Western Circuit comes alive in Singapore...
This time of the year, the prevailing SW Monsoon can produce 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 and passage races, held in strong tidal currents and will have to sail up to the boats handicap rating, for a chance to stand on the podium.
In the IRC A class, Justin Lean's Mumm 30 Invictus is making their first appearance and aim to take the title back with them to the Changi Sailing Club. Low Chin Nam's smaller Cork 1720 Xtra Mile will have their hands full, fending off Jonathan Mahony's much bigger Humphries 42R Zanzibar, that are planning to regain the title they narrowly missed out on last year. The vagaries of the wind, suits different boats, so anything can happen and usually does.
Kurt Metzger's Nelson 10 Waka Tere returns to defend the IRC B title, but faces some stiff competition from the SMU Farr Platu 25 SMUve skippered by Thailand's Ravipha Niliju, Hannah Marian Lie Mei En's Platu 25 Boreas, Gordon Maxted's Young 840 Shoon Fung Too, Simon Piff's Lavranos 34 Rainbow Dream and Pascal Radue's X99 Born in Fire, that over the years have all shared the silverware and glory here before.
The seven entries in the PY Class, range dramatically in size and performance. Defending champion Maxi 77 Ambindi under Filzah Aziz's stewardship this year, is the smallest and will have to embark on another giant killing spree, against John Boers Holland 44 Sangaree to retain the title. Esben Poulsson's Esse 750 Petit Bateau is also on the small size but big on performance. Other challengers come from the mid field, Michael Teo's Olson 911SE Arbudhen, Van Maarschalkerweerd Luca A.G X-342 Minx, James Sharpe's Moody 365 Southern Light and Dieter Trau's Jeanneau Sun Fiz 42 Watermelon, will keep the handicapper busy.
One of the highlights is the Singapore Sailing Federation SB20 fleet, coming up against the individually owned Raffles Marina fleet. Fifteen nippy SB20's, mainly crewed by Singapore university teams, are solely responsible for the growth on the big boat sailing scene and the logical stepping stone, after their dinghy days are over. Nils Ramilovic helming Jeremy Chase's Glasgow Kiss are multiple winners of the SB20 International Cup and have a target on their back this weekend. Other to keep an eye on are, Christian Englet's Pocapena, Paul O'Malley's Walababy, Shaun Toh, Jonathan Yeo, Sean Lee and Stanley Chan on SSF owned boats, fending off International challenges from Ireland, Australia, Sweden and Germany before they can take the title home.
Three J24's are back on the race course. Teams from SMU, NUS and Changi Sailing Club are contesting the one design class.
Four Multihull's have come around from Changi Sailing Club to contest the title. Deborah Barker's Dash 750 Abra Ca Deborah Too helmed by Cambell Jenkins, aim to make it a three-peat, but sister ships Clive Van Onselen Dashboot and Scott McCook's Dinghao have come prepared for the challenge and if anyone can ruin their party, they can. Gary Curtis Ms Visayas could spring a few surprises and as they are all capable of exceptional bursts of speed in the gusts, they come up against the clock in the handicap stakes.
Forty three sailors in seven Windsurfing classes, divided by sail area and design, are in a competition between students from different schools in Singapore, for the Inter-Tertiary Windsurfing Championship (ITWC) 2018 titles.
Rounding out the numbers is a competitive fleet of nine 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. The centerpiece at the auction, is a Sonar 23ft keelboat, with the starting price set at S$500 and goes toward the 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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