The forecast was for wet weather in February, and race organizers were cautiously hopeful for some decent breeze to take sailors on a long passage race along the East Johor Straits. Their optimism, as well as the sharing of the racing area with CSC ILCA Open resulted in the raising of the pennant 1 course – supposedly taking sailors to Frontier, back to Lavis Buoy and returning to the Club line for the finish. However, the weather conditions had other plans for them – as participants faced scorching heat, conflicting storms, strong tides and varying wind direction / strength across the straits. This eventually prompted a shortened course for the Multihulls (U Flag – round Serangoon and return to for the Club for the finish) and a shortened course for IRC & PY Keelboats at Serangoon. On the fleet’s approach to Frontier, a pod of dolphins/porpoise? were spotted by sailors on Marut and Skybird, a much welcomed relief from the hot mid-day sun.
After last year’s solo participation, Jaza Too is now joined by Tri Harder to make it a pair of Corsairs in the Multihull Class. Unfortunately, the conditions proved too much for the OMR winners from last week’s Trimaran Championship, with the skipper & crew making the collective decision to retire midway through the race. With that, Jaza Too returned to her lonely ways up front – finishing comfortably ahead of the remaining keelboats on the course.
In the PY Keelboat Class, new entry Firstlight boasts the longest LOA of the fleet – a cool 50 feet of the Beneteau First Series. It was then also no doubt that we see her being the first PY boat to finish the race at Serangoon. Following her was her smaller sister, the Beneteau First 40.7 – Silhouette. After a string of successful campaigns in the Signature Sundays and the Two-Island Race, she continues her fine run with a win on corrected time, just 2 minutes ahead of Firstlight. The only other boat in the fleet to persevere and finish the race took 3rd – congratulations Marut! One can’t help but think it had something to do with the dolphin sighting.
In a battle of symmetrical and asymetrical spinnakers on the downwinds, Minx had a slight edge over 2021’s winner – Waka Tere. The 2 were neck and neck, with the former doing well to hold her own up front. Their patience and endurance paid off, as they successfully fended off the relentless pursuit of the Nelson 10 to claim victory in the IRC Class. The only other boat in the IRC Fleet (Skybird) succumbed to the strong outgoing tide and a nasty wind hole at the Pasir Ris Fish Farms on her approach to Serangoon Buoy, eventually raising the white flag by dropping her sails to retire.
Congratulations to all the winners – have a good rest and see you all on 5 and 6 March for the final instalment of the CSC NE Monsoon Sailing Festival. Next week we welcome all the beach catamaran sailors to race in the annual CSC Catamaran Championships, we hope for decent winds on both weekends!