Yesterday’s 40-mile Raffles International/DaimlerChrysler Race during the Singapore Straits Regatta saw an early start at the Raffles Marina

Yesterday’s 40-mile Raffles International / DaimlerChrysler Race during the Singapore Straits Regatta saw an early start at the Raffles Marina. The long start line was crowded towards the committee boat end but as the start flag was raised the whole fleet surged across the line. Into the lead was Pla Loma from Thailand, skippered by Keith Moore and just behind was Karakoa from the Philippines and Hi Fidelity from Hong Kong. Almost immediately spinnakers were hoisted and the race ran downwind in a splash of colour.

Neil Pryde, skipper of Hi Fidelity found that he was covered by the leading boats Pla Loma and Karakoa. Wherever he went the leading boats would block him and spoil his air. With little option Hi Fidelity made the decision to gybe away from the leading pack and search for clear air. This decision would prove decisive for within the hour they had found fresh breeze while Pla Loma and Karakoa were left stranded in a hole of marginal wind.

Stella meanwhile was also keeping pace with the leaders. The defending champion who had a disastrous start to the regatta the previous day when she ran aground, was determined to make amends and do justice to her reputation. As Pla Loma and Karakoa got left in the hole Hi Fidelity and Stella found eight knots of breeze and pressed forwards. But the steady monsoon winds of the previous few weeks were not so dominant and smaller local weather systems swept over the course creating shifting winds of varying strength.

With wind speeds declining, the committee made the decision to shorten the course by 10 miles. Of course as this happened the winds returned but at the end of a good race (subject to a late protest from Karakoa) it was Neil Pryde’s Hi Fidelity who took a second win of the regatta, this time ahead of Stella and in third Karakoa.

‘B’ division and the Performance Handicap class seemed to have another set of problems ranging from missed gates to big holes in the wind. As for shallow spots, Team Hooters found the solitary pinnacle off Buffalo Rock. In a scene reminiscent of a crash test dummy clip, the Sydney 36 went from hero to zero in less than a boat length. No major damage was sustained and hopefully the delightfully tacky and unrefined crew will be back in force for the short course sector.

Racing A

1st Hi Fidelity,Neil Pryde, HK

2nd Stella, Warwick Downes, HK

3rd Karakoa, Ray Ordaveza, PHI

Racing B

1st Next Page, Steve Walker, SIN

2nd Tempest, Chia Meng Tze, SIN

3rd Rainbow Dream, Ong Siong Kai, SIN

Performance Handicap

1st Joan Marie, Graham Lind, SIN

2nd Cassandra, Chris Schuler, SIN

3rd Dandong Sayang, Udo Beyer, Sin