in the New Year
Many top racing crews have arrived early and been out training and conducting new sail measurements as part of their ongoing optimisation program plus shaking off the excesses of the festive season. Forty four boats divided into seven classes continue the tradition of attracting sailors from all over the world, will go under the starters orders tomorrow.
Winner of the first three RLIR editions in the IRC Racing Class, Peter Ahern returns with the co-owned TP52 Oi! and expects to raise the Prime Minister's Challenge Trophy for a fourth time by the end of the regatta.
Not if Frank Pong's perennial line honours favourite, Custom 75 Jelik has anything to do with it. They arrived early and have trained extensively over the last few days. As the wind prediction is in the mid-teens, gusting to 20 knots, this practice could prove invaluable for the big powerful yacht. However they won't have it all their own way and have to overcome Ben Copley's RP45 Katsu, Takhovski Alexey's Farr 400 Lero 3 and two Malaysian Armed Forces DK 47's Uranus and Utarid, that are capable of ruining the big boat party in the handicap stakes.
An interesting battle is shaping up in the IRC 1 Class. Anthony Root's Archambault 35 Red Kite II is presently leading the AsianYachting Grand Prix (AYGP) pointscore, closely followed by the Sorensen/Ketelbey/Brown Beneteau 44.7 Fujin, have been lumbered in with Bill Bremner's Mills King 40 Foxy Lady 6, that is on a four regatta winning streak and rapidly advancing up the AYGP rankings. The Russians on Aleksandr Trofimenko's First 40.7 First, Andrei Andrey's Young 11 Ruby Tuesday and Vincent Chan/Dr. Gerhard Pils Titan 36 BMW Yachtsport have shown a remarkable turn of speed at regional regattas and able to mount a formidable challenge for the LADA-IRC Challenge Trophy.
In the IRC 2 Class, Niels Degenkolw's evergreen IOR 3/4 Ton Xyacht Phoenix is gunning for their fourth win in a row. Last year John Kara's Dehler 10.6m Skybird put up a good fight and will be ganging up with Fudo Yasuto's new Fortissimo X and fellow Japanese Tomoko Matsuzaki on the Sail in Asia Farr 1104 Farrgo Express, to put an end to Degenkolw's Phoenix winning streak.
Six one design Platu 25's are competing for the Langkawi Sports Trophy. Two foreign teams will be taking on a formidable lineup of Malaysian teams. From Australia, Max Perrins Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and the Phuket Youth Sailing are coming up against the Royal Malaysian Navy that have won here before, the Malaysian Yachting Association (MYA), Abu Talib Abdullah Rahman's Putrajaya Sailing Club (Siput) and Kevin Yong's Royal Selangor Yacht Club (Setia West) are honing their skills for the revived Malaysian match racing circuit. There will also be trophy's for the under 25 age group.
Four contrasting Multihull's will be competing for the Malaysian Multihull Challenge Cup. Grenville Fordham's 11.6m Andaman Cabriolet Niña has won here twice before but will face some stiff competition from Daniel Renno's Stealth 12.6 After Burner. After a few years absence Bob Mott returns with Oasis and James Harris Lagoon 410 Fleur d"Epice are heavy displacement compared to the others but if the predicted wind conditions stand true, they could give them a run for their money in the handicap stakes.
A mixture of past winners and old favourites are fronting up in the Club Cruiser, Ocean Rover and White Sail classes. They will be vying for the RLYC Commodore's Cup. Over the years Charles Hay's Jeanneau 45 Smystery, Gavin Welman's Hallberg-Rassy 53 Rascal, Kevan Perrins 13.10m Holman and Pye Rusalka and Adale's Oyster 55 Chantique skippered by Hakim A. Klunker have all won different classes here before. Down from Phuket Reinhard Haiber's Meridien 47 Pytheas Aura and James Wylie's Sun Odyssey 45.2 Carrioca are in with a chance if they can produce some consistency. Old favourites include Henning Lenz 10.36m My Toy, Datuk Richard Curtis' 100 year old Bristol Pilot Cutter Eveline and Dato' Alex Nah's Hunter 49 Virgo.
A special "Tunku Abdullah Sportsmanship" award in memory of the Regatta Founding Chairman and RLYC Commodore Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah will be presented to the best team, both on the water and land during the regatta, to be voted by the participants.
A combination of harbour and outside courses will be used including the round the island race (If conditions suit) over the four days of racing. The warm weather and clear waters surrounding the legendary and duty-free islands are a feast to enjoy and to top it off the organising team have gone to great lengths to plan daily, fun-filled prize giving parties to dance the night away.
This RLIR AY Pre-Regatta Report is kindly bought to you by the following supporters