The Drive In Automotive
KLRegistry @ Royal Langkawi International Regatta 2017
The 15th Royal Langkawi International Regatta 2017 has ended. As expected the regatta was again impeccable under the stewardship of Tunku Soraya Dakhlah who has been personally overseeing this hallmark event since its inception. Year on year, the event has managed to capture the hearts of every participant, making them yearn for the next RLIR.
This is mainly because RLIR is one of those regattas that makes any sailor feel at home. It is unpretentious yet exclusive-like. The local hospitality, vibrant ambiance, great food, the abundant “drinks”, mesmerizing archipelago backdrop, five star sunsets, top level racing teams and first-class race organizing all makes this Regatta truly one of a kind.
This round we had a very special treat indeed. The world largest single-masted super sailing yacht, the M5, made an appearance during the event. Berthing for 4 days, it was 80 meters long, weighing a cool 1000 tonnes and housing 7 suites for 14 very privileged guests. It’s mast measures a dizzying 89 meters tall and is even higher than the hill the marina is situated on. One can only imagine how long it will take to manually hoist the main sail, if at all possible…
And we are spoilt; Talking about next level luxury. Some yachts have tenders or sailboats or mini submarine or helicopters attached. This baby carried a sea plane! A SEA PLANE!!! How awesome is that. Cloaked in bespoked aero marine covers, it sat whimsically at the stern. Whether it could take off or not, nobody cared. Every day before and after racing, we stood on the pontoon staring at this behemoth, salivating. Hoping for an invite, we would sacrifice the race. Speaking of the race…
Our initial mission of defending our IRC2 tittle failed even before the racing started. Already marking who we would be up against, we were told last minute that we would be bumped up to IRC1 Class as that class was short of participants. Then it dawned on us; maybe we are destined for nautical drama. Every time we plan for one thing, something else always transpires.
We don’t know our IRC 1 Class competitors. This is uncharted waters for us but they sure look stunning. Million dollar yachts, twice the amount of crew trimmed in the latest gear and hi-tech equipment on board. They were not going to give an inch of slack as they have their own scores to settle.
Heading into this regatta, we tried to improve on our weakness realized from last year’s RLIR. Nearly losing the tittle to lighter boats, this year we went on skinny mode; dropping crew and streamlining resources. No more warm food selection or ice cold brew on board, we are assigned racing biscuits and plain water which we fondly rename “lamb chops, mee goreng, teh-ais and milo kosong”- All in the name of reducing gross weight.
And fortunately so as the light winds revisited RLIR again this year. Every morning the Race committee went out extra early, diligently hunting for the most ideal conditions so that all classes could go racing. It was anybody’s game. The bigger yachts had bigger sails catching more wind thus realizing a higher boat speed. We had to capitalize on our vessel’s light weight, acceleration and make as little mistakes as possible.
During the race, no winner could be ascertained until crossing the finishing line. Each boat having their own strengths and strategies, sailed different paths from the moment go. All we could do was execute a little match racing manoeuvre at the start before scurrying off diffidently at the sound of the horn. We knew given the room, the big boats will stretch their legs and pull away from us in a very demotivating manner. Every single race was a nail biting, hour long episode of silent suspense. Every finish line we crossed was more a reflection of relief than joy. Especially when you look back, all you see are giant spin sheets closing in on you with deepened stare.
In the end, we manage to secure 7 wins plus 7 line honors for all 7 races held and taking home the LADA-IRC Challenge Trophy. Our under-nourished over-worked strategy just about paid off this time. Looking back if the results went south, there would certainly have been mutiny on board for the starvation. Nevertheless, everyone was well fed on shore after the race.
Our sailing may not have improved much, but clearly the communication on board was heaps better if compared with the China Cup Campaign. With the likes of fellow Malaysian Jeremy Khoo who is World Champion Byte Class, ranking 12th in World Match Racing and Asian Games Champion Sungwok Kim from Korea (both having raced in the America’s Cup), this motly-enthusiast sailing team called Mata Hari has achieve another milestone.
We would also like to thank our local sponsor KLRegistry for supporting and believing in our Malaysian led effort in the 15th Royal Langkawi International Regatta 2017. We are stoked by their support and this gave us the determination to do well for them.
We hope this that this would set the precedence for future campaigns as we look forward to even more Malaysian support. We cannot say that winning is everything, but striving to win, is the flame we must not extinguish. We hope to show everyone that even Malaysia has world class talents. With the correct nurturing and opportunity, all Malaysians can rise above and beyond expectations.
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Picture Credit: Langkawi Regatta