Peter AHERN, who finished third over the line and third on IRC with most of the Wilmot family aboard Yo!, described this race as 'classic Raja Muda' after leading on IRC for the whole night only be to dealt a rough hand with just 2 nautical miles to go.
Currently, after two races of the Raja Muda International Regatta, Hollywood Boulevard, Hi Fidelity and Yo! are all on equal points and sharing the lead in the Raja Muda Cup.
Pla Loma was perhaps the most fortunate in this 65 nautical mile race up the west coast of Malaysia from Pangkor to Penang. The fleet started with a breeze of around 5 to 10 knots coming from 320 to 340 degrees as they made their way on the NNW track to Penang.
As night filled the breeze began to die out, gradually clocking around between 90 to 140 degrees and then frustrating the fleet with only 3 to 7 knots of extremely variable pressure. According to Ahern it was kites up, kites down, kites up, kites down all night long.
So far in this Raja Muda Regatta size has mattered and with about 2 miles to go to the finishing line, the first three boats for line honours contention were Hollywood Boulevard a Farr 52, Yo! a Murray Burns Dovell 50 then Hi Fidelity a Welbourne 46.
However, in classic Raja Muda fashion the breeze shut down leaving the race leaders wondering what all the hard work had been about as the race had basically restarted with just 2 nautical miles to the finish. With around 5 minutes sailing to the Penang finish line a large rain storm rolled in, which is not at all unusual for this part of the world and the top three quickly crossed the line in the order of Hollywood Boulevard first, Hi Fidelity second and Yo! third.
Race two's IRC Racing Class winner Keith Moore reports that Pla Loma had about 5 miles to go when they were hit by the rain storm and subsequent pressure of about 10 knots. Keith went on to say that 'after spiralling around the boat and leaving the crew completely confused, with sails flogging and rushing to get the kite down, the breeze filled and we ended up on the wind to finish the race in no time at all'.
The rain storm and the pressure brought with it lasted all of 30 minutes leaving enough time for Pla Loma to steam home and the rest of the fleet to languish in the light variable conditions that remained.