Roundup: Malaysian International Regatta Perdana in Langkawi Closes Successfully

6

Day 1

The KFC International Regatta Perdana started today in scenic Malaysia. The exciting event, bringing together some of the best sailors from the South East Asia region and around the world is now in its 10th anniversary year. In the course of the next four days and as the Regatta unfolds in the beautiful port of Langkawi, we will keep you posted on all the latest developments, with highlights from the day’s races across the several boat classes competing in this 10th KFC International Regatta.

More than nine classes and sailors from all ages take part in this ambitious sailing event: from the youngsters and their Optimist boats, to the Laser 4.7 and Bytes positioned at an intermediate level, to the Laser Standard and Radial boats in which the large majority of athletes and most countries will compete in. To these categories, we should also add the double-handed dinghies, the 420 and 470s. For the next four days, this wild variety of sailing boats, manned by athletes at various level of competence will reward spectators with many exciting moments of racing action! And lest we forget, this beautiful spot in Malaysia offers an ideal setting in which athletes competing in the Olympic categories can train while their home countries experience bad weather this time of the year!

Two races in each category were completed today, with the wind being quite gusty at first, then dropping in intensity as the boats left the port. There was an excellent atmosphere between the participants on the start of this Regatta, despite the overcast day. But from the beginning, the races were competitive, and included some fierce battles. Many athletes are here seeking victory, and on this first day, results remained very close. At this early stage, it is too early to tell if someone is heading for first place!

In the afternoon after the races, the wonderful opening ceremony organized by the Langkawi Sailing Association, with the help of the locals and attended by several Malaysian officials, made all the athletes from around the world feel at home! The sailors gathered in this beautiful part of the world were encouraged to enjoy the ideal weather conditions and the world known Asian hospitality…
Three races are scheduled for tomorrow, and with stronger winds expected, it is more than certain that each one of them will be one to watch!

Day 2

An eventful day dawned for the KFC International Regatta Perdana, hosted in Langkawi, and now in its 10th anniversary year. This island paradise offers not just wondrous scenery but also consistent weather, in a racing area formed by a gulf surrounded by smaller islands.

The combination of a calm sea and strong winds already make Langkawi an ideal sailing destination but the Malaysian hosts will not leave anything to chance! Not only both races for all the boat classes competing were completed on this second day of the Regatta, but organizers were able to have everyone out of the water shortly after noon, for the mid-day prayers. This served as another reminder to spectators of the rich cultural heritage as well as deeply respected religious beliefs held in this part of the world.

Following a further two hours of well-earned rest, it was time for the sailors to hit the water again, and for the afternoon’s busy schedule of races to begin! Although the wind was stronger in the morning, something that all participating sailors much enjoyed, by mid-afternoon it had dropped significantly. This did not prevent the organizers and athletes to proceed with the completion of the day’s racing schedule. And despite the less than ideal conditions in the second half of the day, everybody present was enjoying themselves, cherishing the opportunity not only to compete for the top places, but also to improve their skills and techniques in the course of the Regatta’s many races. And the real sunny day today made everyone simply delighted to be here, if not tempted to just jump in the water!

A powerhouse performance from Mohammed Khairulnizam was the highlight of the second day of the KFC International Regatta Perdana. Fresh from taking part in the London Olympics the previous summer, the local hero evidently felt very much at home in Malaysian waters. He started strongly in the first race of the day and before long he was able to distance himself from the rest of the fleet, taking advantage of powerful gusts on the left side of the course. Following a swift downwind, the Malaysian headed for the finish line and scored his second bullet in this year’s event. But he wouldn’t stop there; Khairulnizam’s consistent performance was rewarded by two more bullets by the end of the day , and he is now at the top of the leaderboard!
But with two more days of races before the KFC International Regatta Perdana comes to an end, everything’s still possible. Tomorrow’s weather is not expected to differ much from today’s, and sailors and spectators alike look forward to the start of an even more competitive 3rd day for the Regatta, on Saturday.

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Day 3

The International Langkawi Regatta Perdana had another exceptional day with lots of action. The high level of this competition, already in its 10th anniversary year owes not only to the exceptional organizing skills of the Malaysian hosts, and the sheer enthusiasm of participating athletes from all over the world, but also in sponsor KFC’s unfailing support through the years.
The event had its warmest day today, with the races proceeded under a glorious sun. But the strong winds of around 15 knots
greeting athletes at the start of this 3rd day would die down later in the day, yet this did not prevent the organizing committee to continue as normal with all four races scheduled. After three days, and with most categories completing ten races, this competition is now in full swing and moving towards its climax tomorrow.

Today’s sailing highlights included some intense fighting in the 470 class races especially. The fierce battle between the local talents Ku Anas/Mohammed Hafizzudin, Rzaman and Ahmad Hakimi and Khairunisa and Norashikin ended in victory for the boys. These are crews that have ascended to the 470 class following their great success in the 420 boats. The girls have won the gold and the boys the silver medal in the 2010 Asian Games.

The presence of both Olympic and Asian champions here in Langkawi speaks volumes about the level of competition and the significance of the event put together for the past 10 years by hosts, Malaysia. These days, very many athletes from around the globe are eager to find themselves in this ideal setting for sailing and compete against the great talents emerging from this region.

At the end of this penultimate day for the KFC International Regatta Perdana, everyone looks forward to the decisive races to be held tomorrow. These will start at around 10 am, with the last race start scheduled for no later than 3 pm. And after the end of these last afternoon races a wonderful closing ceremony expertly organized by the host in Langkawi, beckons.

Day 4

The 10th KFC Langkawi International Regatta Perdana had its closing day today. For hosts Malaysia this was another successful event, gathering this year more than 200 athletes from the South East Asian region, as well as from around the world. Only two races were scheduled for each category, and this gave everyone the chance to more comfortably prepare their boats for the journey back.

Not least because of the ideal sailing conditions these past four days, athletes and spectators will be missing the time they spent in wonderful Langkawi. All this would not be possible without the extensive support of KFC; sponsors not only of this event, but a further twelve, held across Malaysia. KFC has been instrumental in the development of the sailing in this region and shows the right way to other corporations who wish to invest in the future of the sport.

As for the races completed, the medium winds, despite the intense heat, favored strong competition. Under the glorious sun, this final day of the International Regatta had several highlights. Among them the many close fights of the BIC Techno races, and the battle between local hero Ali Imran and India’s Aryaman Dutta in the Optimist class races. The level of skill and techniques attained by these young athletes in order to take advantage of the wind shifts when racing in events like this one is quite remarkable.

When a Regatta of such a large scale and level of participation comes to an end, it is the time for athletes and their coaches to reflect upon the good as well as the bad aspects of their performance, and get better prepared for future events. Meanwhile, the hosts had every reason to be satisfied with how the event unfolded: nearly all races were completed as planned, in close to ideal conditions…

And it would not be the perfect sailing event here in Malaysia, without an exceptional closing ceremony in late afternoon, where the winners of the numerous categories competing would receive their trophies. But it was so much more: a number of shows and entertainment events were put together by the organizers for the benefit of the visiting athletes. After four exhausting days of racing, the winners saw their hard efforts rewarded, surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd of sailing fans as well as their fellow athletes. Everybody’s already looking forward to next year’s Regatta…

[Photos and text: Icarus Sailing Media]

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