After surviving 3 gruelling overnight passage races up the west coast of Malaysia and completing 3 harbour races in Langkawi the eventual winner of the RMIR 2003 is Ray ROBERTS and his mainly Aussie rock star crew on Hollywood Boulevard.
Stirred on by Australia's participation in the IRB Rugby World Cup final, the crew went out, full of determination to capitalize on their earlier wins and after many close shaves in the past, help Ray Roberts win his first overall RMIR trophy.
The race committee persevered with a light 6 - 8 knot breeze that filled in gusts but eventually died as the afternoon wore on, initially forcing many of the smaller yachts to score a DNC as they could not finish the very optimistic 3.5 nm windward /leeward course within the time limit.
The much anticipated last day showdown in the racing class unfortunately turned into something of a farce, as after seeking redress from the international jury, the racing class 1 crews had to be content with a aggregate of points from earlier races to determine the final overall positions.
This decision aggravated many of the outspoken competitors who have expressed their disappointment of the jury's decision and favour abandoning the last race in an effort to maintain the integrity of the event and ensure their participation next year.
Whichever way the results are calculated Ray ROBERTS and Hollywood Boulevard will go down in the record books as the overall winners in racing Class 1 this year. The remaining podium positions and minor placing's in Class 1A and 1B remain in dispute as an appeal on the jury's decision is being prepared for the International Sailing Federation to arbitrate on. Stuart HARRISON'S Malaysian youth team were awarded second overall and Peter AHERN'S YO! relegated to third after a tack of into oblivion today and 2 bad results the day before.
In the Premier Cruising and Cruising Classes the overall winners where determined before the final round going to Jon WARDILL'S Australian Maid and Andrew FINDLAY'S Pelangi respectively. The only changes came in the Premier Cruising class who sailed a passage race with Schle Woods X512 X-Treme from Thailand taking the honours in the last race and Peter CREMERS second place on Shahtoosh lifted them to second overall over Keith GARRY'S Yendys who where tied on points coming into the last race. A magnificent sight to behold eventuated after the sea breeze came in with the big yachts spinnaker running down neck and neck to the finish line where they all finished within 2 minutes of each other.
The topsy turvy nature of calculating the Classic Class results was eventually settled with the RMN entry Dondang Sayang coming to the fore in the last race to take out overall 1st place. Claus Karthe's Greensleeves ended up in 2nd place from Tunku Nazim's F31. Chalupa skippered by K.P. Chin ended up 4th despite winning the last race and along with Stardust and Eveline suffered from not finishing in earlier races.
This year's RMIR has produced some interesting highlights and new lessons learnt. The Malaysian youth team and the all girls Dewi Bayu Team have mixed it in well with the top racing class yachts and this experience will go along way in encouraging future local participation from the dinghy class sailors. The visiting yachts in the new Premier Cruising class after patching up their early differences finished up having some very close racing and the happiest of endings.
Andrew OWEN from Proteus Sports reports that the Omega Asian Yachting Circuit got off to a fine start and he is looking forward to the next clash in one weeks time at the Phuket Kings Cup. After it is all said and done, one can only reverberate the warning issued in the AY Pre Regatta Report that the "RMIR is considered one of the most tactical and hardest regatta's to win over the AY Season.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below