To be one with the sea

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gam­ble that the wind will change in the mid­dle of the night. It is a com­bi­na­tion of skill, knowl­edge and luck.” said Har­ris, who is also vice chair­man of the RMSIR or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee as well as the Royal Se­lan­gor Yacht Club’s Sail­ing Sec­re­tary.

Best kept se­cret

For Pozzey, RMSIR has also turned out to be a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity as he runs a busi­ness where peo­ple can pay to join a rac­ing yacht.

“It started with a re­gatta in Aus­tralia called the Hamil­ton Is­land race week. We have two to three boats and it is now a cor­po­rate event.

“The busi­ness de­vel­oped from there. Af­ter a cou­ple of years, some- one sug­gested that we should do it in other places, and so we started in Koh Sa­mui (Thai­land), Tahiti, and then here in Malaysia. This is our sec­ond con­sec­u­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in RMSIR,” said Pozzey, who is char­ter­ing Baby Tonga from Smith for both RMSIR and the fol­low­ing King’s Cup Race in Phuket, Thai­land.

It was a re­fer­ral from a friend that led Pozzey to con­sider ex­pand­ing his busi­ness to in­clude RMSIR af­ter do­ing some re­search on the re­gatta. “It was good, and we had a lot of fun. RMSIR is dif­fer­ent from other re­gat­tas as it has three pas­sage off­shore races that even run well into the night. Other re­gat­tas are mostly in day­time.”

Ac­cord­ing to Ma­zlan Shar­iff, a 58-year-old Malaysian mar­ket­ing con­sul­tant who just did his 10th con­sec­u­tive RMSIR, the at­trac­tion of RMSIR is that there is al­ways some­thing new about it.

“You are sail­ing from port to port in dif­fer­ent weath­ers. You also meet dif­fer­ent peo­ple and new boats each year. Half of the peo­ple do RMSIR ev­ery year, the other half are new,” he said.

On RMSIR, Ma­zlan added that many Malaysians are not aware of its ex­is­tence. “It could be due to the lack of pub­lic­ity, and it could be a case of peo­ple not even read­ing about it, un­like with foot­ball or ten­nis.

“No doubt, the re­gatta or­gan­is­ers try very hard to pro­mote it, and the pro­mo­tion is do­ing quite well over­seas, but not in Malaysia. Even friends of mine are not aware about it.”

RMSIR has re­mained a strong at­trac­tion for English­man John Lit­tle, 67, who par­tic­i­pated for the sixth time, this time as more of a on-board spec­ta­tor, rather than an ac­tive sailor.

Lit­tle’s first taste of RMSIR was in 2002, and he thought that the re­gatta has fea­tured very good sailors, such as Madej.

“The feel­ing of be­ing at sea at night is very serene one. And then, you also get to see fly­ing fish, dol­phins and lo­cal fish­er­men. But what makes it unique is the overnight pas­sage races, which you don’t get at other re­gat­tas,” said the re­tired pro­duc­tion engi­neer who has trav­elled to more than 80 coun­tries.

Ac­cord­ing to Har­ris, the event is rea­son­ably well-known among ex­pats. “But Malaysians don’t know too much about it, even though we do have quite many Malaysians in­volved in sail­ing, some pro­fes­sion­ally. No doubt, it is a bit hard for peo­ple to watch as the event is out there in the sea.”

Other than be­ing a splen­did race in its own right, RMSIR also func­tions as a good warm-up for the en­su­ing Phuket King’s Cup Re­gatta (Nov 30 to Dec 6) in Thai­land, which co­in­cides with the Thai King’s birth­day.

For me, sail­ing for the very first time af­forded me the op­por­tu­nity to ap­pre­ci­ate the power of the sea, the steady push of the tides, and how won­der­ful it was to see the set­ting sun from a ma­rine set­ting. Be­ing on a sail boat is also a way to see physics in ac­tion, when the boats lean over at 45° or more, with­out top­pling into the sea.

And I am still won­der­ing why this event re­mains one of Malaysia’s best kept se­crets.

Next year’s edi­tion of RMSIR (www.rmsir.com), which marks its sil­ver ju­bilee, will be from Nov 14 to 22. To get a taste of com­pet­i­tive sail­ing at RMSIR with­out ac­tu­ally be­com­ing a sailor, check out www. sailin­gad­ven­tures.com.au.

Key fac­tors: de­spite their fa­mil­iar­ity with lo­cal waters, the royal malaysia Navy’s boat, utarid (right), fin­ished near the bot­tom of its class. this proves that sound judg­ment of the pre­vail­ing wind and tides are im­por­tant in win­ning a race.

Sail­ing adventures, owned by brian Pozzey (pic) char­tered baby tonga to give cus­tomers – both be­gin­ners and old hands – an in­ter­est­ing sail­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at the rmSIr.

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