Belt & Road Royal Langkawi International Regatta 2020
“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.” – John F. Kennedy
Langkawi, 14 January 2020 – Entering its 18th year since its inception, the Royal Langkawi International Regatta (RLIR) once again makes an appearance taking place at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club (RLYC) from the 6th to the 11th January 2020. Launched as the first event of the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign, the RLIR makes its historical mark for the first time ever, promising an adrenaline filled and exciting race for all participants. The event hosted 5 days of racing with all sail boats moving back and forth from Kuah Harbour to the West Coast along the islands surrounding Langkawi. BONSERRA was invited to attend and support this exciting annual sporting event in hopes that more people are aware of the great activities organised by Royal Langkawi.
The Regatta event is an annual happening organised by RLYC in an effort to continue positioning Malaysia and Langkawi as a prominent sailing location while promoting sailing and boosting sports tourism within the country. This year’s race brought a mix of courses from an array of boat classes such as the Racing class, IRC 1 class, IRC 2 class, Club Cruising class, Sports Boat class, Multihull class and White Sail class bringing in an international crowd from Netherlands, China, Thailand, United Kingdom, Great Britain, United States of America, Russia, Japan, Australia, Denmark, Australia, Singapore and our very own Malaysians!
There were 7 trophies and awards up for grabs, namely the Prime Minister’s Challenge Trophy, LADA-IRC Challenge Trophy, RLIR-IRC Challenge Trophy, Commodore’s Challenge Cup, Langkawi Sports Trophy, Malaysia Multihull Challenge Cup and the ever so prestigious Tunku Abdullah Sportsmanship Award which was presented to one team for fair racing and comradeship, on water and land, as a tribute to the late Founding Chairman and the first Commodore of the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club (RLYC), Almarhum Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
Race Day 1 – 7 January 2020
The day started early with all participants giving a one minute silence at sea, held at 9.25am in honour of Captain Marty who’s unfortunate passing has affected many in the industry. His contributions to the RLIR will always be remembered what more with his tedious and well written reports dating back to the beginning of RLIR 18 years ago.
Once respect and honour had been given to those who had fallen, it could be seen that all racers were raring to flex their speed at sea. The weather conditions favoured the racers on the day with 10 knots of wind picking up to 20 knots by 11.30am and steadily decreasing up till the end of the race. It was evident that all 29 registered boats covering seven classes, were ready to make their mark for the 10 races taking place during the week.
Team Hollywood, skippered by Ray, the previous year’s winners of the Racing Class and recipient of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Trophy won all three races in its class on the day. However, a successful protest by THA72 saw them taken down to third place with EfileConnect moving up to first and THA72 at second. Meanwhile, the IRC Class 1 saw Char Chan skippered by Kazuki Kihara winning two of the three races followed by Vincent Chan’s Mata Hari, the overall class winners from the previous year.
In the IRC Class 2, Niels Degenkolw’s Phoenix, a regular participant of the RILR shot their way to the top of the table by winning the first two races followed by The Blue Angel skippered by Jeremy Camps which grabbed the first place in the third race due to lighter airs. In the Sports Boat Class, MSA-MSN, the pride of Malaysian navy boats secured first place in the category!
Gerhard Pils’ Fetz Ma, the smallest boat entering the regatta this year made headlines by making their way to victory in the Multihull class beating Allegro as they broke their start line in the second race. The Club Class on the other hand saw Wind of Change coming first ahead of VG Offshore and Gwell took the honours of first place in the Classic Division.
The first day proved to be a fruitful start to all, but the race had just begun. Racers were eager to gear up and improve their game for the days to come.
Race Day 2 – 8 January 2020
The second day began with stronger winds of 15 knots from the North East and waves were on a high, crashing against every boat present at sea. The start boat, recognisable through its navigation light was anchored about one nautical mile east of Pulau Enggang creating a mini lighthouse for all boats to see.
At 9.30am, the race began starting with the Racing Class followed by IRC1, IRC2, Multihulls, Club Cruising, White Sail as well as Sports Boat. By 11am, the wind had gone down to 10 knots and most classes had already began their second race of the day. Racers enjoyed a day with decent wind till the end with it dropping to only 6 knots by noon, marking the end of the race. By the end of it, The Racing, IRC1, IRC2 and Sports Boats enjoyed two races while the other remaining categories only managed one.
Team Hollywood, skippered by Ray Roberts was successful in winning both races and got themselves back at the top of the table followed by THA72 skippered by Don Witchcraft on the day and efileConnect headed by Rolf Heemskerk at third place. On to the IRC1 class, the Char Chan skippered by Kazuki Kihara dominated both races making a lead in their class ahead of Geoff Masters’ Meraki and Mata Hari KL Registry.
In the IRC2 class, Discovery Sailing Asia – Gateway Ichi had withdrew from the race and was renamed Beihai China, crewed by the Zhufeng Sailing team from China. The Beihai China team and Danish skipper Niels Degenkolw, heading his team on Phoenix each won one race. The Sports Boat class on the other hand saw the pride of Malaysia, MSA-MSN once again topping the list.
The Multihull class only managed to complete one race on the day and first place went to Bob McIntyre’s Allegro who came second previously. It was clear that Gerhard Pil’s Fetz Ma found it tough to navigate through the choppy waters being the smallest boat in the regatta. The Club, White Sail and Classic Challenge class also only managed one race. Wind of Change topped the table while VG Offshore was deemed disqualified and fell from second place to last. Malaysian Chantique on the other hand took the honour in the White Sail class. Specific to the Classic Challenge class, Xavier Le Henaff’s Gwell came first again followed by Eveline skippered by Dato Richard Curtis.
Race Day 3 – 9 January 2020
The third day offered something special to the participants as it was the Round Island race where all boats were to sail around the islands surrounding Langkawi, giving them the opportunity to use the landscape to their advantage. The winds were once again in the favour of fellow racers with 17 knots recorded from the North East. The Club and White Sail classes were given a headstart and Eveline snatched the headlines by winning both the White Sail and Classic Challenge classes due to the excellent time recorded at sea.
With the wind recording up to 20 knots in speed at Kuah Harbour, Team Hollywood topped the Racing class once again followed by THA72 and the Windshiker in third place. The IRC1 saw an intense race with Meraki taking victory by only a 25-second gap between Char Chan who came in second. Phoenix once again took first place in the IRC2 class beating Beihai China and The Blue Angel who secured second and third place respectively.
Malaysia’s pride, the MSA-MSN skippered by Muhammad Uzzair once again secured top spot in the Sports Boat class making it a well earned hat-trick for him and the crew. Fetz Ma skippered by Gerhard Pils made a come back in the Multihull class beating the much bigger Allegro helmed by Bob McIntyre. Meanwhile, Marikh achieved victory on the day for the Club class and Sade 2, skippered by Keith Miller secured a solid second place. Chantique proved to be a worthy contender in the White Sail class but Eveline stole all the attention gaining victory in the Classic Challenge class.
Race Day 4 – 10 January 2020
It was decided by PRO Simon James that the fourth race day would include more harbor racing with a number of courses challenging the contestants to test their sailing skills. Once again, the sailors enjoyed great wind which started at about 15 knots from the North East, staying remarkably steady throughout the day enabling the Racing, IRC1, IRC2 and Sports Boat classes to enjoy three races around the beautiful waters of Kuah Harbour. The Multihull, Club and White Sail classes were given a longer downwind to start and given the opportunity to sail around the magnificent Pulau Singa Kecil.
The warning signal was made and off they started to sail at sea. Team Hollywood had a glorious day winning all three races, taking an undisputed lead within the Racing class category. The second, third and fourth place had a very narrow race with only minutes separating between them all. Char Chan displayed consistent results by winning all three races while Mata Hari KL Registry landed second.
Both the IRC 2 and Sports Boat classes started simultaneously completing three races altogether on the day. Exuding competitive vibes with a lot of hustle and bustle, Phonix managed to win all three races in the IRC2 category with only seconds separating them from the second place. The Navy 1 Platu skippered by Mohd Akiyuddin took the honours by winning all the three races as well in the Sportboat class.
The Multihull, Club and White Sail classes all started the race at once with 12 boats crossing the seas. VG Offshore somehow began the fight by flying their kite upside down but managed to strut themselves and gain second place behind Chantique who won both races in the White Sail class. Only managing to complete one race for the day, the Multihull class saw Gerhard Pil’s Fetz Ma continuing their winning streak prevailing over Allegro with a nail biting race to the finish line. Xavier Le Henaff’s Gwell once again took first place in the Classic Challenge class ahead of the century old Eveline.
Race Day 5 – 11 January 2020
The fifth and final day bared witness to a picturesque harbor within the range of Mat Chin Chang and Mount Gunung Raya dominating the view of the island. The race began with a steady 5 to 6 knot breeze from the East North East. This was more than enough for the Principal Race Officer, Simon James to set great courses for all seven classes to enjoy a memorable final day of race sailing.
Ray Roberts’ Team Hollywood once again claimed victory to record a tally of nine consecutive wins after a disappointing start, being disqualified in Race Day 1. Goes on to show the fighting spirit held by the team and crew to persevere and showcase their sailing talents. THA72 once again secured second place followed by efileConnect skippered by Rolf Heemskerk who were only behind by three seconds on corrected time.
The IRC1 class saw Vincent Chen’s Mata Hari gaining victory on the day followed by Kazuki Kihara’s Char Chan and Uminoko who were only 8 seconds behind. Niels Degenkolw secured their positioning by gaining victory, putting BeiHai China in second place. Once again, MSA-MSN showcased their prowess in the Sports Boat class by gaining another victory, proving their undisputed thirst for first place.
Bob McIntyre’s Allegro surprised the crowd as they gained victory over the much lighter Fetz Ma in the Multihull class. Marikh made their way to victory by a margin of only seven seconds ahead of VG Offshore within the Club Cruising class, proving to be a thrilling race for all to witness. Mohd Izzad’s Dash won the White Sail class putting Gwell and Chantique in second and third place respectively. Gwell also took first place in the Classic Chalenge due to the lighter wind.
Overall, each racer enjoyed a successful, well organised regatta hosting a total of 10 races over a 5 day competition period. This was all thanks to the great weather conditions surrounding the island of Langkawi, making the event a smooth sail without any hiccups from start to finish.
The overall results of the Belt & Road Royal Langkawi International Regatta 2020 are as follows:
Racing Class (Prime Minister’s Challenge Trophy)
- Team Hollywood Ray Roberts
- THA72 Don Whitcraft
- efileConnect Rolf Heemskerk
- Winsikher Nick Burns/ Sarab Singh
- Zuhal Salleh Ahmad
IRC1 (IRC1 Class Challenge Trophy)
- Char Chan Kazuki Kihara
- Mata Hari KL Registry Vincent Chan
- Meraki Geoff Masters
- Uminoko Evgeny Somin
IRC2 (IRC2 Class Challenge Trophy)
- Phoenix Niels Degenkolw
- Beihai China Zhufeng Sailing Team
- The Blue Angel Jeremy Camps
Sports Boat (Langkawi Sports Challenge Trophy)
- MSA-MSN Muhammad Uzzair
- Navy 1 Mohd Akiyuddin
- UMT Ku Anas
- My Gadis Nor Zuhaira Ruhanie
Multihulls (Malaysia Multihull Challenge Cup)
- Fetz Ma Gerhard Pils
- Allegro Bob McIntryre
Club Cruising (RLYC Commodore’s Challenge Cup)
- Wind of Change Andrey Bratan
- Marikh Muhammad Mustakim
- VG Offshore Rama Menon
- Sade 2 Keith Miller
- Dash Mohd Izzad
- Chantique A’dale Adham Ayahudin’
- Tofan Shah Azlan
- Gwell Xavier Le Hanaff
- Linda Woodrow Jack Christensen
- Eveline Dato Richard Curtis
- Gwell Xavier Le Hanaff
- Eveline Dato Richard Curtis
All of us from BONSERRA hope that this adrenaline pumping happening continues to run for years to come in the name of our country and the sporting event. We can’t wait to be part of International Regatta once more next year! Till then, fasten your seatbelts as more things are being planned this year. Watch this space.