LANGKAWI: Team Witchcraft from Hong Kong displayed superior agility and poise to win the first and second Racing class races on the opening day of the 2024 Royal Langkawi International Regatta (RLIR) today to secure top position.

Today’s excellent wind speed allowed the team led by Nick Burns to take the lead after picking up just two penalty points from two races in the Kuah Harbour Race which started at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club (RLYC) here.

“Great races so far because it’s just day one, and we have lovely winds and hope for the next races to get good wind speed as well. Today, winds were around 10 to 15 knots, which was perfect for sailing and that helped us to lead the race in our sailing category.

“(We see) One boat, The Next Factor from Malaysia, as our competitor. Me and the other boat skipper (we) are very competitive, so was a fun race today. While two other boats from Malaysia, Uranus and Zuhal, we had fun with them but they are not our competitors, plus we get better handicap compared to them,” Burns told Bernama here today.

He said no team can predict tomorrow’s race and beyond but he is hoping for good weather and wind conditions to allow his team to continue recording good results and continue to be in first position for the Racing class.

Meanwhile, the Mata Hari team from Malaysia, who were the champions of the IRC1 class last year, were only able to achieve second place with four penalty points for the class after failing to overcome the greater Cha Chan team from Japan who collected two penalty points.

Mata Hari’s coxswain Vincent Chan said today’s race with a wind speed of 17 to 18 knots made it difficult for his boat and team but the situation gave an advantage to Cha Chan’s team who had a bigger boat.

“The very strong wind conditions really suited them (Cha Chan), they sailed well and didn’t make any mistakes...we made more mistakes that’s why we lost the first race by one minute and lost the second race by 20 seconds only,” said the Malaysian skipper.

“I hope we can improve cooperation between our crew (members), reduce mistakes and improve our sailing to enable us to overcome Cha Chan in tomorrow’s race and beyond, and thus enable us to win the championship for the seventh time this year,” Chan.

The 2024 RLIR, which entered its 20th edition this year, was joined by 32 boats with more than 240 sailors starting today until Jan 20, with six competition classes of Racing, IRC1, IRC2, Sportsboat, Multihull and Club Class.–Bernama