OLD PULTENEY BLUE ANGEL at RMSIR 2016
The recently-concluded Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta 2016 saw two boats from the Peninsular Sailing Club taking part — Old Pulteney Blue Angel (OPBA) in Class 6 and VG Offshore in Class 5.
With half of the OPBA crew being first timers to the regatta, they were pretty excited to be competing while at the same time being aware of the physical and mental requirement to complete the tournament. There was a running joke about OPBA having the longest name, despite being the smallest vessel in the regatta.
As with past races, the first leg from Port Kiang to Pangkor provided much drama such as being struck by lightning and running into uncharted wrecks. Of course, all such incidents happened after sundown. For OPBA, the ‘fun’ started when she was first becalmed, followed by lightning striking her mast. It was most fortunate that no one was hurt and the boat didn’t seem to suffer any damage. Or so the team thought.
Having decided to retire and motor the rest of the way to Pangkor, the engine suddenly died after a half hour and it was still miles before she would cross into Perak waters. There was no other choice but to hoist the sails again and hope for constant wind. There was wind, but there was rain too.
While she was bobbing along to finish the first passage race, teams on the faster boats were already starting to reach Pangkor and it was only on Sunday afternoon that OPBA reached her destination, the last boat to do so.
There was a question of whether she would be able to continue the race to Penang the next day, but skipper Jeremy Camps had faith in his favourite boat and in his fellow sailor’s ability to find a solution to OPBA’s engine problem.
OPBA continued on to Penang with a busted engine and required a tow to start the race and again after she crossed the finish line. Unlike the first leg, she held on to her lead this time to be placed first, followed by Sade 2 and Aeolus XC for line honors.
The Penang stop enabled repairs to be done on OPBA’s engine, in time for the next passage race to Langkawi. She did well in the harbour race, again claiming line honours ahead of Eveline and Sade 2.
The final leg to Langkawi was won by Eveline after corrected time while OPBA came in second and Aeolus XC was third. The team started to realise that they have a chance to be the overall winner for Class 6 and the knowledge fuelled their desire to do well in the harbour races. Which they did and the Eveline trophy was theirs at the prize-giving ceremony.
A week of topsy turvy conditions where rain featured most of the first half, followed by sunshine and light breeze wrecking havoc with race officials’ plans. For the new crew of OPBA, it was a full week of hard sailing while still learning the boat’s temperaments and also a chance to test their limits in offshore racing guided by their more experienced team members. Who knows, they might even sign up for a repeat performance next year.