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11 September 2001, 04:43 pm
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SEA Games
Port Dickson

First day of racing has all classes out on the water.
At the 1100 hrs start to the serious sailing competition between 6 of the 10 SE Asian nations a fresh 8 to 10 knot south-westerly breeze greeted the sailors.

The Optimist class quickly got into the round robins of the Teams event with 4 of the best under 16 national sailors selected to represent their country scheduled for today.

After a series of races where points are awarded to the teams' overall placings and kind of like a knockout competition, the 2 teams with the lowest points will have a sail off for the final rounds. Then a gold medal will be presented to the winning team on this first day of competition. Sounds good and it had the media down in force, some even on their toes.

The other classes, racing on two separately laid courses further offshore, also got off to a brisk start and had completed the 2 scheduled races of the 10 race series and were back on the beach in 3 1/2 hours.

The early results had traditional foes Singapore and Malaysia sharing the top places in the 470's and Laser II Classes with the Moe Myint family racing team from Myanmar providing a surprise with 2 firsts in the 420 boys and a share of the lead in the 420 girls.

Malaysia's Kevin Lim and Tiffany Koo sailing the Laser and Laser Radial respectively, made it 2 first places apiece which firmly marks their intention to help the host country Malaysia, who are already on the way with 30 golds in 3 days across the 26 sport programme, to hopefully win a record haul of medals at these XXI SEA Games.

In the Mistral, Thailand showed their dominance in the men's light weight class with Arun Homrruen's 2 wins and Napalai Tansai and Phanuthat Ruamsap shared the honours with Singapore's Rachel Ng in the women's and Indonesia's Oka in the men's heavy weight division.

Even as the Malaysian Optimist team outsailed the Myanmar team in the last of the round robins, the breeze had faded to 5 knots and some glassy patches began to appear on the surface. A quick confirmation of the points put Singapore and Malaysia into a 3 race final. The first start resembled kids driving dodgem cars at an entertainment centre mixed with the jury and race committee boats who try to arbitrate and police the ISAF team racing rules being used for fair sailing.

Unfortunately, with the boats only having covered half the first leg, the wind then completely disappeared and they where lucky to hold their place against the strong Mallacca Strait tidal currents. After over an hour in the scorching hot sun and with only 2 boats having finally clawed their way around the first mark the committee had no option other than to postpone the final to another day.

Asian Yachting/ISAF Secretariat
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