Stage 2 of the Borneo Cup Yachting Challenge the inaugural overnight 115 to 120 nm Labuan to Miri International Yacht Challenge proved to be a very demanding race for yacht crews as the event moved on to Sarawak.
Several wind direction changes throughout the night required quick sail changes and helms concentrating on playing the optimum wind angles right to keep the boats moving forward to their best advantage. Within sight of the start the morning breeze faded leaving the yachts stranded and waiting for the sea breeze to fill in and the strong tidal currents saw 2 late starters struggle to get across the line for up to 2 hours after the gun.
The building afternoon sea breeze had the quick yachts close hauled reaching for the first 40 miles as a dangerous looking tropical storm built up over the land which eventually swung over to a land breeze right on sunset as we picked our way through the numerous offshore platforms along the oil rich Brunei coast. Most boats reported being becalmed for up to 2 to 3 hours around 3 in the morning before the SE land breeze returned with vengeance giving the yachts fast reaching conditions over the final stages which strengthened to a fresh 18 knots from Tg Baram across the final 12 nautical miles to the finish line in Miri.
Troy YAW's (AUS) custom Sydney 46 Ulumulu took line honours setting the inaugural Labuan to Miri yacht race record taking 19hrs 29mins 45 secs to complete the course finishing at 06hrs 46mins 45secs in the morning. Philip BARBETTI's 45ft catamaran Selkie from Australia was next to finish at 11:20:10 taking exactly 1 day and 3 minutes and closely followed by John MCNAE's well sailed S&S 36 Ambil Angin only 11minutes and 14 secs further behind them. The provisional IRC results had Allan RICHES' Outward Bound from Brunei being lifted to first place after handicaps have been applied. As the yachts finished they where directed to berth in the hurriedly completed Marina Park facilities being developed on the Miri waterfront by The Samling Group which will become Sarawak's first marina for pleasure craft.
After a lay day racing continues with 2 days of harbour racing in front of the Park City Hotel and Marina Park for the Miri Bay Regatta (Oct 24 - 25) with a further 4 windward / leeward races before the overall champion is produced from a yacht that has successfully competed in all 3 phases of the event. The big yachts will be joined for the final 2 days by a contingent of dinghy sailors from the Piasau Boat Club that has produced many past 420, Laser and Optimist champions for Malaysia.