Raffles Marina Causeway Race :Difficult Decisions for the Singapore SB20 Fleet
Singapore has been going through a dry spell, however the weather gods decided that it was time to unleash a torrent of water on the island, unfortunately this coincided with the running of the Causeway Race on Saturday 20th March. No doubt the grey, drizzly conditions kept some crews at home (the first decision), 5 eager and not so eager SB3’s took to the water and joined the rest of the keelboats for a race from under the second link to the Causeway at Woodlands. With 2 husband and wife teams Bandit and Hullaballoo, the father and sons’ team on Glasgow Kiss, and the fleet newcomers of Xoco and Pyxis, the racing was going to be tight.
Starting with the tide, the fleet got away in 8 knots of wind (and rain), with the big decision being whether to stay out in the tide or go inshore for the breeze, those boats who stayed in the middle of the river with the tide came out on top. For 2 hours the foursome of Glasgow Kiss, Bandit, Xoco, and Pyxis had a great race up the river, trading tacks, pushing into the banks and trying to catch the wind and tide, sometimes the left paid off sometimes it didn’t and being out of the tide cost lots of distance. All four boats led at some point during the beat, having to deal with obstacles which included fish farms, tankers, local fishermen and Kellongs (floating villages), which all provide for an interesting sail. Hullaballoo opted for the inshore start, and were not seen again until the windward mark some 2 hours later, as they dropped into a different wind pattern at the back of the fleet.
At the top mark Chris and Claire on Bandit sneaked into the lead, having judged the tide correctly and managed to make it around the last fish farm, the remaining four bots had a tussle to decide who would be next with Jamie and Ella on Hullaballo making a surprise appearance having managed to catch up in the final few hundred meters.
With the tide now having turned, the planning spinnaker reach to the finish which everyone had been looking forward to evaporated, and a long light wind reach cum run back down the river ensued. Bandit stretched out her lead and managed to get into a different wind pattern, however a tactical error going too far to the right, and out of the tide in the last 500 meters, saw their lead disappear, with Hullabaloo capitalizing on the error and whilst sailing very deep, managed to stay in the tide. The final results saw Hullabaloo, performing a miraculous last to first performance, finish first, with the Cuthbertson family on Glasgow Kiss coming in second, Bandit finishing third, just head of Xoco in fourth and Pyxis in fifth. The first 4 SB3’s all finishing within 3 minutes of each other, after three and a half hours of racing.
Thanks must go to Prakash for running the racing, in the rain. The planned BBQ for the evening was not greeted with enthusiasm by the sailors as it had rained all day, and the customary cold beers in the pool was replaced by hot coffee, under shelter. The cold and wet fleet then went home for a ‘hot bath’ with one sailor muttering ‘I didn’t come to south east Asia to sail in UK weather.’