off to a good start...
26:01:2011 Although the sky was overcast and heavily laden with rain there was 12-14 knots of North Easterly breeze and sloppy seas for the sailors to play with. Racing got away on time and despite storm activity over Singapore on the left and Bintan Island to the right, it stayed away in the middle till the end of the second race. The strong incoming current caught a few crews off guard, that hit the windward mark and over stood the downwind gybe angles to end up reaching back into the mark. Late spinnaker drops in the fresh breeze also saw crews paying the price and loosing valuable minutes as they untangled the mess of flapping sails and sailed on pass the mark.
As expected right from the five minute warning signal, the two top contenders in the 2010-11 AYGP, Ray Roberts TP52 Evolution Racing and Neil Pryde's Welbourn 52 Hi Fi were jockeying for the windward starting berth and did not let up until the end of racing. Ray Roberts may have led off the line but the tenacious Neil Pryde clung on and despite both hitting the windward mark and completing 360 degree penalty turns, out smarted Roberts on the downwind leg to grab the lead. Only seconds separated them, even when they broke tacks in the middle of the course, when they came back together it was on again tack for covering tack. Very akin to match racing tactics at play. Once in the lead Neil Pryde stole the march in Race 1 and by not giving an inch away notched up the first victory. Ray Roberts did not make the same mistake in Race 2 and led from the start to the finish to even up the score at one win each. Game on!
The same could be said for Sarab Jeet Singh's Sydney 40MOD Windsikher and Rick Pointon's J130 Jing Jing in the IRC B class. Less than a minute separated the two yachts around the course with Sarab Singh's Windsikher getting the better of Jing Jing in the first race and Rick Pointon's Beijing Sailing Club team turning the tables on Windsikher in the second race. Yazid Ramli's crew of Singapore dinghy champions on the Beneteau 42.7 Rip Jaw scored two third places but will have to meld into a champion team if they intend to put a dent into the pointscore leaders.
A mixed bag of results produced by the diverse range of yachts in the IRC C class. The two SMU Platu 25's, SMUmad skippered by Shaun Toh and SMUve by Gregory Ho got the jump at the start of Race 1 and held on to score first and second places respectively. Adriaan Smit's X99 Power Partners were on the pace early to capture third place. As the rest of the fleet shook of the cobwebs and came to grips with the conditions the order rapidly changed in Race 2. Gregory Ho's SMUve stepped up into first place and Gordon Maxted's Young 84 Shoon Fung Too slotted into second place after clearing some debris from the keel that caused some anguish in Race 1. Adriaan Smit's X99 Power Partners stayed on the pace to score third place again and is literally taking the class by storm after receiving their IRC rating.
In the one design J24 Class, the battle between the two Indonesian crews on Nova and Merdeka and the two Singaporean teams on Jangan Main Main and Shengli took on a new dimension today. Although Christopher Lim's Jangan Main Main scored two outstanding wins, it was Indonesia's A. Wahab's Nova that slotted in for two second places in front of Singapore's Calvin Lim on Shengli that scored third place in both races. I. Wayan Rusdiana's Merdeka finished well astern in fourth place.
Only two yachts showed up in the PY class. Deanna Adams heavily reefed and much smaller Beneteau QI sailed rings around Malcolm Chang's Oceanis 46 Charlotte's Web to take both races by a country mile.
The schedule for tomorrow is more of the same windward/leeward races offshore from Nongsa Point Marina. As the forecast seems to be holding up and the rainstorms passing to either side of Batam and as the sailors hitting their straps we can expect some more close encounters and wild rides ahead.
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