Team Jelik from Hong Kong competing in the 12th Royal Langkawi International Regatta on Jan 15, 2014. — GLENN GUAN / The Star
LANGKAWI: Malaysian Armed Forces’ Utarid kicked into high gear to nick their first victory in Race Four of the 12th Royal Langkawi International Regatta (RLIR).
It was a close one as Utarid took the race in 1’34:16. Australia’s Oi!, skippered by Peter Ahern, finished in1’34:51 to pip Armed Forces’ Uranus (1’34.56) to second spot by a mere five seconds, thus preventing a Malaysian 1-2 finish in the Racing Class competition on Wednesday.
Utarid skipper First Warrant Officer Ishak Jap, was delighted with the win in Race Four but is worried they might have exploded too early.
“We did very well today in Race Four. We managed to correct some of our mistakes (yesterday), but there’s still a few kinks to work out. It was a shorter course, and I didn’t expect for us to explode like we did,” said Ishak, a 20-year veteran with the Royal Malaysian Navy.
“I don’t want it to be a repeat of last year when we took the first race and it turned out to be our only win ... we need to give it our all in the remaining races to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
In Race Five, last year’s runners-up Jelik, with Frank Pong at the helm, bounced back after some difficulties in day one to take their first win in 2’14:38.
Oi! (2’17:35) and Utarid (2’20.59) came in second and third respectively.
With a win in the pocket, Pong said that he’s very much looking forward to sailing round the islands on Thursday as opposed to what he calls the “boring” up and down the course in previous races.
“Some people say ‘this Frank Pong likes to sail around the island because he has a big boat’. But it’s far from just that. We’re here in Langkawi and I want to enjoy the beauty of the Langkawi islands and not just sail up and down,” said Pong, the Asian Yachting Grand Prix Skipper of the Year.
Oi! still lead the standings for the Prime Minister’s Challenge Trophy with a score of five from five races, with Uranus (nine) second and Utarid (10) third.
Jelik of Hong Kong are fourth with 12, followed by Australia’s Katsu fifth (18) and Russia’s Lero 3 (24) sixth.