So. Much. Rain. The first instalment of the annual Signature Sunday Series was plagued with an incessant downpour throughout the entire day, leaving sailors soaked to the bone as they persevered for over 3 hours in the wet and cold to complete the circumnavigation of Pulau Ubin.
It was a miserable first half hour after the start, as sailors struggled with an outgoing tide and extremely light air – claiming a number of casualties. Escaping the situation near unscathed was Kublai Khan, skippered by Scott McCook. Having placed 3rd in last year’s Round Ubin Challenge and winning last year’s Round Tekong Race on a Weta, Scott commenced this year’s challenge in pole position, chased by the smallest multihull in the fleet, Tantrum. The remaining 5 Multihulls had to play catch-up, as they grappled to escape the misery at the start line. Kublai Khan eventually took line honours and victory by a comfortable margin – thankfully with the wind settling in as well. After a poor start, Bula redeemed herself on the course, clawing her way back to 2nd, placing well ahead of Phoenix and Tantrum. of the 2 challengers, the little Tantrum excelled in the light winds and edged ahead on corrected time, claiming 3rd on the podium in the Multihull Class.
The PY Keelboat Class was represented by a total of 6 Keelboats, with defending champions Brio returning to contend for the 2024 Challenge Trophy. She faced stiff competition in the form of Waka Tere (winner of the 2023 Round Tekong Race, IRC) as well as Marut (previously held the Round Ubin record when she was named Dream). Amidst late starts, poor visibility and unpredictable winds, all three boats featured on the podium. Marut scored her first win of 2024, executing a good start and out-sailing the fleet to place 2nd across the line and 1st on corrected time. Brio’s less-than-ideal start may have costed her title, but it was a solid recovery from the sonar as she was a deserving runner-up. Also having to recover from a poor start, Waka Tere performed well despite the odds – rewarding Kurt and Gill with line honours and a respectable 3rd. We also had a visiting yacht joining us for the NE Monsoon Sailing Festival – RSYC Dua! Unfortunately her inexperience sailing in these waters showed yesterday, as she passed Serangoon Buoy on the wrong side – squandering her best efforts to circumnavigate Ubin.
In the IRC Class, we see a revival of the fleet. Silhouette and Jong Dee return to join the fray after a long hiatus, boosting the class to 5 on the start line. We also had guest(s) of honour sailing on Minx, daughter and grand-daughter of the late Mr Lock Hong Kit. Uncle Kit was an esteemed Member of Changi Sailing Club, and had made significant contributions to the sailing community in Singapore. His knowledge and experience in sailing and racing was second to none, and the round ubin challenge was his favourite race in the annual sailing calendar. We are proud to name this race after him, and happy to have his family continue sailing with us. Adona mounted an admirable title defense in the IRC Class, but fell victim to the doldrums on the final stretch to finish. Despite claiming line honours, her lead was insufficient to fend off archrivals Jellico, whose time of 3hr 38mins 15 sec while nowhere near the fastest was sufficient to unseat the J29 and score victory on corrected time. Minx and her special guests onboard sailed a good race as well, completing the podium in 3rd.
Not exactly fun conditions for the beach catamaran class this Sunday, as the crew aboard the 2 vipers were exposed to the elements over the entire afternoon. Kudos to Addiction and Twisted Creature for braving the weather to complete the circumnavigation. The former crossed the line ahead despite her late start (as usual), successfully defending her title for 2 consecutive years.
Congratulations to all the winners! It was great to see a healthy turn-out of 20 boats on the start line for the first race of the NE Monsoon Sailing Festival. Although winds were atypical, we’re just glad we managed to secure the first race of the season! Fingers crossed, less rain and more winds for next week’s Felkin Race – see you then.