Sabang Int Regatta.
Royal Langkawi Yacht Club.

Inaugural Sabang International Regatta 2011

AY Race Report 2


When the going gets tough the tough get going...
By AsianYachting MultiMedia
September 20th: Not long after leaving Langkawi the forecasted strong South West / Westerly tradewind kicked in with a vengeance. This resulted in a hard slog to windward in 25 to 30 knots of wind and most skippers reported burying the bows up to the mast in the 3 to 4 meter confused seas. From 20,000 feet the patches of white caps could be clearly seen and as the palm trees were violently swaying in the wind, safety concerns for the competitors bashing to windward were being expressed by the committee in Sabang. As tropical Storm Roke situated South East of Japan intensified into a Typhoon it produced a strong South Westerly flow over the entire SE Asian region.

The yachts that left a few days earlier from Phuket had a relatively easy passage and only the last few miles were uncomfortable as the wind turned on the nose and started to increase.

As the racers from Langkawi approached International waters they also felt the full brunt of the Westerly wind. When the sea started to quickly build most skippers eased off and some made a bee line for the lee of the Sumatra coast. The yachts that opted to stay offshore made hard work of their passage and most chose to use power assistance to complete their journey. By all reports a wonderful close reach was experienced in the lee of Sumatra until they approached the top and once again all hell broke loose on the crossing to Sabang.

The Royal Malaysian Navy Farr 520 Zuhal skippered by Lt Cdr Chin In, were the first to arrive a little after 4:00 in the morning, taking 42 hours 16 mins 25 secs to complete the 260nm passage. A lengthy wait ensued and it was not till the afternoon when small white specs appeared on the horizon and proceeded to the finish line. Under the Sailing Instructions yachts are allowed to motor but the motoring time must be declared at the finish which is multiplied by 1.5 and added to their elapsed time. As Zuhal sailed all the way they score the daily double and will go down in the record books as the inaugural winner of the Sabang Race. Robert Azzopardi's 13m Dreamtime claimed second place in front of Dato Alex Nah's Hunter 14.9m Virgo which arrived late in the night.

Only two boats finished in the Multihull Class as Rene Erhardt's 12m Windpocke ripped the jib and engine overheated, then opted to turn around and head back home for Phuket. Richard Eyre's Corsair 37 Zhuka scored the daily double after 53hrs 37mins 25secs of racing and some very wet and tricky moments. Aussie Stephen Sugden's 12.2m catamaran Aqua Dreams were no match for the nippy trimaran and settled on second place when it was all said and done.

In the Cruising Class Matthiew Paulin's 11.74m Island Time arrived first and managed to hold onto their time to take provisional first place despite motoring for over nine hours. The yachts continued to stream in late into the night and next morning. Anthony Florence's 13.71m Jellyfish slotted into second place and USA's Clifford Hudson's 11.5m Sidiqi ended up in third place.

In true Indonesian style the social program changes every few minutes. The Welcome Party was rescheduled for last night and presided over by the Director of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Mr Jero Wacik. He bought along with him over 40 media and some top Indonesian music artists that preformed on a hastily built stage on the beach under the palm trees.

All the boats are safely moored in the lee of the land in Sabang Harbour in front of Gapang village and Resort. Singapore's Edward Yow supervised the laying of the moorings which resemble the Changi Sailing Club grid.

Racing continues on Thursday with a sail past and two scheduled passage races around the islands in the picturesque Sabang Harbour. Meanwhile the crews are entertained with diving and fishing trips to nearby wrecks and reefs plus tours of the scenic island.

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