After a 3 year hiatus from cruising / racing in Malaysia, it is with great relish that we resumed these precious activities in 2023 with the first ever CSC@Tioman Regatta. Inspired by the very successful pre-covid annual CSC@Besar Regatta , this event’s main objective was to bring sailors to a scenic destination for a week of casual racing and recreational activities. Scheduled on 17 – 23 June, the racing consists of 2 passage races: A challenging overnighter (CSC – Tioman) and a slightly more leisurely day-race (Round-Island).
CSC-Tioman Passage Race, 17-18 June
A total of 8 boats participated in the CSC-Tioman Passage Race, comprising of 7 Keelboats and 1 Multihull. The CIQP process prior to the start was smooth and uneventful, all thanks to the helpful ICA staff and transport operators ferrying our sailors from Changi Point Ferry Terminal to their boats post-clearance. With this new system, sailors no longer have to clear out of Singapore on water, aiding the logistics for running cross-border passage races.
Up north, Race Committee consisting of Choy and Edwin laid the groundwork in preparation for the fleet’s finishing, setting up the noticeboard, outdoor office (beach bar), finish mark, ferry service and CIQP facilitation. They were not alone, as they received fantastic support from the team at Berjaya Tioman Resort, together with the shipping agency in charge of CIQP and Port clearance.
The weather was unfortunately light and underwhelming at the start – thankfully picking up in the late morning to carry the fleet to Lima Channel within daylight hours. As the hours passed, not all boats managed to survive the crawl up north, as sailors were faced with extremely light to no breeze for many sections of the overnight passage. First to retire was JACKS, followed by Fei Yu, First Light and finally at the break of dawn – Birregurra. This half of the fleet may have been the smartest of the lot, as the remaining 4 teams persevered to race a maximum total of 31hrs, 35mins and 46 secs! This feat was achieved by Minx – and despite being the last boat to complete the passage, the X342 was victorious on handicap correction, having caught up on the final stretch between Tinggi and Tioman with a late but consistent Southwesterly breeze helping to close the gap between her and Silhouette. The Beneteau First 40.7 had no time to be looking back for her rivals, as she had her hands full with an exciting neck and neck photo-finish between her and the sole PY finisher, Invictus! The Mumm 30 emerged ahead in the battle, flying her spinnaker across the line in 31hrs, 8mins and 54 secs. Right at the top with a new passage record was none other than the dashing Bula! Following in the footsteps of the legendary Cicak from the previous editions of CSC@Besar Regatta, skipper Michael was accompanied by family, sailing all 26hrs, 21 mins and 55 secs with his daughter and her friend aboard. We look forward to Bula besting this timing next year!
Round-Island Race, 20 June
Following a much needed rest and recovery on Monday, 6 teams showed up for the start of the Round-Island Race. Determined to attempt the passage despite the dubious conditions, the sailors started on a positive note, embarking on the journey to circumnavigate the island in an anti-clockwise direction in about 6 knots of wind. Winds picked up as they approached Paya Beach, allowing leaders Silhouette to pull away from the fleet. She enjoyed solid breeze further offshore – in stark contrast to the 2 other boats in the IRC fleet, which made slow progress closer to land.
The strong winds were unsustainable, as Silhouette slowed on the approach to the south eastern tip of Tioman. It was then that the Race Committee decided to Shorten the Course in the vicinity of Pulo Jehat, allowing for the slower boats enough time to make their journey back to the anchorage in daylight.
Despite attaining line honours, Silhouette yet again succumbed to a late assault from Minx, taking 2nd place on corrected time. The difference between both boats this time was however much closer – the First 40.7 just over 4 minutes behind the X342 in a 3 hour race. In similar fashion, Invictus struggled to gain further distance on debutants Fei Yu – placing as runner-ups to the Flying Fish by a slim 3 minutes! In yet another amazing achievement, Bula attempted the Round-Island Race solo – completing the shortened version of the passage in a respectable 3hrs and 12 mins.
Recreation and Prize-Giving
In-between the racing, there were pockets of opportunities to participate in activities around the island. Sailors indulged in snorkeling, diving, trekking, archery and ATV tours – just to name a few. In the evenings, sailors met at the outdoor race office for a free-flow of cold beers and selected housepours. That coupled with live music every night kept the morale high for many crew members.
On the last evening, Prize-giving and BBQ Dinner was well-organized by the Team from Berjaya Tioman Resort. Clearly experienced in this field, the temporary outdoor stage, dinner set up and delicious BBQ buffet spread was a smooth and excellent arrangement. That paired with perfect weather and live music by Dansen John (singer-songwriter and musician based in singapore) made for a perfect ending to a terrific week in Tioman.
On this note, we would like to thank the following people / groups of people for supporting the event in various capacities:
- GM Simon Tan and Team from Berjaya Tioman Resort. A huge thank you to his very accommodating team which includes Selvam, Naza, Sheila, Wei, Chef Law and so many more. The hospitality and service from all staff was excellent – and that played a huge part in the success of this inaugural event.
- Ms Shahidah and Team. As our designated CIQP and Port Clearance officer in Tioman, she had been helpful and responsive throughout the week, going above and beyond for the boaters – documentation and communication was smooth and hassle-free.
- Ferry Service Team of Aci, Mubin and Ngah. Thank you for providing ferry service throughout the week and providing us with the safety boat for the round-island race!
- May Ling and CSC Admin Team. as CSC’s in-house CIQP and port clearance officer for SG, she was on standby around the clock from pre to post event, ensuring all boats are cleared in and out of Singapore safely and precisely.
- Dansen John – for the smooth tunes on our last night in Tioman!
Last but not least, thank you all sailors for supporting this event!
- Fei Yu
We are elated to have concluded this milestone regatta, and look forward to commencing plans to make this an annual tradition – returning for the next edition in 2024.