Sailors set sail to meet King Neptune at Equator...
Leg 1 is 45nm to the privately owned Fishhead Island (Pulau Riau) where Todd Keeler and the gang, host an evening dinner and overnight stopover, at the five star long house with swimming pool.
Then its off on the 52nm Leg 2 to Neptune Island (Pulau Sikeling) and set up camp for 3 days.
The next day is the famous 15nm Equator race from Neptune Island to 0° 0' 0" to meet King Neptune and perform the equator ritual and then restart the race back to Neptune Island.
After the famous Equator Race, a well earned Lay Day to meet and greet the Lingga Ministry of Tourism and lunch at Neptune Island, plus visit the local fishing village on Pulau Blanding, that are caretakers of Neptune Island and set up the thatched A-frame huts, all-tide dingy landing dock, camp kitchen, toilets, washing facilities and bar during the stop over.
The trip back is divided in to two parts - Racing Day 4 - 50nm Passage Race to Pulau Mubut for dinner and an overnight stay. Then Racing Day 5 - 45nm Passage Race back to Nongsa Point Marina and final Gala Dinner & Prize Giving ceremony.
Jonathan Mahony HYD 42 Zanzibar and Max Palleschi IOR Farr 40 Prime Factor are contesting the reinvigorated IRC Racing Class. Three different generation Beneteau 50's are gracing the Premier Cruising class, Robert Lamoureux Sense 50 Grand Lux, Genevieve & Jeremy Chase Oceanis 50 Sea Monster and Troy Williams early model (1998) Beneteau 50 Shelby are evenly matched and sure to have a close battle along the way.
Held during the peak of the North East Monsoon season, the Windguru weather forecast for Batam, looks breezy from the North Easterly trade wind, in the early part of the week, for the trip down and reduces in time for the long slog back. On the racing side Nongsa Point Marina Manager, Prakash Reddy is the Regatta Director and Principle Race Officer, ably assisted by Kira Pecherska are expecting to provide crews with a downwind sleigh ride, on the island hopping adventure to the equator and assures the frivolities pertaining to being ceremonially inducted, will be a memorable occasion.
Some of the six yachts entered in the Cruising Class are return customers and know the way and what to expect. Although Anna Fourie's Beneteau Oceanis 41 Ma Ja Belle and Kevin Harris Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 47 Temptress of Down scored podium places in the Premier Cruising Class last year, they are tackling simular sized yachts, Alfie Rowson / Liz Schoch Fraser 41 Astraeus, Nicky Marsh Beneteau Oceanis 34 Marsh Mellow, Jonathan Sykes Beneteau Oceanis 320 Olmeto and John Inglis Boers Ron Holland 44 Sangaree in the cruising class, this year.
Five Corsair trimarans from the Changi Sailing Club fleet in Singapore, Graham Horn Corsair Dash Mk II Jaza Too, Xavier Glenard / Damien Geoffray Corsair 750 Kaze, Alice Lim Corsair 750 Abracadeborah Too, Sasha Hill Corsair 750 Cicak and Gary Curtis Corsair 28 Miss Visayan have duked it out on many occassions, with mixed success and all are capable of claiming the Multihull Racing title.
David MxKeown's magnificent Stow 78 Rona built in 1895, is the only Classic Class entrant this year.
Six entries in the Motor Yacht Rally Class include Capt Jelle de Vries Clipper 52 Odisea, Nico Derksen Bavaria 29 Suntosa II, Todd Keeler Ocean 55 Fishhead, Raymond Irving Tequila Sunrise I, Bart Ouwerling Mariposa and Phil Lenox Sea Ray 260 Sundancer Kailani take the opportunity to join the sailing crowd and like to share the experience with the family, over an extended Chinese New Year break.
As you could imagine, the provisioning and logistics are extensive, for this type of event and it takes four support motor vessels, Graham Lind's Sea Dreamer, Jonassis, Skyrider 1 and Skyrider 2 from Focus Adventure at Raffles Marina, to run the event and everyone is extremely thankfull for their contrbution.
The Neptune Bar (recently dubbed the “Best bar in Asia for 3 days a year”) will be manned by Muddy Murphy's Pub from Singapore and complementing the camp kitchen, manned by Indonesian chef/cooks, serving hearty breakfasts and bringing some extra spice to the dinner table each night.
Although the main emphasis is, having fun while racing a yacht to a new tropical destination, the Nongsa Neptune Regatta is the eighth 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 with the 2018-19 AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year title at the end of the season.
After the Fishhead stopover, we will be out of telephone and internet range for the rest of the regatta. Readers will have to wait, till we return from the Equator next weekend, for the full run down, on what happened down there.
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