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Singapore Straits Regatta: calmer conditions on race day two

The boats getting into position, Singapore Straits Regatta. (Credit Singapore Straits Regatta)

The boats getting into position, Singapore Straits Regatta. (Credit Singapore Straits Regatta)

Thankfully, the sea was calmer and amount of incidents were lower on the second day of the 20th Singapore Straits Regatta.

A Swell Race

The first race got off at 11AM with 10 vessels taking part in their respective races. Conditions were markedly different that the previous day when confused seas, high winds and stormy weather wrecked havoc on the fleet. Today’s North Easterly winds were about half of what they were yesterday with an average wind speed of about 10 to 12 knots with gusts up to 20 knots. Skies were clear at times but it remained overcast for most of the races. Swells were still close to the two-meter mark but their frequency, the distance between them, was much longer than the
previous day, which helps create less choppy seas. Race officials also shortened today’s course.

“Sailing was a lot smoother today,” explained Gordon Maxted who skippered Shoon Fung Too. And the New Zealand born Maxted should know; he’s taken part in all the Singapore Straits Regattas since their beginning way back in 1995.

Blue Note racing on day two. (Credit Singapore Straits Regatta)

Blue Note racing on day two. (Credit Singapore Straits Regatta)

Sailing is Fun

When asked about the amount of difficulties that plagued yesterday’s races, Maxted reflected and said, “I think it might be that we train under less severe conditions in Singapore. Gear really gets tested in this regatta.” Beaming a big smile he added, “Even with the all difficulties and challenging weather, I can tell you that my team and I had fun out there and that’s what sailing is all about.”

Maxted even related that, “I have so much confidence in my kids [team], they’ll be taking the boat back to Singapore tomorrow without me. They’re a great bunch and they love sailing and the challenge that the regatta brings.” Tomorrow, Maxted will sail his other boat at Nongsa Point back to the Republic himself.

At tonight’s awards ceremony, Shoon Fung Too took top honors for winning five out of her six races here at Nongsa Point, Batam. The awards dinner, held at the Nongsa Point Marina and Resort celebrated the end of Batam portion of the regatta. Tomorrow will see the fleet make its way back to Singapore in a final race. At this evening’s awards dinner participants had an extra reason to smile — all boats that participated in the Nongsa leg of the regatta received a case of San Miguel beer as an added reward for their sailing efforts.

The J24 Shengli suffers a broken rudder on race day two. (Credit Singapore Straits Regatta)

The J24 Shengli suffers a broken rudder on race day two. (Credit Singapore Straits Regatta)

A Boat Loses Her Way

While conditions were less extreme than yesterday, there still were a few notable upsets. Seah Cheong Hock’s J24 Shengli suffered a broken rudder at the beginning of the second race. According to team member Wai Chong, “The tiller arm snapped off due to some decayed wood.”

While broken tillers can be frustrating, one of the marker/safety vessels had a worse fate—she capsized and almost sank right before race number three got underway. It appears that the little boat got slammed by a couple of really large swells and floundered. Fortunately, there were no injuries—only wet clothing and bruised egos. The crew of four were picked up by rescue craft. The crew did try to right the boat but were unsuccessful due to the large swells. Still, the boat didn’t sink and she was safely towed back to the marina. As this year’s race director, Huzaini Ibrahim, pointed out, “While there may have been a few incidents, our rigorous training and safety protocols all worked as they should. So this was a safe race.”As one old timer on the dock observed, “The sea can be a dangerous place—even in relatively good weather.”

By Nicolette Goh


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