To be one with the sea
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.