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Singapore Straights Regatta - Race 1 & 2 Sydney 38 leads.

by Jonathan Hebert on 11 Jan 2001
The new Hong Kong based Sydney 38 Stella leads after first two races of the 7th Singapore Straights Regatta.

Race 1 and Day 1 of the 7th Singapore Straits Regatta kicked off in slight to medium airs approximately 2nm southwest of Raffles Marina at 1200 hours. After a brief 3 hours and 31 seconds, DK 42 slid across the finish line, taking home line hours bragging rights and an overall 2nd place finishing on handicap for Racing Class A. DK 42 is Malaysia's latest high-tech entry to try her luck in the Perpetual Cup Series, following hot on the heels of Gotcha Lagi, another Malaysian entry that has fared well on the circuit over the past few years.

With a solid breeze building consistently out of the northeast throughout the morning, it appeared as though the 25-strong fleet of yachts was due for a rare treat, and that the organisers of the Regatta really knew what they were doing by moving the event back to a mid January start when the northeasterlies are generally consistent and strong. However, it was not to be. As the time inched nearer to the noon start, the previously strong airs began to weaken, almost as on cue from the ghost of Regattas Past. While white caps and frothy spray were not quite the scene on the race course, a moderate breeze fluctuating between 7 and 9 knots was just enough to give the racers a fair kick in the stern and set them on their way. Jumping out to an early lead was a wise tactic today, as the predictable drop in wind that often rolls around during the mid afternoon did not disappoint. By 1430 hours the wind was fluctuating between 4 and 7 knots and the bulk of the cruising yachts found it tough going in the slackening airs.

The course for Race 1, thanks to a last minute change courtesy of the MPA, was a slightly disappointing and very common windward / leeward sausage course that saw the fleet tacking upwind and flying kites downwind a few too many times. Regardless, the standard track was in all likelihood an appropriate beginning for many of the yachts whose crew members hadn't logged in too many hours on deck together. The Singapore Straits Regatta, like most sailing events in the region, sees a real mixed bag of sailing talent in the crew make-up, with just enough rock-stars, bankers, lawyers, publicans and freeloaders to make it an enormously interesting crowd, both on deck and really in the pub.

While the less than strong airs might have had a sobering effect on the photographers and observers, the competition was still red hot, with 5 boats in Racing Class A finishing within 2 minutes and 15 seconds of each other. Even tighter yet, Neil Pryde's Hi Fidelity from Hong Kong NARROWLY nipped Ray Roberts' Australia Challenge over the line by a single second, with Stephan Ludwig's 80-foot Swan, Sayonara, sneaking in just 12 seconds ahead of Hi Fidelity.

While the Gods did not bless this day with the freshening winds that every sailor must have been praying for, nor did they abandon the fleet altogether. The airs were moving - just enough - and the overwhelming majority of the fleet finished well within the allotted time permitted. The best start ever? No. But a good one anyway? You bet!

Provisional Results Prior to Protests:

Racing Class A

Place Yacht Name Skipper Name Country Time Corrected Time Race 1 Overall

First Place Stella Warwick Downes Hong Kong 03:00:47 11964.241 1 1
Second Place DK 42 Johannes Waimer Malaysia 03:00:31 12953.876 2 2
Third Place Hi Fidelity Neil Pryde Hong Kong 03:03:16 13074.244 3 3
Fourth Place Jenny III Jeffrey Leow Singapore 03:15:33 13410.819 4 4
Fifth Place Australia Challenge Ray Roberts Australia 03:03:17 13504.316 5 5

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