LANGKAWI: Australia’s Oi! took advantage of the champagne sailing conditions to take the first three races of the Racing Class competition at the 12th edition of the Royal Langkawi International Regatta (RLIR).
Skippered by three-time winner of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Trophy Peter Ahern, Oi! are in the lead after winning in 1’29:49 (Race One), 1’28:06 (Race Two) and 1’35:10 (Race Three).
“It’s just fantastic ... it’s a wonderful place to sail – feels like I’ve come back to an old home. The conditions were perfect – flat water, good wind and a nice race course. It just ticked all the boxes,” said Ahern, who is back competing in the RLIR after a nine-year absence.
“The local boys are also doing very well. They’ve improved and are doing a good job out there.”
Trailing closely behind are Uranus of the Malaysian Armed Forces, skippered by Mohd Razali Mansor. Uranus managed second placing in all three races – clocking 1’30:07 (Race One), 1’30:28 (Race Two) and 1’36:18 (Race Three).
Razali revealed that Uranus arrived in Langkawi three days before the race to check the wind conditions and find advantage spots on the course, a move which paid off on Tuesday.
“We got a good start for day one. We were able to use what we learnt over the past three days. Overall, we had a good race but we still made a couple of mistakes here and there. Hopefully, we can have these same conditions in the coming days and give Oi! a real fight,” said Razali, who thanked the Armed Forces and the Royal Malaysian Navy for lending them the Uranus.
Forces’ Utarid also bounced back after finishing fifth (1’34:22) in Race One to finish third in Race Two (1’31:57) and Three (1’38:50).
Meanwhile, it was harsh luck for last year’s runners-up Jelik of Hong Kong as they were unable to start Race Three after the halyard of the main sail broke.
Malaysia’s Lero 3 also ran into trouble late in Race Two as the spinnaker (a special type of sail) became trapped under the boat (as they took it down) and was torn. They were unable to finish the race and did not start Race Three.
The RLIR, which started on Monday, ends on Saturday.