SB20 Mayhem in Singapore
The Singapore Laser SB3 Fleet held its second weekend regatta over the weekend of the 22/23 May. A competitive fleet of 8 boats took to the water, with all the boats being fully crewed up. May of the fleet had made special effort to return from foreign climes in order to make the racing. One crew arriving the Saturday morning form South Africa.
With the fleet arriving at Raffles Marina in the late morning, they were greeted with a tropical downpour, which left those who had not bimbled wondering if they would have time to complete last minute preparations. With the rain finely lifting at midday, and a one o’clock briefing scheduled there was much activity on the dock, and many new or newer sets of sails in evidence.
The first race got away very promptly at 1:00pm, with four boats being over the line due to some energetic luffing by Chris in Bandit, who also managed to put himself over the line. Whilst half the fleet went back, the remaining four boats set off for the windward mark in a pleasant 10-12 knots of wind, and little tide. The windward mark proved how close the racing was, with the majority of the fleet arriving at the same time. Fabrice on Alidade managed to get round in the clear and then led to the finish, followed by Wallace on Glasgow Kiss, and Hullaballoo in third.
With the wind starting to pick up, the fleet was once more pushing the start line, but everyone got away cleanly, with the wind shifting after the first beat, the race became a bit of a procession, with Alidade and Glasgow Kiss taking 1st and 2nd again, with Keith on slippery when wet, taking third. This race goes down as one to remember as with the wind picking up and shifting led to a storming broad reach to the finish, with control being the key to success, Hullaballoo being a fine example as Bandit surfed past them into 4th whilst they were over on their side. A couple of the newer crews / boats were seen struggling with the windier conditions, with some deep sea fishing taking place with the kite.
With the wind moderating, race three saw a change in pecking order at the top with Glasgow Kiss taking top spot from Alidade and Hullaballoo in 3rd. Keith, on Slippery When Wet, retired with a broken tiller extension which put the end to his racing on Saturday. Race 4 and 5 saw the same order for the top 3 with Alidade, Glasgow Kiss and Hullaballoo taking the top 3 spots, with Hullaballoo surrendering second place in both races due to some crew work issues. At the end of the day Alidade was sitting in top spot with Glasgow Kiss and Hullaballoo finishing up the podium places.
With 5 races complete a weary, but happy fleet returned to the marina, for some cooling off in the pool, and the Hawaiian shirt BBQ. The appearance of a bottle of rum, led to some special awards being given out: Hullaballoo for making the crew goto bed at 10am the night before, Su Me for the matching Hawaiian shirts, and Glasgow Kiss for not paying the entry fee.
Sunday dawned with clear blue skies – it was going to be a hot one! With crews arriving later to the boats there were several nervous helms standing around looking at watches and making frantic phone calls. With the fleet launching, and chasing the committee boat the racing area was set much further down the channel than before. With lighter winds and more tide, it was going to be a challenging day.
Race 6 saw Alidade and Glasgow Kiss fighting before the start, with the fleet trying to gauge which side of the beat to go some boats went in tight to the shore, some struck out in search of more wind. To be honest it didn’t seem to make much difference as the boats converged at the windward mark. Kiss finished in first spot, with Su Me, having untied the bucket from their stern, coming in second and Alidade in 3rd. With the tide now starting to have some impact, and the wind dropping further Race 7 saw the fleet adopt switch to very light wind sailing. Glasgow Kiss and Hullaballoo reveled in the conditions and had much better boat speed than the rest of the fleet finishing 1st and 2nd.
Race 8 was a tester – after the start the wind dropped, and the tide really started to rip catching quite a few boats unawares at the first mark. The second beat was even more challenging, with several periods of stationary sailing. Fortunately the downwind leg was pretty quick thanks to the tide, However Bandit only just managed to finish within the time limit in 5th with the remaining three boats being timed out. Hullabaloo caused an upset and finished first, with Glasgow Kiss in second and Aldidade in 3rd.
Coming into the final race, there was much mental calculation being done on both Alidade and Glasgow Kiss to work out the current points situation, including the discard, to see where they needed to finish in order to win. The final race was a distance race to bring the fleet back close to the marina. With so much tide running, the first boat round the windward mark would be in a great position for the remaining three reaching legs. The lightweight team on Hullaballoo led round the first mark and maintained the lead to the finish, closely followed by Glasgow Kiss and Alidade.
As the fleet arrived in the marina, no one was quite sure who had won. The anticipation mounted as the boats were put to bed, and the crews adjourned to the pool for some well earned après sail cold beer and conversation. The prizegiving was held (again) in the pool with the final results being Glasgow Kiss in first, Alidade in second and Hullaballoo in third. The remaining places saw Bandit hang on to 4th from a resurgent Su Me in 5th, Slippery When Wet in 6th, Pyxis in 7th and newcomer Marcus in 8th.
Special thanks must go to Robin (Pyxis) for organizing the regatta, the race committee for fitting in 9 races in a very efficient manner, and Prakash for doing lots of the leg work, and somehow managing to get very attractive assistance – I am not sure if the fleet will forget the start bouy being hauled up by someone wearing a mini-skirt. A final comment must goto two crew within the fleet who become victims to Singapore’s roads, Andreas, who missed the regatta due to breaking his leg in three places after coming of his scooter and Cip, who came off his push bike during the roadrace on the Sunday morning and couldn’t sail.
The SB3 fleet in Singapore is now the fleet to join for the best one-design racing in Singapore. The regular Saturday / Sunday racing has shown its worth, with the entire fleet improving its boat handling and tactics. With several new owners joining the fleet, the number of boats on the water taking part in the regular weekend racing is increasing. The third stage of the nationals regatta will be part of the Singapore Management University – Raffles Marin Western Series (15,21,22,28 August).