Knot demolition derby...
27:01:2011 Brilliant sunshine and a fresh North East monsoon breeze greeted the sailors on Day 2. Just after the start, a small front came through and the gusts quickly picked up to 20 knots and whipped up the already choppy sea into a frenzy. This provided some fast and furious downwind rides on some yachts, while others more accustomed to lighter winds had to adjust quickly or risk being caught up in chinese gybes, wine glassed spinnakers wrapped around the forestay, gear failure, broken halyards, race retirement and most of all deflated ego's back at the dock. Many skippers went for smaller headsail's while others reefed the mainsail down a slab to avoid being over powered and still maintain control of the boat through the steering mechanism.
Even the two seasoned professional racing class teams suffered some fateful moments and gear breakage which moved them up and down the order. Before the race the senior crew members on Evolution Racing, that have crowded the cockpit, were trying to negotiate with the Hi Fi crew, that they limit themselves to three or four tacks up the windward beat but all this nonsense was thrown out the window when the skippers get the bit between the teeth and face off on the race course. Once again jockeying for the windward berth started early with Ray Roberts coming out on top at both starts. Then the wheels fell off, according to the Evolution Racing crew and everything that could go wrong did go wrong, as they handed the lead over to Pryde's Hi Fi who went on to win Race 3. After the baptism from hell was delivered by Ray Roberts, the Evolution Racing crew came out on fire for the second race and never looked back to claim victory and bring the overall score to two race wins each. When asked about only having two boats racing, Neil Pryde answered "That it is business as usual between the two boats, just there are no other boats around and a lot more room at the start line". Not only is the Singapore Straits title up for grabs but the S.E.A. Perpetual Cup Series for the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy is decided here and the final result will go a long way in determining the 2010-11 Evolution Sails AYGP Skipper and Yacht of the Year awards.
Sarab Jeet Singh's Sydney 40MOD Windsikher recovered from the dip in form yesterday and expertly guided by Aussie racing legend Steve McConaghy scored two daily doubles to clearly show their intentions to the other IRC B class yachts. Rick Pointon's J130 Jing Jing chased Windsikher around the course but after blowing the big kite just could not get close enough and had to settle on two second places. Yazid Ramli's Beneteau 42.7 Rip Jaw claimed third place in Race 3 but as they crossed the finish line the spinnaker wrapped so tight around the forestay, that they disappeared down the strait with pink material flying aloft and did not return for race 4. As Hellmut Schutte's First 45 Aquavit 5 retired with a broken main halyard, it left the door open for Guz Wilkinson / Chris Furness Elan 410 Rikki Tikki Tavi to secure third place in Race 4.
In the IRC C class, Gordon Maxted's Young 84 Shoon Fung Too was in no mood to mess about and scored the daily double in Race 3 but dropped their guard in Race 4 when they hit the windward mark and Chinese gybed to leave them down the order. Gregory Ho's SMUve managed to keep the vessel on track, which is no mean feat on a Platu 25 in 20 knots of wind, to surf away with second place in Race 3 and hung on to gamely capture the daily double in Race 4. Shaun Toh's SMU sistership SMUmad filled the void as others speared out of control to secure second place in Race 4 before nearly coming to grief themselves after the finish. Adriaan Smit steadily guided his X99 Power Partners around the course to consistently score two third places and stay out of trouble.
Surprisingly the closest battle of the day came in the one design J24 Class. After I. Wayan Rusdiana's Merdeka retired in Race 3, the fight came down to close quarters between Christopher Lim's Jangan Main Main, Calvin Lim's Shengli and A. Wahab's Nova. Never more than a couple of hundred feet separated the three yachts and the one that picked up the last wave to surge ahead won the race. With a 1, 2 scoreline Christopher Lim's Jangan Main Main puts them at the top of the table and a 3, 1 score for Calvin Lim's Shengli has them clinging to second overall. Not to be outdone by the Singaporean's, A. Wahab's Nova scored 2, 3 to keep the Indonesians in the running.
Once again the two yachts in the PY class rotated around the course to share the honours. This time Malcolm Chang's Oceanis 46 Charlotte's Web got the better of Deanna Adams heavily reefed Beneteau QI in Race 3 only to come unstuck and reverse the order in Race 4.
The schedule for tomorrow is one long passage race for all classes. The Racing Class will cross the main Singapore Strait shipping lane and head over towards the Malaysian shore in search for Stapa Buoy before joining the rest of the classes that will go east of Batam and round some marks in the Bintan Strait before returning to finish in front of Nongsa Point Marina. As the weather forecast seems to be holding up we can expect more of the same in the next installment.
More info can be found at http://www.straitsregatta.com
This SSR - AY Race Reports are kindly bought to you by the following supporters