National Squib Malaysian National Championship 27/28/29 May
Pulau Indah Marina
Day 1 Friday 27 May
Under the unflappable organisation of Race Officer Simon James (“I have seen it all before”) two races were held. In the end all 9 competitors came to the line on a windward /leeward course across the river, due to an unusual northerly breeze made interesting by a cross tide. Haiku 1, mastless an hour before, made it just in time.
In the first race, two rounds of windward/leeward, the fleet were very line-shy and PSC’s Vice Commodore Rama built up a commanding lead winning by a comfortable margin. Behind, on a complex beat, there was lots of place-changing with Mandarin (Jason Moriaty/John Kara) finishing second with Ratatosk third.
On the first downwind leg, we saw two spinnakers up but none set!
The Race Director, unusually not participating, realised there was a steep learning curve for PSC sailors, more used to sailing our usual ‘out and back’ racing and unaccustomed to these different type of courses. Even those those with experience were learning the dark art of Squib sailing.
The breeze was rising and falling but Race Officer Simon decided to reuse the course so the second race course was a repeat of the first. A somewhat messy start saw those starting at the committee boat, up-tide end on starboard tack gain advantage whilst those on port tack struggled to cross. Alicen/Luke in Haiku 1 made a perfect start and sailed into the distance, clear and a long way ahead under goose-winged jib she finished in good time.
Behind there was lots of close racing which typifies Squib racing, easy boats to sail but difficult to sail well.
From the Committee boat, parked just below the leeward mark, we saw lots of close tussles on the mark and the tidal situation meant those who headed up too fast simply stopped.
The overall results for Day 1 showed Haiku 1 in front by one point with three boats, Mandarin , Lady VG and Ratatosk tied for second on points. All to play for on Day 2.
DAY 2 Saturday 28 May
Following heavy (ie torrential) rain, the usual Malaysian weather (sunny but windless) prevailed and the nine intrepid competitors, together with Race Officer Simon, Regatta Director Jeremy and some seven helpers led by Simon’s long term assistant Chandran leading the buoy laying party, gathered.
Racing was due to start at 12.30 but Simon was left with little option but to postpone. Anticipating wind, the committee boat moored in the same position as the previous day, on the south bank of the river. What little wind there had come from the north the day before and the competitors sailing without engines emerged from the marina to sail against a ferocious tide towards the anchored committee boat….
At about 1400 some wind arrived and Simon got things underway with a simple windward/leeward sausage with the cross tide making for interesting sailing with different groups and approaches. Race 1 was complex, particularly the first beat and Mandarin, sailed by Jason and John, led from start to finish with Haiku second and Jerry third. It was clear many of the competitors had gained in confidence from the spinnakerless previous day and everyone had theirs flying, a fine array with a great variety of colours and numbers. Jeremy, who ships the boats from the UK to Malaysia, had acquired a selection of redundant spinnakers on early container shipment from Burnham on Crouch, much in evidence.
With a wind strength of 8 to 12 knots, Simon next set an interesting triangular course to give a close spinnaker reach and a run to the leeward mark providing entertainment to those on the committee boat.
The second race was narrowly won by Haiku, from Jerry in second with Mandarin third and Peach fourth.
The third race was a shortened version of the second, and there was a tidal advantage to those behind on the first beat. Lady VG, sailed by our Vice Commodore Rama and his wife VG, appeared at the front and spinnakerless just held off the charging Haiku and Mandarin. We were not sure how but a great result. Mandarin was third and Quicksilver fourth.
Rama’s support and enthusiasm has been so important to the development of both PSC and the Squib fleet, so two firsts and greatly improved sailing, due in part to our weekly sailing program, was a fitting reward.
Before the third race Ratatosk retired with a broken main halliard and Peach to the club bar . A special mention for Charles in Second Wind who was first over the starting line in
Haiku, which had been the most consistently well-sailed boat, again emerged the overall leader.
It has, as the organisers intended, been a learning curve for many. It was not easy sailing and small mistakes in such close racing are mercilessly punished - all part of the fun of one design racing.
A number of visitors came to watch, perhaps most notably Jacob, owner of Dash, from Port Dickson, advertising their Simpsons sponsored regatta, and newly elected RSYC Rear Commodore Martin Axe.
So Fridays final race would decide our first Malaysian champion and he or she will have earned it. Race officer Simon is pessimistic about the longer race we have planned, for which we need a favourable tide.
DAY 3 Sunday 29 May
Another beautiful but windless day dawns, with everyone grateful for Vladimir and Benny’s catering. Good food and super coffee!
At about 1300, as on the previous day, the wind began to fill in, but this time it’s prevailing westerlies, blowing from the mouth of the river.
Race officer Simon had already advised that the flooding tide was not suitable for our planned long distance race, conceived to give an opportunity to some of our less experience racers who have more experience in the mysteries of the tides around the navigation buoy Selat, which have confused many an experienced sailor.
So we returned to our usual river venue, with the start close to the marina. Simon wanted to get in the promised two races to have seven in total with two discards. The first, a windward/leeward with a very equal start against the tide, was won by Mandarin with Peach second and Haiku 1 third. This made the final racing very interesting because either Mandarin or Haiku could lift the magnificent Royal Selangor Pewter Salver presented by our sponsors Platinum, President Amir Tybejee Commodore Jeremy Camps, Vice Commodore Ramasamy Menon and Rear Commodore Jega Mundiary and Gold sponsor secretary Ian Pereira. This made the whole regatta financially possible.
The final race started and competitors, possibly exhausted after so much racing, were very line shy. In tricky, fluky winds, Mandarin, on a triangle/sausage course, sailed into a good lead with Haiku only fourth. The race committee had moored the committee boat, Jega Mundiary’s X 34 Leopard Dream, on the outside pontoon of the marina with a finishing mark positioned so anyone in the clubhouse could see the finish. The Committee watched the pursuing boats Alice and Haiku visibly catching up with Mandarin which had seemed to slow. A lightening wind helped Haiku pass Alice on the upwind leg and it was very close at the penultimate mark but Haiku, healing more, crept inside Mandarin and sailed off to victory.
Congratulations to our first Malaysian National Squib champion Luke Robins sailing with Vladimir Dvorak. He had sailed consistently well discarding a 4th and a 3rd on 7 points.
Second was Mandarin sailed by Jason Moriaty and John Kara , just two points behind on 9 points.
Also discarding a 4th and 3rd was the Commodore’s boat Jerry, sailed by Dr Izham and Amir Rahim with 15 points, discarding a 6th and a 5 th,
Fourth was Lady VG sailed by PSCS and now RSYC Vice Commodore Ramasamy Menon and ever supportive Wife VG, the only husband and wife combination with 19 points.
Fifth was Ratatosk, our mythical Nordic squirrel sailed by Gavin Baxter and Yasid, with 24 points, handicapped by breaking their main halliard in Race 4 and missing Race 5.
Sixth Peach 2, sailed by Simon and Harro Koopmans with 25 points also missing two races with a broken shroud.
Seventh on count back, also on 25 points, was Quicksilver sailed by Peter Weitz and Michelle Tan who only started sailing a month ago.
8th was Alice sailed by owner Jega’s sons Kumanan and Aguilan, who finished the last race in a much improved third.
9th was PSCS’s own club boat sailed by Charles Vincent and Jenny, gaining confidence over time and first over the start line in one race.
Every competitor received an engraved Selangor pewter coaster as did all the supporters and helpers both on and off the water who made it all possible, including the civil defence ambulance and sea rescue party who attended as support and were fortunately not needed.
The regatta provided a learning curve for competitors and organisers alike and provided media exposure for our little sailing club and our Squibs, a great class of boat for learners and pros alike.
Our thanks to Tony Sobey and lan on our safety boat, our newly-refurbished Macgregor 25 Tiger and our very efficient mark laying team led by Chandran, who assists Simon James at regattas and really understood what was needed, and supported by our own Rahim and Heppi.
Thanks also to our Patick, Izz (the Commodore’s ever faithful boat master) helping onshore and MS Zanarita on the committee boat, who did everything including raising and lowering flags, raising the anchor as well as taking photos, leaving the Commodore to enjoy using the horn!
But above all thanks to our Race officer Simon James who masterminded the sailing so efficiently making it such an excellent event for the competitors. Simon turned down a regatta in Tahiti to attend and told me he wanted to support what we at PSC are doing for sailing. That is a fitting epitaph for our regatta.