With the North East Monsoon scheduled to blow strong and true for the period of January to March, Changi Sailing Club was excited to organized a new event at a new location – Lagoi Bay, Bintan.
As part of the Club’s efforts to retain the Nongsa Regatta sailing dates, the Bintan Regatta was conceived as an alternative location and event to the regatta many sailors were accustomed to. traditionally held on the last weekend of January, the Nongsa Regatta could not happen this year due to a clash of dates with the Nongsa Neptune Regatta. As such, a quick turn-around to find an alternative racing location led us to Bintan, Lagoi Bay.
Despite the initial strong interest, lack of crew, leave and abrupt life plans meant that only a fleet of 6 boats could make it to Bintan for this inaugural event. Many thanks to Minx, Waka Tere, Silhouette, Olmeto, Ikaroa, Bula and Kaatabuggi for making time and coordinating crew to make this event happen!
On the day of arrival, wind conditions were near-perfect. North-Easterly breeze blowing strong, coupled with no rain meant that sailors had an enjoyable sail from Changi Sailing Club to Bandar Bentan Telani (BBT). Although the CIQP process took awhile, it was relatively smooth, eventually clearing all participants to take the transport to Grand Lagoi Hotel, the accommodation partners for this event.
At the Hotel, a welcome dinner greeted the sailors, hosted on the 7th floor at bar7 restaurant. the dining outlet boasts a great view of the island, a most appropriate introduction to the 1st Bintan Regatta! The evening was a well-coordinated one, attended by distinguished guests from Bintan Resorts Cakrawala (co-organisers), Bintan Tourism Office and other government agencies. Sailors were treated to traditional indonesian music and dance performances, paired with delicious food prepared by the culinary team from Grand Lagoi Hotel.
Fast-forward to day 1 of racing, the breeze came from a northerly direction, accompanied by a light rain and ominous dark clouds in the horizon. By the time sailors made it the BBT, the visibility had dropped to unsafe levels, prompting the Race Committee to put up the AP Flag, signaling a postponement. After almost 3 hours of waiting, the Race Committee eventually decided to pull the plug, raising the AP over A signal, inviting sailors to close up their boats and return to the hotel for an early rest. The weather showed no signs of letting up, with skies clearing for a brief moment in the afternoon before returning to poor visibility and foamy seas in the evening.
Plans were made to start the race earlier tomorrow, together with a traditional Jong Exhibition display by the locals at 8am. Fingers crossed the weather gets better, allowing for at least 3 races to be conducted before we conclude this inaugural sailing regatta. All the best to the participating teams!