGP Rankings Mick Tilden's syndicated Beneteau 44.7 Fujin and after victory at the Raja Muda and King's Cup Regattas, Sarab Singh's Welbourn 52 Windsikher II are pitted against each other and joined by Andrew Cocks Simonis Voogd 56 Starlight in the Racing Class.
The main emphasis is having fun while racing a yacht to a new tropical destination. Down from the Royal Selangor Yacht Club in Malaysia, Jeff Harris' J 92S Nijinski are experienced in island hopping events and have their hands full in the Cruising Class, taking on the bigger Singapore based boats of Nigel Gribble Beneteau 390 Hikaru II, Robert Lamoureux Beneteau Sense 55 Grand Lux, Anna Fourie Beneteau Oceanis 41 Ma Ja Belle and Guy Scott's Beneteau 50 Confluence.
Three evenly matched Corsair Dash 750's make up the Multihull Racing class. Graham Horn Corsair Dash Mk II Jaza Too and Xavier Glenard / Damien Geoffray's Kaze are taking on Clive van Onselen's Dash Boot that have performed well here before.
After having a good time on past years, several yachts are making return appearances. In the Multihull Cruising Class, husband and wife team on Gary & Karen Matthews Lagoon 46 Katrianne and Matt Lutter's Dean 440 Vectis are expecting strong challenges from two Dash 750's, Tim Hill Cicak and Philip Brown on Madfish III
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. The Equator Bar will be running non-stop and Mt Gay Rum sundowners for an hour every evening. Cheif Rizan makes a return appearance and Muddy Murphy's Pub in Singapore are sending their famous sous chef, Dayne to add some spice to the dining table.
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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