Although most of the winners were decided before the last race, a 12 to 15 knot North East tradewind provided an exciting blast reach on the final leg into Changi and the leading yachts may possibly have set new record times between Batam and Singapore.
Nick BURNS' Mandrake was able to stretch their legs and get one back from Neil PRYDE'S Hi-Fidelity, although a little to late, as Neil and his professional crew had already raped up the series. Andrew CROMBIE'S modified Magic 25 Vertigo with wings flew down the back straight to finally take third place for the race but Robert Knight's DK 46 Drumstick filled the final podium position in front of them.
Class B saw some new faces take the placing's on the final race. Addis DICKON'S JS9000 Roo, although seeming to sail on their ear most the time, showed his off the wind speed to capture first place from Kent GOEKING'S X-99 Solarmax and Mark JEWEL'S The Dogs 2 who is carrying a OCS.
Despite finishing fifth today Jovin TAN'S Sailability team on Sonar carried a big lead into the final which was enough for them to claim top spot on the podium. Well done and watch out for the rush to buy Sonars in the future. Bob HOWISON'S Platu 25 Teko narrowly held onto second overall by one point from Jeremy Muller's Sydney 32 Scallywag.
In the J24 class Tan Sek TIM'S Juno made it six wins out of seven races to record a run away victory but failed to keep a clean sheet by scoring an OCS in race two. Lee SEA YEAN'S Jangan Main Main has scored a string of second places to secure second on the podium in front of Simon Davidson's Jock that has consistently scored third.
Going into the final race, the three yachts in Cruising Class C were tied on nine points and the only class were this race would determine the overall winner. Christopher NUNN's Velera Linda came to the fore again and Lau Che Gin Jerome's formerly unpronounceable Wysiwyg (What Ya See Is What Ya Get) sailed into second spot with single handed Howe Kok Khiong Nepenthe sailing comfortably into third place on the podium.
In summary, just like earlier regattas a closely fought battle developed between Neil PRYDE'S Hi-Fidelity and Fred KINMONTH/Nick BURNS' Mandrake from Hong Kong flowed over into the Straits Regatta. Mandrake seems better suited to the longer passage races where they can stretch their legs and get enough time up, while the Hi-Fidelity's crew seem to make less mistakes and excel in the shorter windward/leeward courses. They were running neck and neck through out the regatta till Neil drove home his advantage on races five and six to win all three major events this year, including the Sir Thomas Lipton trophy and skyrocket them up the rankings. Although rumour has it that Hi-Fidelity is on the verge of being sold, their present six point advantage could be enough to carry them through the remaining four events and take home the coveted 2004/05 AY Skipper and Yacht Awards. Take a peek at this seasons progressive point score or see how your favourite racing team is shaping up on the AY Rankings at: http://asianyachting.com/news/Rankings0405.htm
The big news is the resounding success of Jovin Tan's Sailability team on Sonar from a mixed fleet of racer/cruisers. As sailing is only just being introduced to handicapped persons in Singapore this win will go down as the most memorable. The chairman of SailabilitySingapore Frankie SINNIAH outlined some big expansion plans into neighboring countries and they will need to be watched, as they become a force to be reckoned with.
As the Tsunami affected areas are recovering from the recent catastrophe there is an expressed willingness in getting on with life in the region. Continuing on with the annual racing program is an example to the rest of the world that things are getting back to normal and South East Asia is definitely open for business and raring to go.