Circuit swings into action...
This time of the year, competitors can expect anything from light, variable winds, to blustery dark storm cells, whipping up a frenzy, in the Western Johor Strait. Crew skills will be severely tested on demanding windward-leeward courses, to sail up to the boats IRC rating, in strong tidal currents and more so, on the long passage races.
While back in Singapore after contesting several Austral-Asian blue water classics, Jonathan Mahony and his raucous crew on the Humphries 42R Zanzibar are returning to defend the IRC A class title. They will be taking on Alan Bannister's ESSE 850 Roo 2 and Esben Poulsson's ESSE 750 Petit Bateau are always nibbling away at the leaders and capable of claiming the handicap stakes. New to Singapore is Mathew Master's Mills 41 Ambush and if they quickly adapt to the local conditions, can give Zanzibar a run for the title. The vagaries of the wind and racing in strong tidal currents, anything can happen and usually does.
A familiar ring to the six yachts in the IRC B class. The SMU are fielding two Farr Platu 25's, crewed by students, Clement Lim's SMUve and Rebecca Goh on SMUmad, are always in the running for podium places. Kurt Metzger's Nelson 10 Waka Tere also has SMU students crewing and ready to pick up the bragging rights. Gordon Maxted's Young 840 Shoon Fung Too are up against a similar design, Chung Pei Ming's Young 8.4 DK Wing Heatwave in a battle for supremacy. Not to be taken lightly, Pascal Radue's X99 Born In Fire returns for another tilt at the title.
A mixed bunch of six cruiser/racers make up the PY Class. Anything from Low Chin Nam's Cork 1770 Xtra Mile to Graeme Hespe's CS36 Jens Jaunt. Last years champion Glen O'Grady returns with a Wauquiez 40 Windancer this time and takes on ole rival See Siew Ju's Bavaria 37 WYSIWYG in a heavyweight bout. What they lack in size Scott Lip's Maxi 77 Ambindi and Andrew Davidson's Frances 27 Jill could make up in performance, if the conditions suit them.
Nils Ramilovic returns to helm Jeremy Chase's Glasgow Kiss and by the end of the weekend, aim to reclaim the SMU SB20 International Cup from the 19 strong teams. Tan Wei Chong, Collin Lim and Alexi Lim are leading the SMU Sailing charge and will have their hands full, fending off the International challenges from Hungary, Australia, Sweden, Germany and the lone Kiwi team before taking the title home.
After a years absence, five J24's are back on the race course. Teams from SMU, NUS, NTU Sailing and Changi Sailing Club will be taking on Arjun Hari's Indian registered team in the one design class.
The Multihull Class is on the increase in Singapore. Four Dash 750's, Andrew Young's Hot Toad, Deborah Barker's defending champion The Dash plus Michael Chia's Sprint Eeepai and Shaun Norris Dash 750 MK2 Witblits are up against Dominique Butler's Pulse 600 Windninja and Guy Scott's regatta winning Stealth 11.8 Afterburner. They are a sight to behold as they jockey for position on the start line and all capable of exceptional bursts of speed in the gusts but up against the clock in the handicap stakes.
Six Windsurfing classes divided by sail area, are in a competition between students from different schools in Singapore.
Rounding out the numbers is a competitive fleet of Access 2.3's for disabled sailors. A charity auction will be held at the gala presentation dinner next weekend, to raise funds for Sailability Singapore, as part of a global initiative to enrich the lives of people living with physical disabilities.
If your in Singapore and looking for some thrills and spills over the next two weekends, take a drive or MRT out to Raffles Marina in Tuas and claim a spot on the breakwater overlooking the courses.
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