LANGKAWI: Malaysian sailor Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy has his younger sister Khairunhanna to thank for an opportunity to sail with Team Hollywood at this year’s Royal International Langkawi Regatta (RLIR).
Khairunhanna, 22, made a request to skipper Ray Roberts to allow her 26-year-old brother to sail with the professional team.
The Perak Malaysia Games (Sukma) gold medallist Khai-runhanna considers Roberts as a father figure, who has taught her a lot about sailing. It’s her third time sailing with Team Hollywood.
And Khairulnizam, who has competed in the regatta four times previously, was singing her praises.
“She’s the one who made it happen. I have to thank her for everything,” said Khairulnizam yesterday after Team Hollywood won the “around the island course”, their sixth consecutive race win in the 17th edition of the regatta.
“It’s not easy to join a professional team such as this. They are at a different level.”
Defending champions TH72 finished behind Team Hollywood in all the races.
Team Hollywood won the race yesterday with a corrected finish time of 3’19:15 while TH72 came in second with a time of 3’24:28. Uranus were (3’42:19) third.
Olympian Khairulnizam, who has two SEA Games gold medals to his name, said while team sailing was different from individual events, the experience with Team Hollywood was useful.
“I’ve gained knowledge in planning, decision making and managing the starts among other things,” said Khairulnizam, who will be competing in this year’s SEA Games in the Philippines and the World Championships in Japan.
Team Hollywood have five points while TH72 have ten points with Malaysian boat SCS Janda Baik third with 18 points.
Navy teams Uranus and Zuhal are tied on 20 points each.
Both the IRC1 and IRC2 race class series are still wide open, with Matahari KL Registry (eight points) ahead of Russian team Megazip (11 points) and Japanese team Char Chan (12 points) in the IRC1.
Yesterday saw East Emagine Marine won their first race of the series, ahead of MegaZip and Matahari.
In the IRC 2 series, APW Endeavour of Whitby are ahead with eight points while Phoenix and The Blue Angel have nine and 11 points respectively.