On Christmas eve we ate and danced our way to midnight with music provided by a local band that played quite good Reggae music considering that the home of that music originated on the other side of the globe and their first language is not English, they did a good job. The pronunciation of some of the words was interesting and the lyrics also changed from Trench town to Phuket town caused much amusement.
No, woman, no cry
Said I remember when we used to sit
In the government yard in Trench town
Oba, ob-serving the hypocrites
As they would mingle with the good people we meet
Good friends we have had, Oh, good friends we've lost along the way
In this great future you can't forget your past
So dry your tears, I say
No, woman, no cry
Ee little darling, don't shed no tears
No, woman, no cry
Hey, this just sets me off humming this tune again.
We spent the evening with Andrew, Carolyn and their daughter Mara from the cat Fantasia (arguably the fastest performance cruiser in Australia).
New Year is a time for great celebration and Patong does it as good as anywhere else. So that’s where we headed. Sin City it might be but people were happy and in the mood for fun. The pole dancers were sexy and the lady boys were out in force but the people we encountered were exuberant but well behaved and good natured. Lots of Russians out here, they do not seem as friendly as the locals.
The fireworks though are something else, health and safety – what is that? The powers that be in modern western civilizations would be horrified.
Rockets are let off on the beach, pointing towards the sea – our boats on anchor, sitting ducks. Also the Chinese lanterns were let off in their hundreds. We only got one caught in our rigging and fortunately the fire was out and no damage resulted. We stayed on our boats until things calmed down a bit. Firecrackers are ignited on the pavements and in shopping arcades. It seemed like a war zone at times. But, I don’t think there were any casualties.
We spent the first part of the evening with Bluemoon and friends. We then hit the town, Fantasia and Plane Sailing were there too but we soon got separated in the crowds.
Next major event was the Langkawi regatta. I had to go to Penang to get my sun burnt lip checked out so decided if we could get a crew we would sail in this regatta before heading to Penang. Welcome aboard Peter – and we were on our way. First event was the Champagne run – a race more than 100 miles down the coast to the island of Langkawi.
I did not like the format of this race as it would be a normal start and meant that my only competitor, Fantasia, would sail over the horizon from me in the first hour. I decided that I would do my own pursuit start even if it meant I was disqualified and informed the organizers.
Anyway we sailed all day and all night, we were already over 100 miles down the track when we got our first glimpse of Fantasia on the horizon behind us. We had about an hour to go. Hey this certainly got the adrenaline going on both boats. They spotted our spinnaker and immediately dropped their screecher in favour of the more powerful kite. They beat us over the line by 3 minutes – now if that was not close over a race distance of 115 miles, what is?
I seemed to have gained a few converts for this race format, not sure what the feeling would have been had I won. Great party and reception that evening at Telaga harbour plus a bottle of Champagne!
Then off to Langkawi for the real racing. Round the buoys and one round the island race. We were the slowest in the catamaran class and were given a handicap that reflected this. It at least gave us a chance in the event.
But we were up against cats that had some pedigree:
“Fantasia” 50’ + that won line honours in the Darwin to Ambon race by 6 hours! And also line honours in the recent race from Penang to Langkawi in the Raja Muda series. Sailed by Andrew Stransky
“Nina” 11.6m Andaman Cabriolet - a super light cat used essentially for racing sailed by defending champion Grenville Fordham who has won this regatta twice in a row already
“Sea Level”, a 50’+ Schionning one of the top Australian design for fast cruising cats. Sailed by ex American Marine - James Milski
“Mind the Gap”, 46’ Dufour Nautitech charter cruiser.
Day 1 had the strongest and most reliable wind and the committee gave us 2 races on that day. It proved to be our best day with 2 second places. It was all gradually downhill from there.
We had 7 races in total with one discard. As the regatta progressed so the winds became lighter and more fickle. In less than 5 knots of wind we have very little steerage and this proves especially difficult when there is also current to contend with. With each passing day it became more and more evident that we would not be able to hold onto 2nd place. In the end we only held onto 3rd overall through a count back situation.
Receiving our trophy for 3rd place overall, Lorna and Peter on my left.
The only place we could compete was on the start line and in 6/7 starts we were the best or joint best and it certainly helped us hang on in the early part of each race.
Here are some press reports of the racing – just click
video clips also..
Day 1 http://youtu.be/YwzaFZXb8EM
Day 2 http://youtu.be/gpXQxpEkfkE
Day 3 http://youtu.be/0HRWrkX3eRo
Day 4 http://youtu.be/cPborNcjvK0
Day 5 http://youtu.be/fGDj1u7HCsY
The parties and social events were something special and although the regatta does did not have the numbers that I have seen at some events, the enthusiasm and organization left nothing to be desired. It may not have been the most competitive regatta but it certainly was fun. Congratulations to all for a very successful event.
Here I am celebrating with my good friend Jimmy skipper of Sea Level.
After one of our races one of the crew from the boat next door caught our lines and helped us dock successfully. This was William, he made such a good impression that we invited him to sail with us the next day. He was quite a revelation, although not that experienced a racer, his enthusiasm and willingness to learn and get on with it made him of great value during the racing.
After our period of grace (and favour) for the regatta at the marina expired, we left for Penang.
We have spent all our time here at the luxurious Straits Quay marina and enjoying the nightly events leading up to Chinese new year. William and his family are all doctors and we have enjoyed several meals out with them. What wonderful and gracious hosts the Chinese make.
We are just loving it here but once the treatment for my lip is concluded we will be headed off to Thailand once again.