It was smooth sailing for both Malaysian entries through the Royal Malaysian Navy (TLDM) after reaching Federal Territory of Labuan within a time of 14 hours in the 95-nautical miles Miri to Labuan Passage Race, a section of the yachting challenge.
Utarid skippered by Ishak Jab reached Labuan Island at 2.51am while Uranus touches the shores at 2.59am yesterday. UluMulu from Sarawak arrived in Labuan at 3.42am making it the third Malaysian boat and one of the fastest and earliest boats to reach Labuan in the race. Defending champion Selma Star from the Philippines was in fourth position after reaching Labuan at 4.38am.
The boats were among the 40 that left Miri for Labuan at 1pm on Monday departing from Miri Marina pontoon.
Assistant Minister of Sports Datuk Lee Kim Shin who is also BIYC joint organising committee co-chairman, flagged-off the boats.
As at 11 am yesterday, 20 boats reached Labuan with the highly rated Our Odyssey from Australia reaching the island at 10.31am.
Commenting on the success of both TLDM boats being champions in the Miri Harbour Race during the weekend and in the passage race, Lee told The Borneo Post; “They have been showing a remarkable performance even though it is their first participation in the race. This is their first time participating in the Borneo International Yachting Challenge. We have been inviting them for the past years.”
Lee added that he believed and confident the participation of TLDM will help boost participation from the local yachting community.
“This time around there is tremendous increase in number of boats from Malaysia taking part. We have six this year,” revealed Lee. In the past, UluMulu, Miri Magic and Sarawak Seahorse were the seasoned racer in the yachting challenge.
Apart from Utarid and Uranus, this year witnessed new two new entries from Malaysia namely Zaffaz in Class 1 (Racing) and Azura in Multihull.
“I think in time to come, we also hope to generate greater interest among the local community to take up sailing and yachting. Now that Miri have a proper marina and with the setting up of Sarawak Yachting Association (SAYA), I am optimistic this will help to boost the interest among the locals,” said Lee.
Just recently registered, SAYA was set up to train young sailors not only for the race, but also other sea sports particularly in the Malaysian Games (Sukma) where sailing is one of the newly introduced event.
“I am confident that BIYC has great potential to grow into a truly international and renowned yachting event which will be able to attract increasing number of yachts coming to Miri and Kota Kinabalu,” remarked Lee.
It is imperative that BIYC be made a prestigious signature event and be given due support and assistance by all concerned, especially the tourism board and related agencies.
It is a significant event that can help to promote the dynamic tourism industry and create other economic spin-offs.
Meanwhile, chief executive officer of Labuan Corporation Zainul Abidin Abdullah disclosed that Labuan was unable to fully participate this year particularly in staging the Labuan Harbor Race as their marina is still undergoing renovation and repair works.
“Labuan is not able to participate this year because our marina is still not ready and under construction. Next year we would be taking part again in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of Borneo International Yachting Challenge,” he revealed. The work is expected to be completed in September or October this year.
The race will continue with the 71-nautical mile Labuan to Kota Kinabalu Passage Race on Wednesday, July 25th. They expected to be flagged of from Labuan around 2pm.Last modified on Thursday, 26 July 2012 07:58