2 - Slowest race in 21 year history...
PRO Jerry Rollin's race management team struggled to get Passage Race 2 start away. They had no alternative, other than ask the fleet to "follow me" in the direction of Penang and perform a rolling start when they found an area with a settled wind pattern. To make matters worse the strong incoming current didn't help, as some of the Classic Class boats that started two hours earlier had already been washed downstream and failed to make any headway in the washing machine like conditions.
Thankfully only a couple miles up the road, in the lee of Pulau Pangkor and nearby to previous years starting area, an unusually consistent South Westerly breeze sprung up and a rolling start line was set up between two Marine Police vessels and racing got underway with a downwind spinnaker start. Although there was a lot of jockeying around the favoured pin end boat, with the media/photographers onboard, surprisingly all classes got off to a clear start. Crews busied themselves for spinnaker hoists, amidst loud shouting either barking orders and abuse in short bursts at each other.
Late afternoon as the leading boats closed in on Penang Island, the breeze completely faded away to almost glass out conditions and as the usual evening land breeze failed to arrive, the spinning wheel of fortune started all over again. This year the finish line was set off the NW tip of Penang, substantially extending the course to 90 nautical miles, which made it even harder sailing in the lee of the hilly Island, with little or no wind and almost impossible to maintain any headway into an adverse two knot current throughout the night.
Either by smart management and good luck or both, Ray Roberts TP52 Evolution Racing crossed the extended finish line just before 3:00am and in doing so took out the daily double, plus added to their Race 1 victory, go directly to the top of the overall scoreboard. Thirteen minutes latter Neil Pryde's Welbourn 52, Hi Fi crew, making up for the disappointing fourth place Race 1 result, rammed home second place to stay in contention. Slightly off, Race 1 pace, Russ Parker drove Sam Chan's TP52 Ffreefire mercilessly into third place to be tied on 6 points with Hi Fi for second overall. Game on!
Not to be outdone, Antony Hastings' Beneteau F53 Baby Tonga jointly skippered by Aussie sailing legend Fraser M. Johnston, powered by Strongbow cider also claimed their second victory and even at this early stage in proceedings, goes a long way towards defending the Premier Cruising title and winning the Jugra Cup three years in a row. Although line honours went to Hans Rahmann's very slick Judel Vrolijk 21.3m Yasooda by finishing over two hours in front of Baby Tonga, after handicaps are applied they had to yield into second place. A further two hours back but full of fine spirits, the Russian crew on Alex Takhovski's Jeanneau 50DS LeRo survived the handicap battle to take third place by 13 minutes in front of Peter Cremers fast finishing Warwick 53 Shahtoosh that had to settle on fourth place.
Despite Mark Mizner's Sydney 40 Babe receiving a penalty for an IRC 3 Race 1 starting infringement, they bounced back to claim victory again in Race 2 and clearly show that the first race win was not a fluke. Recovering from the Race 1 sandwiching, Jon Wardill's Cassidy 55 Australian Maid clawed their way onto the podium with second place and valuably rose up in the overall standings. The Malaysian Armed Forces Farr 52 Zural skippered by Ishak Jab nailed the start line at full speed and after nearly 15 and 1/2 hours of racing, did all they could to cross the finish line for class line honours but after handicap calculations got relegated down into third spot.
The hotly contested IRC 4 class, saw defending champion David Ross' star studded crew onboard his Kerr 32 Kukukerchu, once again take out the daily double. This time by eight minutes from Bryan Gauson's 1976 Sydney Hobart Race winning Farr 1104 Piccolo, who are not frightened to take the fight to Kukukerchu despite the age of their yacht. Although Jeff Harris Elan 340 Rapscallion and Vincent Chan's Titan 36 Mata Hari finished in front of Piccolo they ended in third and fourth respectively. Which happens to be the same finishing order as Race 1 and well in front of their more fancied club rivals.
After recalculating the IRC Cruising Class 5 Race 1 results, Simon Connor's Olson 10 Sapphire Star from Singapore, has been awarded first place and went onto repeat the exercise in Race 2. Previously Gavin Welman's Hallberg-Rassy 53 Rascal was reported to be in first spot but was relegated to second and as they scored second place in Race 2, came to rest in second overall. This time Andy Brennan's Delphia 40 Jenzminc VI got the better of Ken Barber's Hunter 410 Unity to jump up into third place overall.
In the Non IRC Classic Class 6, Tim Wilson's 20m Cutter-Ketch El Oro put one over the Malaysian Armed Forces Contessa 34 Musytari skippered by Norhafizam and still await the International jury to convene, before they know which of the two yachts is leading the overall standings. Simon Morris Sirius 1935, Malcolm Elliott's Peterson 46 Coup de Soleil and Dato Richard Curtis 100 year old Bristol Pilot Cutter Eveline are all tied for third place with seven points.
Racing continues tomorrow on schedule with the Penang Harbour races and enormous slap up dinner party and prize giving ceremony at the beautifully restored Khoo Kongsi clan house hosted by the Penang State and Penang Global Tourism. Perhaps after all the difficulties the yachts had today in entering the heavily silted City Marina, that is looking in real bad shape with broken pontoons, should be politely raised with the relevant authorities.
This RMSIR 2010 - AY Race Report is kindly bought to you by the following supporters