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Racing And The Experience
The Regatta will have a number of classes but for the point of this overview, the A-Fleet Racers and Cruiser/Racer Yachts can expect racing along the following lines:
All classes head south between the islands of Batam and Bintan. At the right times of the moon, tides can reach four knots through Selat Riau. Once past the Lobam radio gate the waters open up and the tide slackens. Cruisers will head S.E. for Fishhead Island (Pulau Riau) for their overnight anchorage while Racers forge on ahead straight down through Selat Pengalap.
Everyone (Racers on Day1, Cruisers on Day2) will take their chances crossing ‘The Cauldron’, a notorious area of cross tides and whirlpools, (or genteelly sail a longer course around it). They mustn’t be fooled by ‘Barge Island’, will pass ‘Neptune’s Knuckles’ and then round Pompong Island for the back-straight sprint south for ‘The Gap’ before the final bend (don’t cut the corner too tight… running aground ain’t fast!) to finish off the Pier at Neptune Island (Pulau Sikeling).
The sailing south is all downwind in the NE Monsoon, so although geographically the route is similar northbound, the sailing is very different and gives a very rounded experience.
It’s been said that ‘gentlemen do not sail to windward’. Although there’s not much option when heading north at this time of year, the cruising fleet honours this and stops off half way up in a nice muddy bottomed bay in the lee of Pulau Karas Besar. Inter-boat pot luck dinners, water balloon salvos and even a fireworks display have been known to occur.
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The provisional itinerary (and subject to the Sailing Instructions) is as follows
Racing Classes: Nongsa to Neptune - the long kite run south, sheet on and send it!
Cruising Classes: Nongsa to Fishhead – We get you out of the industrial north as quick as possible, it gets better all the way
Racing Classes: Windward/Leewards and/or Round the Islands courses off Neptune Island
Cruising Classes: Fishhead to Neptune. Suffice to say that if you’ve not been there before, by the end of the day you’ll wonder why not. It’s just gorgeous.
The Race to Zero – Pollywogs beware!
Lay Day (day off) with activities planned for those that want and white sandy beaches for those that don’t.
Racing Classes: Time to show your mettle with the long beat up
Cruising Classes: Time to brush up on your astronomy ahead of your moonless anchorage
Racing Classes: A couple of Windward/Leewards to round off the week
Cruising Classes: the final beat north through Selat Riau. Gimballed cocktails recommended.
Neptune Regatta Recognisance
The Neptune Regatta organisers are a group of sailing enthusiasts, ‘Yachties’, that have a tremendous amount of collective experience in sailing, sprint racing and passage racing. Recognising that the southern section of the Neptune takes place in ‘quiet waters’ off the beaten track, a recognisance of anchorage points and the areas deemed to be potentially ‘challenging’ took place in February 2010 and is updated every year. The team consisted of an A-Fleet Racing Navigator, a Cruiser/Racer Skipper, a regatta organiser and a Motor Yacht Skipper. The unanimous conclusions of the team are that the course and waters that will be passed through are sailable. Details of the recognisance and navigational advice will be in the Neptune Regatta Sailing Instructions.
Rendezvous At Neptune Island
The Neptune Regatta is designed for an array of yachts to partake in. Whether pure Racing Yachts, Cruiser/Racers, Modern Family Cruisers or beautiful Classics, each vessel will converge at the anchorage south of Neptune Island. A backupanchorage is available off Pulau Buaya if needed and each has access to some of the most beautiful white coral sand beaches in the world. Once anchored, a relax on the beach at sundown, be ready to see an explosion of stars taking in both the northern and southern hemisphere constellations. There are too few places in the world where we can be reminded of the outstanding beauty and complexity of our environment.
Crossing The Line In ‘ZERO – THE RACE’
The Equator divides and influences in many forms: romance, historical debate, sporting prowess, the navigational latitude of zero and even a country’s name. Crossing the line has long been held as a seafarer’s baptism to the Court of Neptune with ceremonies for the uninitiated going back hundreds of years. Even today whether on a cruise liner, naval vessel, yacht or ship, the attraction and excitement of crossing the equator and subsequent ceremony appeals to young and old.
With this in mind, the Regatta also takes into account the importance of paying homage to Neptune and allows for a ‘time window’ of ceremony once each boat crosses the line. On completion of ceremonies or when the ‘time window’ closes… the race restarts with the Fleet Heading back north to Neptune Island… and the bar!
Following ‘ZERO-THE RACE’, a beach BBQ and evening’s relaxation will ensue, welcoming new members to Neptune’s Court and inevitable anecdotes of previous crossings.
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